This RPG is pretty gross.

A quick foreword

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Beast the Primordial: A quick foreword
Beast: the Primordial is the 10th game in the Chronicles of Darkness game line, and the first since their branding change. To say the game is divisive is an understatement, so I'm making this first update to provide some context for what comes later.

Matt McFarland, the lead developer, had previously worked on Demon: The Descent, which was almost universally acclaimed and received several positive reviews. So when it was announced that he was developing another game, and one completely divorced from any Old World of Darkness trappings, people were surprised and hopeful. The central conceit, one of playing a mythological monster trapped in human form, was somewhat derivative of other concepts seen in the CofD books, but it also had some unique ground to tread on. Who didn’t fantasize about being Godzilla as a kid, kicking down buildings made of blocks and roaring to the sky in triumph? Well in April of 2015, we started to get official previews of the book.


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.
Reception was decidedly split. Group A absolutely adored the presentation as given. Group B saw it as a juvenile revenge fantasy. And Matt did take the time to respond to the second group.


Sorry you didn’t like it; I wrote it. Wasn’t meant to be a power fantasy, just a Beast having a rough day (based in part on my experiences working in a school with a similarly chaotic cafeteria, though I never saw any giant squid).

As more details started to be revealed as the months passed, the concerned group were given more fuel for their fires. The driving force behind a Beast’s existence is it’s hunger. It’s need to feed the primal horror living within it. They hunger either for Power, for Things, for Prey, for Punishment, or for Destruction. Those aren’t precisely nice things, and the descriptions of their feeding methods ranged from “Hilariously petty and only barely keeping in line with the spirit of their hunger” to “Are you sure you didn’t steal this from a SAW movie?” The fact that beasts “had a primal soul living inside of them” stank heavily of Otherkin wish fulfillment and legitimization. And the idea of being born as something you have no control over and being persecuted because of it drew uncomfortable parallels to the LGBTQ community, made only more uncomfortable by the fact that you were compelled to hurt and inflict violence on people.

Then information started to be released on the antagonists of the line, the Heroes. The naming there being intentional for it’s irony. Heroes were otherwise normal people who either survived the predations of a Beast, or were nearby when a Beast did something horrible. Their brief brush with the soul of a Beast warped them into something different, they abandoned their normal lives and devoted themselves to hunting down Beasts. People liked this description, and saw them as sympathetic. Ordinary people compelled to rise up against something horrible is something most people can get behind, though it was somewhat problematic due to the earlier LGBTQ analogues. The idea that some of the most marginalized and victimized real world groups actually deserved it and were horrible people simply for existing was problematic at best and actively dangerous at worst.

It also wasn’t what Matt intended, and he was not shy about letting people know.


Heroes are assholes. That’s not necessarily all there is to say on the matter, but don’t look for them to be portrayed sympathetically. You have lots of other games for that.


OK, I'm not going to post in red text, because I'm very much a normal poster in this thread, but as a request - could we tone down the "OMG HEROES ARE FIREMEN WHY DO YOU HATE FIREMEN" stuff a little? Because that's really obviously not what we're going for, and frankly the question of why Heroes are called Heroes has been more than adequately answered.

(And, I note, once again Heroes smash their way in here and are all like "not all Heroes!" and "what about the Heroes?")
Normally sympathetic villains is seen as a hallmark of good writing, the fact that he railed against it so hard made several people nervous about what the actual intent of the book would be. The fact that he compared his detractors to MRAs didn’t help at all. By the end of April the Beast information had slowed to a trickle and interest waned. But on June 2nd, 2015, the Beast kickstarter launched. More surprisingly it also contained the full pre-edited text of the book.

And it was bad.

Beasts were still born special. Not only that but the other monsters in the World of Darkness were compelled to be friendly towards Beasts, because they were all just pale reflections of the true terror that Beasts represented. Also there were several more example beast feeding methods, including a pair of gay beasts who tricked people into hunting down hidden treasure and then killed them for their greed. Or a female beast who catfished people into laying a hand on her so she could beat them up and feel justified about it. Or a Beast that killed bad tippers. And few, if any Beasts, expressed any remorse for their actions. And people started identifying with the horrifying hell monsters that feed on suffering for all of the wrong reasons.


I’m Autistic. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, I’m going to end up sooner or later misreading social cues or misunderstanding the situation in a way that hurts or upsets people. Despite my best intentions, I have been more work for my parents than an non-autistic child would have been.

I am trans. It shouldn’t, but my transition is going to hurt people. People who are too invested in my as my assigned gender. People who feel like they’re losing someone close to them, or having their own work in me undermined. Not to mention people for whom I’m a threat to core beliefs about how gender is supposed to work.

By conventional narratives of marginalization, I don’t deserve to exist anymore. People are right to hate me and want me gone, because I have, because I will hurt them. I either have to pretend I’m not hurting anyone, or acknowledge that I’m worthless.

Beast is saying that I deserve to exist – that no-one else has the right to decide I don’t except me.

Which was made worse by the fact that Heroes finally got their full write up. Heroes were directly equated to Internet Trolls, Pick Up Artists, and Mens Rights Activists. A specific requirement of being a hero is having an integrity stat of 3 or lower, and if you’re actually able, somehow, to raise a Hero’s integrity to 4 or above they just… stop being a hero. So yes, every hero is specifically an asshole. Even if their integrity was brought that low due to being tormented by a Beast. The example Heroes offered as NPCs weren’t any better, barring one. A teenage girl stuck in a Coma after an attack by a Beast, hunting Beasts in her dreams trying to find her way back to her body while struggling to keep her soul alive. But since Heroes are by definition terrible people, Group A tore through her character description like someone trying to Dox their worst internet enemy searching for justification of her terrible nature.


Actually, someone else pointed out some really, really interesting things from Melanie's stat block. First off, she has Integrity 3. That doesn't mean anything itself, but then look at her Social skills, and we get "Empathy (Finding Insecurities) 3." Her character write-up doesn't say, but from that, it sounds a hell of a lot like she was already exactly the sort of bully you'd expect to become a Hero. That doesn't mean she deserves what happened to her, but it strongly suggests that, yes, there is a certain sort that becomes Heroes beyond just "low Integrity" and Melanie was one of them, rather than having it forced on her by that nasty Beast when she'd never done anything wrong.


Though while the topic is still in the air, she also has the Subterfuge specialty "Putting on a Brave Face", which also shades the possibilities of her unrevealed history. Including the 'finding insecurities' specialty and especially Integrity 3.


No it certainly doesn't - but equally, all but one of the Beasts she's killed have nothing to do with what happened to her.

I would remind you that this is a fictional comatose teenage girl that they are attempting to villify.

The arguments online grew heated over the week following the Kickstarter’s start. Even though they met their goal in the first 24 hours, the incoming money plateaued quickly and people started withdrawing their backing (I can’t be sure how many, but people stated that they did and I’m assuming that they weren’t lying).

Roughly 10 days after the Kickstarter went up Matt posted this.


I sent a long email to Rich, Rose, and Michelle (the editor of Beast) tonight. I'm not going to go into the contents (yet) because I need to actually have some feedback from folks, but basically it was a proposed batch of changes/fixes to the material, based in large part on the discussions happening here and elsewhere.

Now, I could be flip and say that these discussions might have happened anyway, or I could be contrite and say that we really want all y'all to love the game so we're changing it, but neither of those things is precisely true. The truth of the matter is: This game is generating discussion. It's generating controversy. It's challenging people. I think that's good...but I also think that some of the criticism that's come up is entirely valid. Beasts do need a more defined struggle and culture. They do need specific things to do. Their relationship with Heroes does require some more scrutiny.

So: To the people who have read the game and made their opinions clear without being hostile, to the people who have shared what they feel works as well as what doesn't, to to the people who have been constructive with their criticism: Thank you. I tell my authors all the time, "kill your darlings," but sometimes it's hard to know which darlings to kill without some outside perspective. I won't say that this discussion hasn't stung; it has. I'm a writer and I'm as sensitive as any other writer. But at the same time, as I was scribbling notes in my li'l red notebook last night, I also found myself really getting excited to run Beast (starting up a chronicle when I get back from vacation).

I think the changes are going to strengthen the game, and I'll be talking with the rest of the team about how best to communicate those changes to the backers and the readers so you'll get a quick sense of what we're doing.
Despite the fact that the post came off a little flippant and self congratulatory (“It's generating controversy. It's challenging people. I think that's good.”, “To the people who have read the game and made their opinions clear without being hostile”) it mostly assuaged people’s fears.

Well, it’s now 8 months later and I have the final copy of the book in my grubby hands PDF reader. So the question is, did it work?

Well I’m the one doing this review, so it should be fairly obvious that the answer is “No”. The game got better, yes. But it had a long way to go, and some of the edits and changes are written in more than a bit of a mean spirited way, and there are some “heavily encouraged optional interpretations” at the end of the backstory chapters that try to backslide beasts into the “Amazing Perfect Awesome Born Special Wunderkind Who Everyone Wants As Their Best Friend” that people feared they were going to be last June. Beasts are given a more noble purpose to pursue, but not the tools to actually pursue it. Heroes are given more nuance and we’re told that Good Heroes exist, before immediately being told that Good Heroes are boring and never actually do anything worthy of being written about in a book. So for this review I am going to go over both Beast as it was in the initial Kickstarter treatment, and Beast as it stands today in the version you can buy.

An update from 2018
Since I completed this review, Matt McFarland was accused of molesting an underage girl. He did not refute these accusations, and after the accusations came out he was removed from his moderator position at, and since banned from the forum. Additionally Onyx Path Publishing has quietly cut ties with him.

This information does not change my opinion of this book, it is a bad book. But it is now a bad book written by a bad person. This information adds context to the book. It is a game glorifying abusers written by an abuser. Beasts are terrible monsters coded as minorities to try to make them seem like the victims, to try and make them seem like good people. The game tries to say that Beasts are entitled to their predations, that their victims deserve it and that Beasts are actually doing them a favor by teaching them this terrible lesson. And I am honestly disgusted with myself that I ever tried to defend this interpretation as some kind of mistake on McFarland's part.

My only request is that you do not blame Onyx Path Publishing for what you are about to read. The blame rests solely with Matt McFarland.

Thank you

Up Next: Introductions


posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Beast: Introduction
Like most Onyx Path books, we open with intro fiction. And..well.

Lineage posted:

“Mom? Ben’s acting weird.”

Laurie started guiltily out of her doze, sending the paperback in her lap tumbling into the sand. She shielded her eyes from the noonday glare and followed where Jessica was pointing. Her son stood a little ways away with his back to her, swaying in that unsteady way toddlers have, but otherwise unmoving. Ben was well away from the water line, but something about the way he stood there sent a chill down Laurie’s back.

“You were supposed to be watching him!” Laurie snapped as she stood up, fear shifting to irritation. She brushed the sand from her legs and glared down at her eldest daughter, who spread her hands in surrender.

“I was!” Jessica said. “He was building sandcastles until literally just now. Then he just got up, turned around, and walked to that spot. It’s not like I would let him get anywhere near the water, Mom. Relax.”

“Nice, Jess,” Laurie said, but the irritation was already evaporating, leaving behind a film of guilt for falling asleep in the first place. She didn’t ask why Jess hadn’t simply gone and checked on Ben herself. Ben often got in moods where only Laurie could console him. Today he’d been especially fussy. She’d been forced to swap with Jess and sit in the backseat with him to quiet him down on the drive from Philadelphia, and even then he’d been so unruly that Matt had joked about leaving him to be raised by coyotes in the Pine Barrens. Laurie suspected taking the twins mini-golfing was his way of recovering. He never said it, but she knew Ben’s insistence on her and only her bothered Matt sometimes.

“Hey, punkin,” Laurie said, standing over Ben with her legs on either side of him. Normally it made him giggle and swing around her legs like tree trunks, but he didn’t so much as look up. “Whatcha doin’?”

Ben didn’t answer.

“Are you OK, sweetie?” Laurie tousled his hair. Still no response. Ben was staring straight ahead, eyes focused, lips moving without sound, little hands clenching and unclenching. She sat down beside him. “What do you see?”

“Mama,” Ben said.

Laurie frowned. That wasn’t his name for her. She was always Mommy. “Mommy’s right here, honey.” She reached down and took one of his hands.

At last he looked at her, eyes bright and happy, smiling shyly like he was sharing a secret. He pointed a pudgy finger. “Mama in the water.”

Laurie looked at the waves, but they were empty, as far as she could see. She forced a cheer she didn’t quite feel into her voice. “Well, you say goodbye to her, buddy, because it’s time for lunch. Past time, actually. Let’s go get sandwiches, OK?”

Ben nodded and took her hand. “Bye, Mama,” he said, waving at the sea.

That night Laurie lay awake for hours, telling herself that the dark shape she saw when Ben said goodbye had been a trick of the sunlight on the ocean. That there was nothing in the ocean so impossibly enormous, much less so close to the shoreline, right beneath the surface.

Nothing at all.
If you notice it seems to imply the whole "This kid is a beast and he was born a beast" then you're right, because it's reprinted completely unaltered from the initial KS Treatment. That's going to happen a lot.

One thing that is new with the final printing is that each bit of chapter fiction is accompanied by a "Tales of the Dark Mother" I don't know why there need to be two stories a chapter but sure?

Tales of the Dark Mother: Sabia posted:

The sword rammed through Sabia’s back is awkward. A vicious square peg in a round hole. Awkward. Awkward to be surprised by a Hero in her own home, awkward to let herself neglect her Hunger. That’s the word she keeps turning over in her head, and it almost makes her laugh as she loses all her air. She wonders if she can turn her body. She wonders if she can take a step or take a breath, or any other motion she takes for granted. But she wonders, if she goes too fast, if she won’t cut herself in two.

Sabia falls in an ugly, graceless kind of way as Isolde, the Hero wrenches the sword back. Its curve hooks a rib like a prize bass, and Sabia thrashes uselessly. Agony turns to memory. She’s six-years-old with sleep paralysis, being weighed down by a nothing in the dark, calling out without a word for her mother to Please help! Please help! Only later would she understand what the nothing was trying to tell her about fear. How she could make it her friend.

But fear isn’t her friend right now, as Isolde rolls Sabia onto her back. “I’m actually sorry. A bit.”

“I know,” Sabia says, surprised she believes such bullshit, but the pain whites out all cynicism. She should feel hate and spite, but vengeance seems like such a waste of energy. All she wants is to fall into the Dream, but the Dream won’t take her in this state.

Isolde produces a little black vial and cracks it over the blade. “It’s not personal. It’s just what I do.” Survival pushes Sabia’s body, forcing her into a last ditch slide across the kitchen floor. Isolde runs the sword through her heart before she can even reach the wall.

Finally, the Dream takes her. It opens up from behind Isolde in bright, endless wings, wrapping over them both.

Sabia is warm. She’s that six-year-old again, and her mother is holding her little body tightly. She tastes salt tears, but she doesn’t want to cry anymore.
Do you want to go back to sleep, baby?
“I’m scared.”
Do you want to stay up with me?
“I don’t know.”
Her mother kisses her forehead and sings a lullaby she doesn’t remember. It has no notes. It’s the color of ice and sweet like corpses. It’s the most wonderful thing Sabia as ever felt. It makes her think of pain. Of the nothing in the dark. That fear is her friend.
Do you want to go back to sleep?

The Dream falls away, and time takes her mind back. She’s cold, standing, leaning on the sword, unlocking the contents of Isolde’s stomach. They’re both surprised.

Survival is pushing Isolde’s body now, but her voice betrays her. “I...saw her...”

“I know,” Sabia says, as they both begin to bleed out.

I'm not really a fan of the writing in this book, it's very big and grandiose talking about these creatures that haven't earned the amount of gravitas that they're being given. Regardless, we get into the introduction chapter proper.


You don’t suffer nightmares.
You cause them.
You were normal, once. At least more than you are now. You got up and went about your daily routine like anyone else — work, school, family, friends — with the same petty complaints and ambitions as anyone else you knew, except that you never quite fit in. People might have called you a troublemaker, a tattletale, a great judge of character, or an empath. You might know the truth, though: you dream deep.

The people who have the potential to turn into beasts have a strong connection to the primordial dream of humanity from whence all wisdom comes. Sure you have terrible nightmares but when you wake up "things make sense". But not everyone has a connection to the dream, to gain it's knowledge they need help. But wisdom does not come easy, and the price to be exacted is fear.

Hrm, making a Faustian bargain for "wisdom", where have I heard this before.

Oh yeah.

Anyways, at some point another Beast encountered you during your excursions into the primal dream, and gave you a choice. Become a Beast, or keep dreaming. If you accept, your soul is devoured and replaced by a Horror, and you awaken as a Beast. You still look human, and you walk amongst them, but you aren't human anymore. You satisfy your Hunger and leave nightmares in your wake. You slip in and out of supernatural societies as easy as you do human ones, because all supernatural creatures are your kin and have their own wisdom to teach. You carve a lair out of the Primoridal dream and use it to empower your Nightmare.


Of course, the human world doesn’t understand what you’re doing. It’s not easy being the monster everyone was raised to hate and destroy. The Beast who evoured you, your Big Brother or Sister, told you to do your best to minimize the harm, to teach without causing lasting damage, and to choose targets who will spread the wisdom you grant them. You might take that advice. Alternatively, you might simply embrace your monstrous nature and become the villain of a thousand legends before you. If your Legend grows, your lessons could reach entire cultures; it might be the whole human race that awakens breathless, terrified, but wiser.
Someone once described Beast as a game of spreading your brand for personal gain, and it's depressing how true that is.

"In beast the Primordial: You play one of the Children, a human being whose soul has been replaced by one of the great monsters of legend: dragons, gryphons, giants, kraken, and worse. Beasts are not born, but reborn." Yes they hammer that point home pretty hard in the first chapter. "This is the life of the Children: preying on humanity enough to feed the Horror within, teaching people to listen to their nightmares and take wisdom from loss and fear." Even prior to becoming one of the Begotten, they have a connection to the Primoridal dream, constantly having nightmares of being hunted, dragged into the depths, dropped from great heights, held under the thumb of something huge and powerful. But they wake up knowing how those visons relate to their lives. "The lesson wasn't always pleasant; often it was painful and carried loss with it. You almost always knew, though, how to incorporate the dream into your life." But not everyone can hear them, because, you see, "The world has grown too crowded; human settlements have grown too large. People's minds are overloaded, and they can't hear the lessons the Primoridal Dream teaches." Ugh. It's humanity's fault, you see, for growing too large. Just like in the Old World of Darkness! But then your soul gets eaten and everything gets better!


Discovering one's true Family can be traumatic, but for many of the Children, it's a profound relief. They finally understand the reason for the dreams that have been drivingt hem their whole lives. They have the chance to grant others a lesson from pain and fear, to give people a moment of catharsis. And of course, that moment of catharsis feeds the Horror inside the Beast. Everyone wins! Not every Beast is a good teacher, however. Some succumb to bitterness, or revel in the power the Horror provides, and descend into sadism and brutality. A Beast who teaches nothing and instills fear for the sake of the feast reflects badly on all Children, bringing the wrong kind of attention to them.
I would like to add that nowhere in the book are rules for how you teach lessons. There are rules for feeding yes, but no rules to determine if you 'feed well' or just inflict pain. Also note that the only real reason to avoid being an asshole is that it makes you look bad within your community.

The Beast With A Thousand Faces
So now we get a section where they go over 'myths' about Beasts and whether they're true or false.

Beasts Aren't Human: True Beasts are born human, but they have a connection to the Primordial Dream (which still makes them special). Some beasts claim they have never been human, and that the Devouring merely cleared away the human detrius. Others claim that their devourings were spontaneous and involved no other beasts. And they're already renegging on the whole "Beasts are made, not born" thing, fantastic. Regardless of if they were spontaneously created or devoured or what, Beasts aren't human anymore.

Beasts are a literal bloodline: False While beasts sometimes say they are descended from the Dark Mother and divide themselves into Families, the connection is supernatural, not genetic. Any human can be a Beast.

Beasts have legendary weaknesses: Sorta True Beasts have no natural weaknesses, but if a Hero finds them in a moment of weakness they can force weaknesses onto a beast.

Beasts Physically transform into monsters: mostly false Beasts don't shapeshift in the traditional sense, but they can use their Atavisms and Nightmares to temporarily gain advantages related to their true form.

Beasts are inherently evil: False That's just a vile Hero lie! A beast is only as evil as his actions, and most beasts instill fear to teach wisdom! Seriously guys! Trust us on this!

Beasts are feral monsters: False Beasts use human cunning to feed their primal desires.

Beasts are solitary creatures: False Many beasts join a brood of other beasts after their devouring, and some run with other supernatural creatures. But true solitary beasts are rare.

Beasts must fight Heroes to survive: True All beasts eventually attract a Hero, as they grow more powerful they attract more and more beasts and create more violence which makes more Heroes in a vicious cycle. "Wise Beasts understand, however, that Heroes are often the people most in need of the lessons they can impart, and that instruction is more useful than violence. That being said, Heroes don't always give them a choice." Oh dear, if only Heroes were better people then they could understand that Beasts are necessary and good and wonderful.

Beasts are Immortal: False Even though strong beasts can live a very long time, they will eventually die of old age barring intervention from a Hero.

The Dark Mother
What is the Dark Mother? Since this is a Chronicles of Darkness game, no one knows! She might be Echidna, they might be Tiamat or Circe. She might be the embodiment of the Primal Dream itself, and since humans aren't listening to her anymore she's sent the Beasts to do the job for her. Regardless of what she is, the beasts see her as the first and strongest of her kind. As well as the mother of all monsters. As far as beasts are concerned, Vampires, Werewolves, Changelings, and other stranger things are all just siblings of Beasts. And while other monsters (rightfully) scoff at such a claim, Beasts have powers and abilities that back up the claim. And I assure you, several of the supernatural splats have very real concerns about being linked to beasts.

What do her Children Do? Feast! If a beast does not indulge her hunger, then her Horror will start roaming while she sleeps and draw attention(and heroes) back to her. The Primordial Dream was the method by which humanity shared wisdom. The most basic kind of wisdom comes from fear and pain. Don't touch hot metal or you will burn. Do not run along the narrow ledge or you will fall. Do not enter the cave at the edge of the wilderness for monsters dwell within. Over time human society became more complex, populations exploded, and the wisdom of the Primordial Dream became lost amidst eight billion voices.


Beasts don't apologize for their harsh methods - wisdom doesn't come without loss. At the same time Beasts generally embrace a creed of moderation. If they feed too deeply or too brutally, they teach nothign but trauma and loss. If they feed too lightly and make their lessons too superficial, the Horror grows hungry and roams the Primordial Dream, looking for nightmares to amplify. Beasts must be mindful of both their Horror's appetites and what they hope to accomplish. Eat to live, don't live to eat.
This argument makes absolutely no fucking sense. People still know that fire is hot, and not to run along ledges, because people have parents. People have books. We have school to impart lessons. I'm reasonably certain that the primordial dream doesn't contain the primal forgotten knowledge of C++ and how to use a Pivot Table. What Beasts do seems completely superfluous in a modern society.

The Horror
Conversely I think what the Horror is is fairly straightforward and doesn't need much explanation. What is important is that a Horror isn't a flesh and blood monster. It's more of an iconic thing. Almost a platonic idea of what a beast is rather than an individual thing.



Anyone can become a Beast. The potential to slide back into the first darkness and join the ranks of humanity's nightamres-made-flesh dwells within every human heart. Still, the process of heeding the wisdom of the Primordial Dream begins early, sometimes in early childhood. The nascent beast has nightmares, glimpses of the Primordial Dream. Her nightmares are made all the worse because she is more often predator than prey. She awakens with a start: sweating, sometimes crying, but wiser A problem that was eating at her has a solution. It's not always (or ever) an easy solution, but she knows what changes she must make.
Again, how? I can understand using nightmares to teach avoidance behavior, or recommend a course of action in the broadest sense. But actually imparting skills seems like it would be impossible. Also they keep beating on the drum of "WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IS PAINFUL BUT YOU WILL DO IT!" which seems almost emo in a 'Existence is pain!' way.

The also apparently sometimes dream of other people's wisdom. A friend being beaten down by a terrible giant tells a Beast that they need to get their friend to quit their job before it breaks them down. Other times they dream of blood and bone and realize that one of their friends is a predator working their way through their mutual social circle. Which, I guess sort of works? But these are highly symbolic and require some rather liberal interpretation. How can you be sure that your target will get the right lesson? The capital-N Nightmare powers that Beasts get are all fairly miserable as teaching tools, beyond some of the Kinship Nightmares.

Regardless, eventually such a dreamer will encounter a Real Beast, who will give them the choice. And if they accept they have one last nightmare where they are finally caught, their soul devoured, and they see the face of the Dark Mother. Then comes their Horror. They see the primoridal dream stretching before them full of long fought wisdom.


Of course, with relief comes dreadful knowledge, as the Beast realizes her terrible Hunger must be fed to keep the Horror appeased. Everything a Beast has learned since she was a child tells her the monster is evil. The monster is, at best, a vicious animal to be slain by a victorious Hero. In most cases, the monster is an analog: Satan, lust, greed, or whatever other quality or being society wishes to demonize. The monster is vile, she is wrong; every story the Beast knows ends with the monster’s destruction. The Beast has to come to terms with knowing that she is the monster, and in most stories, she’s the villain.

The Lair
The Lair is a pocket of the Primoridal Dream that belongs to the Beast. It a reflection of her own nature and that of their Horror, and as they grow more powerful the Lair grows with them. From a hiding place, or a place of rest, to a world of it's own full of advantages for the beast and hazards for her prey. If a Beast joins a Brood, the lairs join together in impossible ways, allowing a form of mutual security but also mutual vulnerability. If a Hero gains access to one lair he gains access to them ail.

I think this has been covered pretty well already, and I'm not sure why it needs it's own section, but there are some pretty... great.. quotations.


Though the primal drive is the same for everyone, how beasts interpret that drive can vary - instead of literally hunting prey to consume them, for example, a Beast might metaphorically stalk a target and "consume" their trust.


Put another way, as older Beasts sometimes tell younger ones, "If someone eats, something else gets eaten." A Beast may console herself by thinking that she only hurts "Bad people" to sate her Hunger (either to scare the subject straight or make an example of him), for example, but deep down she knows that as far as her Horror is concerned, really anyone would do.


In order to teach the lesson, though, the subject of the lesson has to survive it and internalize it. A nightmare is only useful if the dreamer awakens, and wisdom is only useful if someone survives to use it.
Or you could just leave the corpse somewhere someone will find it and rest assured that someone will learn something from the experience. Even if it's only what color their lunch is mid digestion.

In the far flung past, Heroes were the ones who helped people understand and crystallize the wisdom of the Primordial Dream. They used their link to the Primordial Dream to parse the wisdom it was trying to impart and help teach the lessons. They were shamans, leaders, judges, or lorekeepers. But over time the stories became more about the Hero and less about the lesson. Before they could understand the wisdom of the dream but now they responded to it with instinctive, retaliatory disgust and rage. They were once willing to tell and retell the cautionary tales but now their egos had grown and they needed to forge weapons to kill the monsters in the dark. The stories became less about the lesson and more about the Hero who killed the beast.

At best, Heroes bear a strong resemblance to the protagonists of ancient epics. Deeply flawed people doomed to a glorious terrible fate. At worst they are gore splattered maniacs trapped in an obsessive quest that is dangerous to everyone around them. Beasts often sympathize with Heroes, to a point. After all they're both linked to the primoridial dream, and Beasts are monstrous. Yes, she has her reasons, but not all Beasts exercise restraint and maybe Heroes are good at weeding out Beasts who go too far. The "problem" is that heroes aren't actually trying to solve a problem. They're not trying to kill off a beast, they're trying to become revered for kiling beasts. While the children benefit from the burst of fear and realization that comes from a hard won lesson. Heroes benefit from the veneer of simmering dread that never goes away. They leverage fear into dependency and adulation.


A Hero kills a Beast, but then realizes that the nightmare hasn't ended, and his work isn't done. More monsters must die on his sword. He cannot receive the fame he so richly deserves, because the world doesn't believe in monsters, so he smears the Beast's name, drags her publicly into the light, makes her hated for mundane reasons and crimes (real or not), and amasses followers who know the truth about him and his enemy
What's that? It sounds like Gamergate and MRA Doxxing? Why what a coincidence that surely wasn't intentional at all.

With one sentence they spend all of the goodwill they've amassed so far. The last paragraph in this section mentions that the "Dominant narrative of hero kills monster sells Beasts short, demonstrates a breathtaking lack of faith in humanity, and winds up with Dead Beasts. Heroes seldom question their own Heroism, this is what makes them so dangerous." What faith in humanity? Humans can deal with nightmares. That's not the question. The question is should they have to. And it's a question the book never asks.

It may seem that Beasts would be most feared in a Physical sense, Beasts can also call upon the power of the primordial dream to inflict physical and emotional damage on people. The most powerful Nightmares can actually become real, warping reality for at ime to show a horrifying glimpse of the Primordial Dream. And some of the Nightmares are just terrible, miserable things, and I have no idea how they would be used to impart a lesson. There's one that forces a person to confront their own mortality, and realize that you can't take anything with you, so why bother? It then forces them to abandon all social connections, and divest themselves of physical wealth. And while I guess that could be used in a positive way if you're dealing with some rich asshole relative that no one wants to deal with, even that sounds like an absolute worst case solution to the problem. And even using a nightmare towards a positive end can spawn a Hero.

That said, one of the Nightmares is "Behold, My True Form!" where you use your sheer presence to inflict physical damage, and I love it from a thematic standpoint if nothing else.

Conversely Atavisms are an expression of the power of a Beast's Horror. And frankly I like them. These are the things where you breathe fire, or gain a giant's strength, or use your Horror's ability of flight. The most powerful Atavisms can cause physical changes, but other times your perfectly normal hands leave huge gaping claw marks. Atavisms aren't subtle but they are powerful.

As far as Beasts are concerned, their family ties to other supernatural creatures are obvious. Even Mages, Prometheans, and Sin Eaters are kin to Beasts (And if you think about any of those for a second you should probably be going "Wait what?") Beasts can use the power of the Dark Mother to empower their kin, or use their connection to their kin to create new Nightmares.

Beasts have a culture of a sorts. Family doesn't always get along, but they do understand each other and that counts for a lot. Also any local area leaves it's own mark on the local primordial dream. Lairs link together and the most powerful supernatural creature in the are leaves it's mark on all the lairs beneath them. It doesn't necessarily have to be a Beast. If a Vampire Prince is the current area's Apex Predator, chambers in the areas may take on a "bloody, sensual flavor."

A Brood of Beasts can link their lairs and chambers together, and sate their hungers off of another member's feedings.

As far as "So what exactly is a Beast's end goal?" that's their Inheritance. Where a Beast reaches a reckoning between their Human nature and their Horror. If the beast merges into the human form in the physical world, they undergo the Merger, becoming a violent creature, losing all connection to the Primordial Dream and "Succumbing to the Hero's Narrative". Others undergo the Retreat, leaving their physical body behind and becoming nightmare beasts that roam the Primordial Dream.

A rare few fully embrace their Horrors and Humanity, becoming Incarnate. Incarnates are incredibly powerful and dangerous singular beings that are the "true monsters of the Chronicles of Darkness".

Time for another CofD staple.
No Neat Little Boxes


Characters - and players - might assume that they have a solid understanding of how the Chronicles of Darkness work and what the "rules" are. Beast is a reminder that no one- not he most connected vampire, not the wisest mage, not the oldest mummy - really has all the answers. Beasts delve into the secrets of the Chronicles of Darkness not because they necessarily wish to solve mysteries or gain power, but because the world is their home and they feel they have the right and, the responsibility to know
The is dripping out of that paragraph. No one has the whole truth, except Beasts.


This theme comes up in another way though: Beasts are not "good guys." They terrify people in order to feed their Horrors. Although their culture teaches them that they do so in order to impart important lessons, their peculiar form of pedagogy is entirely optional. A Beast is capable of being a force for wisdom, even for "good" in the Chronicles of Darkness, but doing so is entirely up to the Beast. Likewise, a Beast's primary enemy, the Hero, believes that killing the Beast is the right, objectively moral thing to do. The Beast Disagrees. Neither of them is necessarily wrong.
Please ignore all the times previously and later in the text where we unequivocally state that Heroes are wrong.


Perhaps, though, Humanity is just one more kind of monster; the fact that any human can become a Beast is an important part of that..... The characters in Beast are not the most evil parts of humanity. They're the scariest parts of humanity, because they are the stuff of nightmares

You Don't Choose Your Family


Monsters don't choose to be monsters, but, looking at Greek myths, one often finds an element of fatalism or determinism. Medusa and her sisters are sometimes listed as children of Echidna, but there are also legends that Athena cursed Medusa for sleeping with Poseidon. That notion that monsters are responsible for their own nature plays into the rather childish, but pervasive, notion that everyone and everything faces the same choices. On a sociopolitical level, we see it when people blame the poor for being poor, as though it was a choice (and a moral failing). In Beast, Heroes see the Begotten as irredeemable because of what they are — but the Beasts cannot be otherwise. Even Beasts that “choose” to be Beasts because another of their kind offered the Devouring aren’t really making a choice; they know what they are. The Devouring just confirms it.

So yeah, even though homosexuals Beasts chose to be who they are, did they really have a choice?

I feel like I need to take a shower.

Anyways, the choice of choosing the people who raised you, or the people who you're with now, as your 'real' family is a personal one every beast needs to make.

To Thine Own Self be True
Beasts are compelled to feed their Hungers, and no one begrudges them that, but they aren't excused from their consequences.

Inspirational Material
Some of the things we see here aren't surprising. Bill Willingham's Fables because of Bigby Wolf, yeah I guess. Disney's Beauty and the Beast I guess, Matt was beating the drum about Gaston being the Ur-Hero for months before Beast's release. But there's also Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil which honestly I'm not sure if that's genius, or missing the point to a horrifying degree.



Anathema: Weaknesses of Beasts. Some are vulnerable to particular metals, herbs, rituals, or methods of attack. Heroes can place Anathema on Beasts by striking them when they are “soft” (when Satiety is low enough that the Beast is still hungry, but high enough that the Horror isn’t roused).

Apex: The most powerful and feared supernatural being in a region. The Apex unconsciously colors the local hive with its influence.

Atavisms: Supernatural powers available to a Beast based on the character’s Horror and Lair. As Lair becomes bigger and more powerful, Atavisms become more useful. Atavisms are also more dramatic when the Beast’s location resonates in some way with her Lair.

Beast: A human granted a mystical connection to the Dark Mother, as expressed by the Horror.

Brood: A group of Beasts who have banded together and formed a shared Lair. They can fulfill each other’s Hungers to some degree.

Burrow: A passageway connecting Chambers within a Lair. A Burrow may also connect Chambers belonging to two or more separate Lairs of brood members.

Chamber: A distinct location within the Primordial Dream, often part of a Lair, reflecting an important place to the Beast, her Horror, or both. Chambers can also form in response to the actions of other supernatural beings, though they seldom recognize this.

Dark Mother: The ancestor of all Beasts, she is also called Echidna, Gaea, Tiamat, and many other names. Beasts are firmly convinced on a deep, instinctive level that she is still alive and watches over them.

Family: One of the five lines descended from the Dark Mother. They are Anakim, Eshmaki, Makara, Namtaru, and Ugallu.

Hero: A human being who senses the Primordial Dream in a broad, superficial way. Some Heroes becoming violently obsessed with killings Beasts.

Hive: The interconnected mass of Chambers that form near a given population center, all subtly influenced by the most powerful and influential supernatural being(s) therein.

Horror: The monstrous, iconic form of the Beast. It is separate from her physical body and lives in the Primordial Dream.

Hunger: One of the five driving urges that spur a Beast to go out into the world and hunt. They are Prey, Hoard, Power, Punishment, and Ruin. Fulfilling a Hunger increases Satiety.

Incarnate Inheritance: One of the three “end” conditions for a Beast, this involves the character and the Horror becoming fully realized. The character is permanently connected to her Lair and becomes one of the most dangerous forces in the world.

Inheritance: A state that any Beast can reach under certain conditions, in which she becomes something other than what she was. The three Inheritance states are Incarnate, Unfettered, and Rampant.(ed: Yes they say Rampant instead of Unleashed.)

Kinship: The familial relationship that Beasts share with each other and other supernatural beings, including vampires, werewolves, Mages, changelings, Prometheans, mummies, Sin-Eaters, ghosts, spirits, and most of the rest of the weirdness in the Chronicles of Darkness. Beasts can use Kinship to accentuate and augment the powers of other creatures, and can use interactions with these creatures to bolster their Nightmares.

Lair: The pocket of the Primordial Dream that a Beast’s Horror inhabits. When a group of Beasts form a brood, they may connect their Lairs via Burrows to allow free passage between them.

Merger: The process by which the Beast joins with her Horror, creating a near-mindless monster unable to access the Primordial Dream, thus achieving the Unleashed Inheritance.

Nightmares: Supernatural powers of Beasts based on activating Primordial fear in other beings. Nightmares are tied to Kinship; as Beasts expand their Kinship, they can learn (or create) new Nightmares.

Primordial Dream: A layer of the collective soul of the world, perhaps “below” the Temenos, in which the nightmares of humanity are given life. The Lairs of the Primordial Selves of all Beasts are here. Beasts can grant access to this Dream to other supernatural beings through Kinship.

Primordial Pathways: The paths used to access the Primordial Dream. Beasts can do it fairly easily, and can open them for other beings with Kinship.

Retreat: The process by which the Beast’s human body becomes severed from her Horror, creating a vicious spirit monster unable to leave the Primordial Dream, achieving the Unfettered Inheritance.

Satiety: Pronounced “SAY-shi-tee.” A measure of how fulfilled a Beast’s Hunger is at any given time.

Unfettered Inheritance: The Inheritance gained when the Beast undergoes Retreat. The Beast embarks on an astral journey and dies while in the Primordial Dream. The Beast’s Horror becomes a free-floating nightmare, a quasi-spirit haunting the dreamscape forever.

Unleashed Inheritance: The Inheritance gained when a Beast undergoes Merger. This can occur when a Beast’s Lair is destroyed, or if the Beast wills it to happen. The Beast’s Horror merges bodily with the Beast’s human form and becomes an animalistic monster, lurking in some dark corner of the world until a Hero arrives to kill it.

So what's different?

Well Chiefly, in the original copy, Beasts were chosen to be who they are at birth. The Horror didn't exist, instead it was the Soul, and the Devouring was known as the Homecoming when you realized what you were and the soul claimed the beast.


You were normal, once. At least more than you are now. You got up and went about your daily routine like anyone else — work, school, family, friends — with the same petty complaints and ambitions as anyone else you knew, except that you never quite fit in. It always felt like you stood apart from the rest of the herd; no matter how much you tried to be good, no one could argue that you had a cruel streak that ran bone deep.
Then came the day when you came face to face with the monster inside you, and suddenly it all made sense. You didn’t fit in with other people for the same reason a fox doesn’t fit in with a room full of poodles. It wasn’t cruelty in your nature: it was Hunger. Now you knew just how to feed it. Maybe it’s not pretty, sating these drives, but you don’t have a choice. It’s not your fault you’re what you are; since you can’t go back, you might as well make the best of it.


When the moment finally comes — when the Soul claims the mortal and the Beast is born — the horror of the monstrous is almost always accompanied by a sense of relief. At last, the Beast tells herself. At last it makes sense. The nightmares, the need, the thrill of seeing fear in someone’s eyes — it’s all part of something so much bigger. Of course, with relief comes horror, as the Beast realizes her terrible Hunger must be fed to keep the Soul appeased. Everything a Beast has learned since she was a child tells her the monster is evil.
The analogues between this and someone from a conservative family realizing they're Gay are almost painful.

The other big difference is in Heroes, they aren't even given the chance to appear sympathetic. Even though they do not really have a choice in the matter.


Literature idealizes these figures as square-jawed, divinely chosen champions putting themselves between depraved monsters and their innocent victims, but the Children know the truth is more complicated. Once a mythic link takes hold of a person, they are at best a ruthless stalker willing to commit any act in the name of “heroism.” At best, Heroes bear a strong resemblance to the heroes of ancient epics: deeply flawed people doomed to a terrible but glorious fate. At worst, Heroes are gibbering, gore-spattered maniacs whose obsessive quest to destroy the Beast twists their minds and makes them dangerous to everyone around them.

Having been raised with the same stories as everyone else, it can be very difficult for Beasts to process this reaction, to feel as though the whole world hates them and wants them dead. On the one hand, even the noblest Beast is still indisputably a monster of the darkest sort of nightmares, one who inevitably preys on human beings to satiate her Hunger. On the other hand, the Beast wasn’t exactly offered a choice in the matter and is often simply doing her best to survive, just like any other creature. Coupled with the fact that many of these self-styled Heroes are capable of any number of atrocities in the name of the greater good — after all, what isn’t justified to stop a dragon preying on your town? — it can be very hard to tell who the villain is in the situation.

Ultimately, Beasts recognize that the Hero cycle is as much a part of their nature as their Lair and their Soul. Humanity fears Beasts — that’s the intrinsic truth of what they are — and what humanity fears, it invariably attempts to destroy. Beasts quickly learn that they can’t become angry that people have that reaction; it’s reasonable. At the same time, though, the Children know that they have a right to exist. The world is a terrifying place, and the monsters in the dark are there for a reason. The dominant narrative may be “Hero arises, kills the monster,” but the Begotten see past that and know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Heroes, on the other hand, never question their own heroism — and that is why Beasts hate them.
The level of self entitlement is disgusting to read about. Heroes have no choice in what they are, just like Beasts, if anything they have less choice because the narrative of a Human takes over their entire lives. They are literally unable to question their motives, but it's okay to hate them because the book says so.

Up Next: After the Devouring

Chapter 1: After the Devouring - Part 1: Horrors

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 1: After the Devouring - Part 1: Horrors
Who's ready for more chapter fiction that wasn't changed to suit the new narrative?


The nightmare began the same way it always did: with a slight tug. Ben had suffered the same nightmare as far back as he could remember, and yet when it began, it always managed to surprise him. This night was no different from any other in that respect. He was swimming with his sisters down at the shore, maybe a little farther away from the beach than they should. They were laughing and splashing when there was a tug on his foot. As if something large grabbed ahold for a moment.

It wasn’t much, just enough to get his attention. One of his therapists had said the tug symbolized his fear of being dragged down by life pressures, which was in his opinion a bit over the top for a six year-old; when he was ten, a different therapist said it was his feeling of being left behind by his more academically successful siblings. Those therapists were right, in a way, but they always missed the larger point.

The thing in the dream was a monster, and it was pulling him down to die. No matter what realization Ben awakened with, that feeling never left him.

Right on schedule, another tug followed, pulling him under. Ben fought to surface, spitting out cold salt water, only to find himself alone, the sun hidden behind clouds, the beach deserted. That was the way it worked, each pull drawing him under longer, returning to a surface ever more bleak and inhospitable until it was almost indistinguishable from the blackness of the deep itself. Ben would go under a final time, something cold and rubbery gripping his leg dragging him down until he opened his mouth to scream and nothing but cold water flowed in, salt burning his lungs as he went numb. He’d wake up soaked in sweat, the salt scent of it nearly making him gag reflexively as he remembered the sea. He’d wake up understanding something, recognizing some obvious part of his life that was dragging him down, and he’d understand how to fix it.
Well i guess that's not entirely true, there was a little editing, and they added this sentence to try and justify the new 'teacher' narrative.


Except this time, he couldn’t struggle to the surface. This time, the monster was going to finish him. Ben struggled a moment more, and then embraced it. When the cold tendril wrapped around him, Ben ducked under the water and grabbed hold of it. It was cold and rubbery and tough to hold on to, but he held fast when it released his leg, even as it dragged him down into the dark. Water pressure pounded in his ears and his chest burned as his air ran out, but still he held on, panic shifting to a giddy sense of defiance.

Ben’s eyes strained against the dark, seeing nothing in the blackness … until he realized it wasn’t blackness at all. He wasn’t blind, he was simply looking at something so vast and dark it might as well have been the abyss. In that moment, still clutching one of its countless tentacles, he forgot about drowning, and would never again remember it.

A single baleful eye opened, as large as a house, and it was the same strange blue-gray shade as his own. Ben stared at the eye as the tentacles enveloped him, pulling, tearing, rending him to pieces. And then…stillness.


Something in the dark. Something in his head. No. A face. A mother. The woman he’d seen in the lake all those years ago. His mother, now. Ben felt himself changing, becoming one with the Horror in the black sea, tears of joy mixed with the salt of the deep. He finally understood. All those nightmares, it was never trying to drown him.

It was calling him home.
But they didn't change any of this, implying that beasts are still born the way they are. And the fact that the sentence about gaining wisdom is kind of haphazardly tacked on in the middle with no real justification is a pretty good metaphor for the whole situation.

And then fiction part 2.

Tales of The Dark Mother: Shane posted:

Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking we can’t hit bottom. We’re strong, sure. We wander through dreams and we rub elbows with werewolves, we do things that nine-tenths of the planet doesn’t even know are possible. We can hit bottom, though. I hit bottom at a music festival in Tennessee, in June. It was 110 degrees during the day.

Six people died of heat stroke that weekend (well, four died of heat stroke, one died because she partied with a vampire and then got dehydrated, and the other one…I’ll get to him). I ran out of drugs on the second night because some asshole stole my stash while I was lying on the grass listening to some little band play. I could feel the music like tongues on my skin, I could feel the water leaving my body behind and my lips tasted like salt. I couldn’t smell a thing, though. That always happens to me when I fix, don’t ask me why.

The fucker who stole my stash, I found him the next morning. Sun was rising. I could hear people fucking in tents, I could see the early risers making breakfast. This guy, his name was Fred or Frank or Fredo or something, he’s got on a one-person tent and a shitty little car next to it, and I can smell that he’s fixed just a minute ago. I unzipped the tent, and he’s nodded off.

I tried to punish him. I did. I sat there with him for an hour, trying to think of the worst thing I could do to get him back for taking my shit. I tried to reach out to the monster inside, that great and terrible whale-thing that swallowed Jonah and belched up the remains of ships, but it had beached itself, and I was left there, sitting in a tent, watching this guy smile away the morning on my drugs.

I just laid down next to him, trying to think. I wanted more than anything to fix, but I also knew if I did that I’d just be there with him all morning, probably into the afternoon. I turned over on my stomach, and I started to cry. And then I felt Her.

She pressed down on my back, Her weight forcing the air from my lungs. She didn’t speak. She didn’t need to. She let me know what I needed to know: I was on the bottom. I was dry, beached, stranded, marooned…but She loved me. She would accept me if I could find my way back.
I left my shit there in the tent. I’m not saying the next few months didn’t suck; they did. But at least I got to see them, and that’s more than I can say for Fredo.
Winners don't do drugs?

Beasts are divided into two splats, their Horror which is what kind of primal fear they represent, and their Hunger which is what kind of thing, physical or metaphorical, their beast feeds upon. Horrors determine what Atavisms you get access to, and each Horror has a unique power that's specific only to them.


Anakim: Nightmares of Hopelessness


His instinct is to get out of the way as the fist comes down. With the adrenalin rush, he sees it practically in slow motion. But it’s too big to dodge. It fills his vision as it collides with his face, a widescreen impact that sends him reeling across the room and wondering if his neck is broken. No, not broken, he can still feel. Feel his heart pounding against his rib cage. And feel those ribs crunch inwards with the next blow. And then feeling is gone, and sight is gone, and it’s all sound. One sound: the monster’s rumbling laughter.
The Anakim are giants, figuratively if not literally. They are big and strong and cannot be beaten. "To be Anakim is to overwhelm your prey by the force of your own magnificent body. No one stands up to you. Who could, when you stand so tall?" "You are the fear that chases, the fear that crushes, the fear that tears limb from limb. Maybe someone called you unsubtle. Maybe that someone still has all their ribs. Maybe." I really have trouble sympathizing with any of these descriptions, as most of them are Egotistical "Fuck You, Got Mine" incarnate. The book then goes on to theorize that the Anakim were the firstborn of the dark mother when she mated with the terrors that she released upon the earth, or that they're the offspring of her and god, and that blood was spread throughout humanity. (PLEASE IGNORE THE PART OF THE BOOK WHERE THEY SAID BEASTS WERE NOT HEREDITARY KTHX).

We then get some example characters, including a street vigilante, a white hat safecracker, another street vigilante, and a big game hunter who kills animals with her bare hands. Charming. We also get some 'stories' in the human conciousness that beasts may have inspired, but it's all pretty standard 'the cyclops was an anakim! So were the Basque Basajaun! And every other time there was a monster and they were big.' stuff. We also get some example descriptions of how their horror feeds in nightmares. If they aren't going for the classic Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum thing, they're usually embodying an authority figure, a Principal, a boss, a parent. And even if there isn't physical violence there's a sense of hopelessness in the face of a superior force. "The dreamer is left with no doubt that might makes right, and that the Giant has all the right in the world." Which strikes me as particularly dangerous since instilling someone with the sense that might makes right would probably also make them inflict their might on those weaker than them. Hooray cycles of abuse!

Anakim Lairs usually include anything that makes movement difficult, or literally trap and imprison their victims. Their Birthright allows them to break through any physical obstacle without fail once a scene.

Anakim Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: Their greatest power is in the blood. It’s not the way I do things, but it works.

Werewolf: The spirit wilds have things that are bigger, and yet you’re still the thing they fear. Nice work.

Mage: When I say “not all giants tower,” it’s these guys I’m talking about.

Promethean: I’m impressed at how much punishment your body can withstand, but you know there’s more to it than that, right?

Changeling: I think you’ve already learned what I have to teach.

Sin-Eater: I knock you down. You get up. OK. But if a ghost helps you up, does that still count?

Mummy: No one judges me.

Demon: What would happen if I tore off your masks? Would anything remain?
That Demon quote is somewhat infamous amongst Beast's detractors because the answer to that question is "Yes, a very angry Demon at full power who is probably going to kill you because you just ruined their only chance at happiness."

Eshmaki: Nightmares of Darkness


She knows it by its eyes. She hasn’t seen its face, hasn’t heard its footsteps… come to think of it, she hasn’t even really seen the eyes, either. She’s just seen them reflected, shining in the darkened shop window or the rear view of a car she passes. It’s after her. Should she run? Scream? If she did, would the fantasy of the lurker burst like a soap bubble and leave her free? But she does none of those things, and this time, she feels its breath on her neck.
Eshmaki are the fear of the dark. Well they're the fear of things that live in the dark, because they're things that live in the dark. They're also sort of the fear of being alone but that's also trod upon by other Horrors. What they don't say is that the Eshmaki are also dragons, sort of. Thankfully there are more interesting sample characters


They say children can see monsters. They’re wrong, at least about him. He’s only seen in his day job, as the administrator of a juvenile justice facility. His facility’s got one of the cleanest records in the state. After lights out, he stalks the corridors of the building, seeing what no one else can see, guarding against the dangers the children bring inside with them or foment when given too much time to themselves. He’d never hurt any of “his kids”… but they’re here to learn a lesson, and he isn’t shy about teaching them.
Well, that's not... too bad.


She only wants what belongs to her. She was disinherited, with everything taken and distributed to relatives who couldn’t give a damn about her childhood memories, much less her material needs. So she’s taking things back, one by one, night after night. She snatches her heirlooms and leaves things in their place. Deadly things. Poison syringes, pipe bombs. Victim by victim, those wicked relatives are dying off. One day, maybe even soon, she’ll be the only kin left standing.


He knows what it’s like to be on the outside, but he likes it there very much. He gets to watch people. Happy people. Sad people. Loving people. He sets up camp every night across the street from the only bar in town, and watches the little people go about their lives, blissfully unaware that they share their town with a monster. He’s very strict with his Horror. He only lets it feed with abandon every few years, but oh, what a glorious feast. To take one of those happy people and break their neck before they can even stop smiling, and then to feast on the flesh. The rest of the happy people cling their loved ones tighter, and shiver, and think “there but for the grace of God.” And he watches, sated.
That's not how feeding works


Every day, the elite get away with things. Those people are her prey, but it’s not so much the injustice she worries about. Life isn’t fair or balanced, after all. It’s that they think they’re better. That they think it’s more than an accident of birth or fortune that let them use and discard people like tissue. She knows about accidents of fortune. That’s how she became what she is: not just the Beast, but also a very rich woman. So she mixes with them, learns their secrets and their sins, and then, when the acquaintance is over and there’s nothing to connect her to her prey, she strikes. Brakes that fail. A fall from a penthouse balcony. A lover goaded into a jealous rage. She doesn’t kill them, not usually. She wants them to learn that luck doesn’t make them better or safer. Luck cuts both ways.
"The rich need to be put in their place", fan tast ic.

The only notable historical figure the Eshmaki claim amongst their numbers is Grendel, Because.. sure. The horror inflicts nightmares of being stalked, or being alone, usually the only notable feature of such dreams are a pair of glowing eyes in the dark. Their lairs allow them to stalk their prey, but rarely inflict damage (that's for the Eshmaki alone), and their Birthright lets them automatically inflict a Tilt on an unsuspecting target with a successful brawl or weaponry attack.

Eshmaki Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: When the world was young, it was your kind and mine, together in the shadows. Do any of you remember?

Werewolf: You watch boundaries. I live in them. Let’s be friends.

Mage: When you look so long, so deep, in the dark, what looks back? It isn’t me, if that’s what you were thinking.

Promethean: I get being on the outside. Thing is, I like it here.

Changeling: You’re worried about being taken? I could watch you. Just to make sure.

Sin-Eater: You’re never quite alone now, are you? Do you know what your Other thinks, or is it always just…watching?

Mummy: The longer you walk, the less in the dark you are. I know how I’d feel about that.

Demon: I like my prey to be multiple choice!
That mage quote is so amazingly smug.

Makara: Nightmares of the Depths


It’s strange, because he’s almost forgotten he’s going to drown. He’s still holding his breath, but the rush of the water by his ears is so steady, it’s almost hypnotic, the drag of the hand on his foot so unyielding, it’s almost gentle. There’s a sense of leaving the world behind, the surface, the cares, all that breathable air. What did he need it for, anyway? Still he holds his breath, and still he sinks deeper, and as he hears the siren call like whalesong, he’s faintly aware that his lungs are about to burst. And then… black. Nothing but the deeps and the end of time.
Makara are the fear of drowning and beasts in the water. But of course "You're a link to the drowned history of humanity, to the knowledge that the oceans have reclaimed. To the sunken temples and lost continents, to the ugly wreckage and watery graves." "People like to forget that the oceans dominate the planet, that the blood in their veins is just nature's way of letting them carry a little of it around so they can survive in an unnatural environment. You know better." I'll leave you with some character examples as my eyes have just rolled out of my head.


The swimming hole is his. Sure, in the summer, the kids can play there. He allows that. He allows the adults to come by and throw coins in, making a wish on a whim. But it belongs to him. Only he knows how deep it really goes. Only he has touched the mind of the thing that slumbers there. The thing that grants those wishes when it wants to, the thing that makes everyone regret wanting. It’s the thing that tells him the secrets. Who wants what. Who wants whom. And those secrets are very lucrative indeed.
That doesn't make any sense.


She likes to think of herself as a classic. She finds remote beaches, swims out far enough, and lures someone into the water. Sometimes she pretends to drown, while other times she just looks alluring. Either way, she lures her prey and shows them the wonders of the deep… for as long as their lungs will hold. And then she takes whatever they leave on shore. Waste not, want not.
Yay time to teach people things and then murder and rob them! We're the good guys!

The Makara's horror causes nightmares of drowning and suffocation. The dreams might start innocently enough with a cruise, but always end with drowning. Other times they're lured into the water by a siren, finding they no longer care about breathing. Their lairs are the most likely to have damaging traits (apparently?) and are usually watery. Their birthright allows them to impose a sense of drowning or claustrophobia on a victim. It imposes the feeling of drowning, not an actual loss of airflow, so things that don't have to breathe are still affected.

Makara Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: You don’t drown. My place, then?

Werewolf: The sharks of the land, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Mage: Abyss? You’re looking at her.

Promethean: You’re drowning in an ocean of sorrow. Let me drown you someplace nicer.

Changeling: You’ve seen depths I can only imagine. When you’re ready, I’ll listen.

Sin-Eater: We’re both drawn to deep places; perhaps the nightmares we find there are not so different.

Mummy: You’ve forgotten something out there, buried deep in the desert. Something you fear. I can wash away the sands.

Demon: They’ve mistaken depth for dressing in layers.

Despite how this looks, they used to be worse.

Namtaru: Nightmares of Revulsion


He reminds himself that he didn’t follow her out here for her pretty face. It wasn’t that kind of lure. No, she promised him what he needed, the only thing that makes his heart still beat like it was in love. As he turns the corner though, behind the dumpster, he sees that her face has melted away, that he’s looking at something from an older and more terrifying world. He screams, but her hand is on his face, scratching lightly, and the poison burns to work in his veins. Not the poison he was after, but it will have to do.
Oh yes supernatural ugliness. That's fantastic. "Those who call you ugly miss the point. 'Ugly' is just another one of those things in the eye of the beholder. No, you're hideous, terrifying to normal people on a level as atavistic as the heritage that made you a beast." Oh and beasts are hereditary again. That's good.


She’s the last thing you’ll ever see. Not a murderess, not an angel of death, but the night shift nurse. They keep her on nights because she has a habit of upsetting visitors. She’s plainspeaking, rough-voiced. She offers no comfort where it would be illusory, no word of kindness where it would be forced. But put her on at night… and, well, some of the problems seem to go away. Whatever it is that lives in the basement and sucks the life out of patients when they’re nearing the end… it’s afraid of her. And so, when your time comes naturally, the last thing you’ll see is her smiling, ugly, rough-hewn, face.
So she doesn't lie about the prospects of her patients but she does prolong their suffering. Hooray.


He works in a clinic, the kind where they give free needles to junkies to try and curb the spread of disease just a little bit, even if they can’t do anything about the spread of addiction. He doesn’t let anybody push his patients around, either, the skeletal, odious, half-day nocturnal folks who come here to get their works. He isn’t one of them, but he looks like he is, and he gets the same stares. When he started at the clinic, he fed his Horror with the fears of the addicts, thinking to teach them about the perils of using. He’s learned, though, that they don’t need his lessons. The people who spit on them do.
Keep note of this one for later.

Unsurprisingly, the Gorgons are seen as the progenitors of the Namtaru and..well..


The Namtaru hold a special place of reverence for the original Gorgons. You see, Medusa was raped by Poseidon in the temple of Athena. It was an ugly crime. When Medusa’s sister, Stheno, cried out for justice, Athena gave the family an ugly blessing: Medusa and her sisters became the chosen of the Goddess of War, given the power to bring vengeance against the wicked. The gaze of one of these original Gorgons could freeze a man’s blood in his veins, even turn him to stone. For centuries, Medusa and her sisters traveled the ancient world, destroying evils no one else could touch. Medusa had always been too kindhearted for her own good, however; when the Hero Perseus made her face the blood on her hands, she died of grief.
why do those heroes do such terrible things.

The Horrors of a namtaru unleash nightmares of maggoty things bursting through doorways. Rotting hands reaching out of drawers. They might 'wake' paralyzed and unable to move while the Namtaru hovers over them and does horrible things tot heir body. They might brand or disfigure them and set them loose upon their family to be sent away in terror. Their lairs are poisonous or hazardous and prevent recovery. Their birthright allows them to lower someones composure if they lock eye contact.

Namtaru Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: Those night terrors you leave them with, sweat soaked and crying for their mothers…is that how you dream of me? Let’s find out.

Werewolf: Do you want them to fear you? Or does it just…happen that way?

Mage: Mysteries, you say. The uglier and more horrifying the better? Well, my place or yours?

Promethean: These people who reject you. Why do you let them?

Changeling: You hide your face, too.
Sin-Eater: Your dead companion is ugly enough for the both of you.

Mummy: We both keep Lairs, but yours was built for you and I dreamed mine. What would you choose?

Demon: You’re a virus. You infect everyone you touch with your fears and paranoia. I can’t decide if I should thank you or end you.
I should point out that Beasts hate Demons for some reason. They just do, it isn't adequately explained but Beasts hate Demons.

Ugallu: Nightmares of Exposure


Stay with the car. That’s what they always tell you, stay with the car. Don’t set out across the desert by your lonesome. Don’t risk the scorching days and the freezing nights and the endless thirst tromping somewhere you might never be found. She didn’t listen, though. She didn’t even remember. She just had to get as far away from that wreck as she could, because she couldn’t bear to see who she’d just lost to it. She’s been aware of the shape overhead for hours now. It’s been watching her. It’s not a natural thing, not part of the experience of a college student driving south for spring break. But it’s there, and she knows it’s waiting. Finally, as the sun dips below the horizon, she lies down and lets it take her.
Ugallu are exposure, both literal and figurative. Both being lost alone out in the open with no escape, and having all your secrets laid bare with no recourse. But their horror is the flying beast above them, waiting to swoop down upon the empty plain and end their suffering. Ugallu care not for blind alleyways or dense forests, for they are in the sky and only care about the path between up and down.


He rolls his eyes when they talk about chemtrails. He’s a cropsprayer by trade and he doesn’t like the anti-science bullshit spouted by fringe elements. He particularly doesn’t like the black marks it puts on small aviators, the ones who make modern agriculture possible. He’s never been able to master flying under his own power, so he needs that little plane to get up where he belongs. And he needs money to keep flying. So when those tick-tock men come with their mysterious “fertilizer” and cryptic instructions, he takes the payload and he takes the cash. But still, he rolls his eyes.

What does that have to do with beasts? How does it involve him hunting, or feeding? It doesn't, it's... just a dig at fringe quacks.

The Horror of an Ugallu creates nightmares of exposure. Lost and alone without shelter or food. Or those dreams where you're naked in class, yeah that's an Ugallu too apparently. Their lairs are stark landscapes, and their birthright allows them to find anything or anyone hidden.

Ugallu Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: I’ll blot out the sun with my wings for you.

Werewolf: You take the ground, I’ll take the sky. By morning, it’s all ours.

Mage: Icarus’ mistake wasn’t flying. It was flying badly.

Promethean: If it’s any comfort, from up there you look the same as any of them.

Changeling: I’ll see them coming before you do. Make a deal with me.

Sin-Eater: I admit, your Underworld makes me uncomfortable. It’s so close in there.

Mummy: Everything about you is a tapestry. I can’t wait to unravel it. Then you can see how it was made!

Demon: Didn’t fall far enough, apparently.

That's enough time spent on that stuff. Next time I'll be covering the different types of Hungers

So what's different?

Most specifically, the Stereotypes. They were changed to make Beasts less immediately obvious as assholes. And to give the other splats an actual reason to want to interact with them.


Old Anakim Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: Control isn’t love. Trust me.

Werewolf: You can call that big. I guess.

Mage: Pure discipline, wasted on sacks of meat.

Promethean: You’re strong. You’re indestructible. There ain’t room for the both of us.

Changeling: Why strike bargains with the people you tower over?

Sin-Eater: People shouldn’t get back up after I’ve torn them down. Stop that!

Mummy: No one judges me.

Demon: What would happen if I tore off your masks? Would anything remain?
So yeah, the main 3 got changed to something that was actually somewhat complementary. Promethean, Changeling, and Sin Eater got altered a bit, but Mummy and Demon are still hostile.


Old Makara Sterotypes posted:

Vampire: Just like a wine drunk. No sense of variety and you lose your shit at every party.

Werewolf: You watch boundaries. I violate them. Let’s be friends.

Mage: Met one once. His dreams smelled of old knowledge, ancient and true. So I ate him.

Promethean: I get being on the outside. Thing is, I like it here.

Changeling: You’re worried about being taken? I could watch you. Just to make sure.

Sin-Eater: You’re never quite alone now, are you? Doesn’t that get stifling?

Mummy: Of course I can kill it.

Demon: I like my prey to be multiple choice!
Much like before, the big three got made into positives. Though werewolf deserves special mention. Since, you know. "I violate Boundaries" is... very questionable wording. And the other five were left alone.


Old Makara Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: You don’t drown. I don’t have much use for that.

Werewolf: We both go places no one else can.

Mage: Abyss? You’re looking at her.

Promethean: You’re drowning in an ocean of sorrow. Let me drown you someplace nicer.

Changeling: You crossed hedge and thorn to get here? Call me back when you’ve faced the sharks.

Sin-Eater: We’re both drawn to deep places; perhaps the nightmares we find there are not so different.

Mummy: You’ve forgotten something out there, buried deep in the desert. Something you fear. I can wash away the sands.

Demon: They’ve mistaken depth for dressing in layers.
Vampire, Werewolf, and Changeling made slightly more positive. Everyone else left alone. Though there seems to be a theme of Beasts telling changelings they haven't faced enough suffering.


Old Namtaru Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: Those night terrors you leave them with, sweat soaked and crying for their mothers…is that how you dream of me? Let’s find out.

Werewolf: You want them to fear you. I like that. But I prefer my prey more…substantial.

Mage: Mysteries, you say. The uglier and more horrifying the better? Well, my place or yours?

Promethean: These people who reject you. You need to learn to kill more of them.

Changeling: You hide your face, too.

Sin-Eater: Your dead companion is ugly enough for the both of you.

Mummy: We both keep Lairs. I’ll thank you to stay in yours.

Demon: You’re a virus. You infect everyone you touch with your fears and paranoia. I can’t decide if I should thank you or end you.
Not much has changed here, but what has changed is... important. The promethean quote. "WHY DON'T YOU MURDER PEOPLE?!" is probably the most tonedeaf evaluation of Promethean ever.


Old Ugallu Stereotypes posted:

Vampire: You take the ground, I’ll take the sky. By morning, it’s all ours.

Werewolf: It’s only polite to eat what you kill.

Mage: The tighter you grasp, the faster you slip.

Promethean: If it’s any comfort, from up there you look the same as any of them.

Changeling: I wish I could just carry you away. But that would bring flashbacks, wouldn’t it?

Sin-Eater: You think you can see everything, the present and the past, but there’s a whole other world you’re missing just above your head.

Mummy: Everything about you is a tapestry. I can’t wait to unravel it.

Demon: Didn’t fall far enough, apparently.
So, Vampire and Werewolf's stereotype were switched for some reason, Mage was made less openly hostile. Changeling is... terrible. Same with Sin Eater. And Mummy and Demon were left alone.

So yeah, the running theme of Beasts being randomly antagonistic to Mummies and Demons was there from the beginning, though they used to be antagonistic to everyone. Reminder that everyone else is also supernaturally compelled to like Beasts.

There's also one sample character that got changed, that Namtaru who protected druggies at the hospital? He didn't do it to protect them, he did it so he could collect their used needles. The nurse who ensured that everyone lived to the fullest as miserable suffering shells? She's completely unaltered.

Up Next: Do you like terrible sample characters? Because we've got dozens of them.

Chapter 1: After the Devouring - Part 2: Hungers

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 1: After the Devouring - Part 2: Hungers
So Hungers are the second splat for Beasts and honestly they're not really that integrated into the game, mechanically. While your Horror defines what Atavisms you have access to, your birthright, and your lair; your hunger defines what things you should be feeding on and nothing else. And the hungers aren't very delineated, the hunger for Prey, Power, Punishment, and Ruin can all bleed into eachother. A predator can select their prey based on the wrongs that they have done, a Tyrant police officer could exert control over lawbreakers, a Ravager could systematically destroy all that protects a lawbreaker in hiding until all they're driven out into the open. It's ultimately up to the Storyteller to adjudicate how in theme with a Beasts' Hunger a 'feed' is, and for something as character defining as a Hunger is meant to be that's very soft enforcement.

Tyrants: Hunger for Power
It's too late. I've won. I own you now, and you are going to do exactly what I say.


Some monsters live to make mighty warriors feel like mere infants, alone and scared in the dark, trying desperately to stand against something stronger and more cunning than they. In ancient times, such Beasts were worshiped as gods. Child and champion alike fell to their knees in awe at the mere sight of such a magnificent, terrible creature. Not every Beast would thrive under such attention, but for the Tyrants, the best part about being on top is looking down at all the people they crushed to get there.
Tyrants crave power, and bask in the adulation of those they have cowed into submission. Either from the top of the pyramid, or from the shadows while their subjects tremble in fear at the mere thought of their unseen king. Tyrants thrill at showing how powerless tiny mortals are against the stuf of nightmares.
Hey wait, that sounds an awful lot like the Anakim's whole shtick.

Yes, that's another problem with Hungers, they tread on the same ground as the Horrors do, ultimately devaluing them as well. A Makara tyrant wants to see the mighty put in their place just as much as an Anakim anything does, but they just do it differently.

On the Hunt
There is the obvious, stalking someone down and pulling them into an alleyway and making them beg for their life is enough for a light snack, but most Tyrants see that as inelegant and ultimately unfulfilling. A Tryrant in a corporate setting feeds by getting themselves promoted over their hated colleagues, delighting as they force their former equals to do menial tasks. A Tyrant Lawyer could find themselves working criminal law, finding sustenance in that moment when their opponent realizes they lost their case not because of the evidence, but because the Beast is just that good. "An elderly Tyrant might rule their local homeowners association with an iron fist, making all her neighbors live in fear of her visits."

And yes, barring the lawyer those are incredibly petty.

The Lessons


A Tyrant teaches people their limits. The modern narrative in many places is that people can be whatever they set out to be, but that’s simplistic and naïve. Some people’s bodies are weak; that’s not a moral failing, but it does prevent them from feats of physical strength. A beneficent Tyrant can show people alternate ways to achieve their goals or goad them into pushing past their weakness. A more vicious Tyrant might teach through despair, terror, and even shame — you are not strong enough to best the dangers of the world alone.
I'm sorry but What the fuck!? So yeah somewhere there's a Beast that goes around to Fast Food employees and terrorizes them into not trying to find another job because they're just not good enough. And apparently there's a Beast somewhere who would view the Special Olympics as an absolute fucking smorgasbord.

The Families
Anakim are well suited for the hunger for Power, as I mentioned earlier. Though they prefer being up close and personal when their prey realizes their failings. Their Horrors tend to look like literal monstrous tyrants, a Cyclops wearing a crown of human bone, or an Ogre Queen who's lair is strewn with twisted swords.


Jo doesn’t tower over her prey — she’s short, but she’s all muscle. She enjoys letting other people challenge her, especially men. The challenge isn’t always or even usually physical. Sometimes they try to test her knowledge on topics they think she shouldn’t understand, or try to explain things to her that it’s obvious she knows. She destroys them; she knows what they know and she pokes holes in their beliefs and their facts, showing them sides of the topic they never considered. Secretly, though, she relishes the rare times when a man gets so mad he tries to touch her, because then she can beat him in a way that leaves no room for argument.
The sample Anakim Tyrant is a woman who catfishes men into touching her so she can beat them down.


Eshmaki tyrants enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and can get playful with concepts such as 'fair play' or 'sporting chance' before they crush their targets hopes.


Reynold is a health inspector for the city. Most of the time, he does his job without complaint, but sometimes he finds the places where horrible things have happened and left… stains. Then he finds those responsible, and he makes them clean up their mess. Human offenders are simple. Supernatural ones…they take a different kind of approach. Reynold doesn’t mind the work; he doesn’t judge others for making the mess, just for leaving the stains behind.
A Beast Tyrant who beats up other people for having the audacity to behave like a beast. Remember this is supposed to be the crossover friendly splat.

Makara tyrants enforce their rule with the very lairs they dwell in. They're the masters of the depths, and will brook no discussion on that part. The victim of a Makara hunt might not even realize that there is an intelligence behind their suffering until it is too late.


Ari drives a cab. He goes to the parts of the city that the other cabbies won’t. He knows every bit of the city — the poor neighborhoods where everyone looks out for each other and the rich neighborhoods where everyone’s a stranger. When he feels his Hunger, he picks someone up and drops him in a place the person’s never seen before, a place where just walking down the street will get him arrested or jumped. He never lets anyone die. He just wants each little fish to know how far from its home pond it has strayed.
So... the Tyrant feeds by basically kidnapping people, and dumping them in the bad part of town? How does that exude an aura of power, or anything other than 'Cabbies are dicks'? Also wouldn't he have your medallion number? Aren't there any number of other reasons this is an incredibly stupid and bad idea?

"Many Namtaru Tyrant Horrors resemble insects: a queen bee with mandibles that drip venom or a cloud of vermin surrounding the unseen master of their swarm. They may be vile, but they are also impossible to ignore." ...sure? Namtaru Tyrants are careful to select only victims that can display the proper amount of awe and humility that is their due.


No one wants to get sent to the principal’s office, but especially not with Ms. Blaise there. Ms. Blaise is the assistant principal, but the real principal is just as scared of her as the kids. She has a pet scorpion in a tank on her desk. She always feeds it when she’s talking to a kid in trouble. Sometimes kids cry, sometimes they mumble apologies, but no one gets sent to Ms. Blaise twice.
Or they could just be mean vice principals.

Ugallu Tyrants enjoy feasting from afar, convincing their targets that they are trapped in a Panopticon and there is nowhere they can hide from the Ugallu's power. Their Horrors often resemble ancient winged beasts wreathed in flame ruling from a high perch.


Dave worked his way up. He started out delivering packages, but then he got promoted to supervisor, went to school, got his MBA, and now he’s got a corner office. But he’s got his sights set higher — he wants top floor. He wants to look down at the whole city. He’s patient, though. He figures there are about six more positions between his and the big boss, and he wants to have them all. It’s not having the top floor that will make him happy. It’s taking it.
...that's an incredibly inefficient feeding method for several reasons. How about you explain how this guy feeds during the several year spans between promotions? Oh right you won't because Beasts are supposed to be the good guys.

Collectors: Hunger for the Hoard
I wanted it more than he did. That makes it mine


The image of the dragon perched upon her hoard of precious gems and gold has been written into stories for thousands of years. Kingdoms have fallen trying to appease such Beasts with an endless train of gifts, only to have her sights turn to their grand castles and priceless crown jewels once everything else is gone. Even hundreds of years after all survivors have fled her domain, the stories of legendary riches and their fearsome guardian spread far and wide on desperate, greedy whispers, keeping a Collector well fed for centuries to come.
Collectors gather things, but they don't feed off of having things, you see. They actually feed off of mankind's greed. People have to want what they have.

On the Hunt
Though collections have to be physical things, hoards can vary drastically. What they all share is that someone must be willing to risk life and limb to have it. Gold and Precious Gems are the obvious, but rare books locked away in a private library work just as well. Or you can be a Principal who confiscates students possessions and never gives them back. Because beasts are also petty as fuck.

Also, Beasts can't simply go out and buy something new, because that's trading value for value. They have to steal it for their hoard. While finding lost treasure counts, several Collectors become master theives, or work themselves into positions of power where they can steal from subordinates without giving them a chance to fight back but that's what tyrants do.

The Lessons
Nothing is forever, all things fade in time. A Collector forces their target to choose between something they are fond of and something they truly love. "What is the target willing to die to protect. What is he willing to kill to protect?" This is sounding awfully SAW here. "If you truly own nothing but what you can carry at a dead run, the collector forces her target to choose what to pick up before the running even starts. Some Collectors let it go at that. Cruel Beasts chase down the target and take his prize anyway." Because reducing someone to a single possession isn't cruel. You see.

The Families
Anakim Collectors hoard items that are a testament to their own strength. Weapons and armor worn by those who had failed to defeat them, for instance. Or personal mementos pried from fallen foes. Their lair is strewn with odds and ends, but the most prized pieces are worn by the Beast's horror, forcing a confrontation to claim them.


Zmei is a burglar…of a sort. He doesn’t creep in quietly or slip through windows. He walks in, takes what he wants (he’s partial to silver), and leaves. If the homeowner wants to try and stop them, they’re free to do so. If they can stop him, Zmei feels, they deserve to keep their belongings.
If you can beat an Anakim in single combat you get to keep what you have. This is apparently fair.

Eshmaki focus on the Owner, not the goods. They follow a target just long enough to see what they grip in fear, and that's what the Eshmaki wants to take. Other Eshmaki try to keep to more specific tastes, and ensure that if their target isn't precisely valuable, it is at least well guarded.


Rose collects teeth. She’ll take them from a victim’s mouth, if she needs to, but that’s messy and difficult. She’d rather take them from people — a lot of parents keep their children’s baby teeth, at least for a while. She’s taken them from the dead, too, and sometimes she breaks into dentists’ offices. The shape of human teeth fascinates her. Hers, after all, feel so sharp. She wonders if a vampire’s teeth might feel more like hers, but she likes most of the vampires she’s met too much to rip their fangs out. Most of them.
That's... absolutely nothing like what was just described.

Makara collectors have a knack for finding long lost things of value. "From ancient relics to knowledge that's been forgotten for centuries." Regardless of the fact that collectors need to collect physical things to feed.


Yin found a little hollow just off the coast. She swims out there once a day with a plastic bag. She always has something in the bag, something metal and heavy, and she always comes back to the beach without it. Once, someone from her neighborhood decided to grab the bag and peek in, but no one’s sure what happened after that because a storm blew up out of nowhere. Next time anyone saw Yin, she was walking into the water with two bags.
That doesn't describe anything about her actually collecting anything, just being darkly mysterious and murdering anyone who shows a hint of curiosity.

Namtaru collectors hoards are "exquisitely terrifying". They're full of nice things but they're also covered in disgusting things.


Many Collectors hide their riches away from the world. Not Nigel. He takes (“acquires,” if anyone asks) heirlooms, antique clothing, items of historical significance, and then he defiles them. He smears the handstitched clothing with blood or shit, he carves deep, uneven furrows in the furniture, and he puts it all on display by the side of the road, under a banner that reads “SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI.”
So he's an asshole? Also shouldn't he be a Ravager since he's destroying and not keeping?

The most iconic collectors in history have been Ugallu. Winged beasts that perch in high places atop their glittering hoards. They're also the finders of things that are lost, a hidden murder weapon or a breakup letter thrown away are valuable to someone, and an Ugallu can feed upon it.


Anya owns an apple orchard. Each tree has a ribbon tied around the top. Some of them are red, some are yellow, some are green, and most people who visit the orchard and buy her apples assume the ribbons correspond to the specific type of apple the tree bears. But that isn’t it. Anya goes out into the orchard at night and checks the ribbons, reminiscing about the day each tree was planted. The ribbons don’t match the apples. They remind Anya what she buried when she planted the tree. Red for something stained with blood, yellow for something stolen, green for something never touched or tasted.
This is basically the only Collector actually doing what it's supposed to be doing and not murdering people over it. Good for you Ugallu.

Predators: Hunger for Prey
Oh you precious little thing. Why I could just eat you up
Predators remind people that while they may think they're on top of the food chain now, at one time they huddled by their fires in fear of the beasts that lurked outside the cave. When they're caught alone and unprepared they're just hairless monkeys. Some predators are subtle, others live for the open chase. And regardless of if their target survives the night, a Predator will take something, even if it's a pound of flesh.

On the Hunt
Predators don't need subtle manipulation and complex emotional states. The hunt is probably the easiest primal emotion to understand. Some predators are "lucky" and their horrors are satisfied with catch and release, as long as they take a trophy to identify that they have fulfilled their purpose as a hunter of man.


A Predator might spend a night chasing a victim down the dark alleys of his city, let him “escape,” and then take a lock of her victim’s hair after sneaking into his apartment while he sleeps. She might simply feed off the utter terror in her victim’s eyes when the Beast has him pinned to the ground with a knife to his throat. The Beast doesn’t need to kill the victim, but he needs to have been able to do so. The victim needs to be at the Beast’s mercy. Unlike the Hunger for Power, though, the victim doesn’t need to know it.
But I thought they had to take something and... there wasn't even a paragraph break, how could you forget that.

The Lessons
Predators teach Mortality. Tyrants "Show a victim that the climb is unsafe but manageable with the right preparation" (fucking lol) Predators show mankind the monsters that live at the peak. Some predators enforce humanity's ignorance of the supernatural creatures that live in the shadows, which steps on the toes of at least... three other supernatural groups that I can think of just off the top of my head. Some predators do this by showing them a glimpse of that horror and letting them escape, others just fucking murder a bastard and leave their corpse as a warning for others. Other Predators prey on trust. Because we're just completely leaving the idea of 'taking' things in the dust. "Humans want to trust each other, and they tend to believe what they are told if they are told earnestly. A Beast who Hungers for Prey might expose this folly."

The Families
Anakim Predators make their prey feel small. Because they're one note villains and this is getting old. An Anakim Predator's horror might be a hulking dinosaur from an ancient age.


Darius took his name and his hunting style from a werewolf he met once. He chases down his prey and breaks a bone — finger, arm, leg, neck, doesn’t matter, as long as he can hear the crack. He inflicts pain and fear in his prey and leaves behind a crippled, anguished person…or sometimes just a corpse, depending on how loudly his Horror howls.
Remember: this is for your own good.

Eshmaki Predators are stalkers, their horror demands the nourishment such a visceral hunt provides. They keep hidden until the last moment and strike from the shadows. They don't always kill but if they don't then they must mark their prey in some fashion.


Father Landon was a priest before the Devouring. He still believes, but when he prays, he prays to the Dark Mother. He talks with other men of the cloth, tempting them to break their vows and sin, and then watching as they run to other priests to give confession. At times he exposes their crimes and watches as the church either protects its own or makes examples. Father Landon doesn’t really care about the punishment (though his broodmate sometimes takes an interest) — he hunts transgression.
... This isn't a Predator. This goes against everything you just wrote. What the fuck are you doing!?

Makara predators prefer elaborate tricks and traps to make their prey come to them. It might be a physical obstical but other use pleasant bat to get their prey to come out into the water. Beautiful makara play the mermaid game. If a makara's human form can't keep up with her inclinations Makara predators are more likely than others to use technology to compliment their abilities.


Brianna came to her Family early. Now in middle school, she spends summers with her brood, traveling the coastlines. She visits beaches, swims out too far, and waits for some poor soul to come and try to save her. Some Predators feed on flesh and blood. Brianna feeds on altruism. She doesn’t drown her would-be saviors — what kind of lesson would that teach? — she just dives deep and swims away, letting them either keep looking or swim back to land thinking that she drowned.
Again, this isn't a predator. Also, this is terrifying. I mean, yes, you might be indirectly responsible for deaths as the absolutely emotionally destroyed lifeguard fails to save other people. Or as they kill themselves trying to save a girl who can breathe water. But you aren't really teaching a lesson or 'hunting'.

Hunting with a Namtaru Predator at your side can be disconcerting. They work with a strange alien efficiency when give a task to do, even moreso when the task is a violent one. A Namtaru's hunger might require them to taste blood from a dozen separate tiny cuts, or feel all of a victim's ribs crack one by one under their bare hands. Other Makra use poison, letting their prey die slowly and in agony.


Vanessa likes blood. Her forearms cause deep gouges, as though they had serrated blades, and anyone caught in her embrace will bleed. Vanessa doesn’t necessarily drink the blood — she’s been known to, but just feeling it running down her body is enough. Her favorite “bleeders” are the disinterested, the people who are aloof and disdainful of their fellow humans. In her embrace, she knows they feel; if they survive, they are grateful for every moment they have. Everyone wins.
Getting a little metaphorical here, game. How does being hug-bled make people more loving of their fellow man? I would think a random person hugging me until I bled would make me more distrustful. Unless that's the point.

Ugallu predators are patient, because they are always watching. They're as long term a planner as their hunger will allow, and when they do descend on silent wings the results of their predation are swift, brutal, and efficient.


John Dawson owns the big, big house in the south end of town. The house has many rooms and a high, slanted roof. John steals people, takes them away to his house, and keeps them there long enough for their families to grow desperate. He waits until someone accuses someone else, until the dirty laundry comes out and the grief and fear breaks someone…and then he releases his prisoner, hungry but unharmed. Most of the families repair themselves. John prides himself on being the one to help them clear the air.
...this.. isn't.. a predator. It definitely isn't what you just described. And this is also terrifying.

Nemeses: Hunger for Punishment
I know what you've done. Now it's time for you to pay
Every culture has a fairy tale about creatures that punish the guilty. Children understand these fairy tales and obey them instinctively. But adults forget, so the Nemesis reminds them. They hunt down offenders and punish them for their crimes. They keep mankind's guilty conscience on edge, keep transgressors looking over their shoulder for a punishment that, rationally, should not come.

On the Hunt
To feed their hunger, a Nemesis must have a suitable target. Someone who's broken the law set upon them, or a law set by their hunger (ha ha! Jaywalking is now a capitol offense! So sayeth my balrog soul!) Whatever her rules are, a Nemesis must be reasonably certain that the target has broken them. How much evidence this requires is also completely up to the Nemesis. Once a victim is chosen, then the punishment begins. How this happens, again, is up to the individual beast. But the target must be made aware of precisely which rule they broke and know that that is why they are being punished.

The Lessons
Honestly this is the only 'lesson' that makes sense, because they're punishing infractions. But an asshole Nemesis could also teach that rules don't matter and the deck is stacked against you and everything, including justice, is arbitrary.

The Families
Anakim Nemesis are blunt and to the point, they punish violence with more violence. Murderers and physical abusers meet fists and claws. Their laws are simple and straightforward, easy to follow and easy to break.


Ogre got his nickname wrestling in high school. The funny thing is that he’s met real ogres since then, creatures who were forced to be brutes and workhorses in the far-off Faerie realms. He’s made friends with several such changelings — and he’s the one they call in when someone breaks an oath. Ogre can’t stand betrayal. If you want to fight, kill, maim, that’s fine, he thinks, but don’t say you have someone’s back and then stab it. That’s when Ogre cracks his knuckles and everyone steps back, because they know he’s about to hit something.
Makes sense, simple and too the point. Am I reading the same book?

Eshmaki Nemesis draw out their acts of punishment. They revel in the terror they see in the eyes of those they punish, their target may ever even see the monster that's out to get them because the terror is part of the punishment.


Jess’ brood doesn’t know much about zir. They don’t know zir’s real name or zir assigned gender, and Jess isn’t interested in sharing. Jess also doesn’t participate in group hunts — it’s not personal, Jess just takes hunting seriously and prefers to do it alone. Ze finds the people who have committed crimes that went unreported — date rape, domestic violence, child abuse, the really unpleasant stuff. Those are the people Jess punishes, and ze doesn’t linger over the act. Ze does, however, make sure that zir deeds become visible, not so much as a deterrent (Jess has found that it makes little difference), but to give future victims of such crimes hope for justice.
....fuuuuucccckkk.... The transexual avenger who doesn't adhere to your gender binary or group dynamics but does kill date rapists and domestic abusers. Also this is the only time they use a nongendered pronoun like this. Shit.

Makara nemesis tend to have rules that protect a particular place or type of environment. They punish sailors for killing albatross, or for transgressing upon their hidden cove. But having such a specific feeding requirement makes it hard to sustain themselves, so they often seek out the companionship of broodmates that can help them satiate their hunger in other ways.


Patrick and Ahmed are a Makara Collector and a Makara Nemesis, respectively, who fell in love. Patrick placed his treasures at the bottom of Ahmed’s lake, and Ahmed resolved to punish all those who would dare to steal his lover’s hoard. People come to the lake to almost every week, looking to dive down and take the “abandoned treasure.” Of course, Patrick makes sure to spread the rumors about the treasure. That way people come looking, and his lover gets to punish them.
Well even if they barely managed to not make the transexual character outright offensive, they failed on the gay characters. A pair of Gay Makara who trick people into sacrificing themselves to feed their hunger.

Namtaru are particularly suited to this hunger since they're "objects of humanity's most cruel hatred." They tend to find laws that fit a past injustice they suffered. A Nemesis bullied for their looks strikes out against those who ridicule others. A namtaru who lost a loved one to violence punishes someon who would do that to others.


Angela went to law school to represent the people who wouldn’t otherwise have representation. She represents the victims of bullies, the victims of the beautiful, the rich, the popular, the charming, the privileged. She doesn’t always win, of course — she has a small practice and she’s just as overworked as any other attorney. But she’s got a superlative method of negotiation, and it involves putting the fear of God (or at least a billion little spiders) into opposing counsel.
Yes screw the legal system let's just scare the shit out of people.

Ugallu Nemesese punish the most secret and hidden of crimes. Unfortunately they also seem somewhat petty. "Acting hypocritically, willfully deceiving a romantic partner, falsely professing belief in a religion, or other crimes of thought rather than action" Yes, Ugallu are literally thoughtpolice. They often like to leave clues days or even weeks in advance (usually because their guilty conscience will provide enough actual proof to suit their needs)


Benjamin knows that Father Landon lures clergy into breaking their vows, but he sees no entrapment. If they promise something, they must keep their promises, forever. If they wish to break the vows, they must renounce the church. Benjamin punishes the offenders, taking them high up to the bell tower and offering them a choice — confess, renounce, or try to fly to Heaven. He’s seen priests take all three options, but it’s all the same to Benjamin.
Yeah remember that Priest from before? We've got yet another bit of entrapment, make them renounce so that my best friend Benjamin has people to kill! Teach lessons!

Ravagers: Hunger for Ruin
You ever seen a hurricane, all up close and personal? Well, you're about to.
Ravagers must destroy to feed. It's not the act of violence that they feed from, but the change it causes in the humans who notice. When they see something destroyed they realize how fragile they are and wonder what will be destroyed next. That state of uncertainty and fear is what the Ravager feeds on.

On the Hunt
Most Horrors who hunger for Ruin aren't too picky about their meals. They might burn down a nightclub one day and take a hammer to an antiques warehouse the next. The randomness and the chaos makes feeding easier and also increases the uncertainness that sustains them. The easiest way to get the reaction they want is to destroy a symbol of security. Destroying a home will leave a family shaken and homeless, leaving gashes in the wall of a police station will have the same effect on an entire community. Ravagers rarely target people, but killing an important person can also have the same general effect. Killing a beloved mayor will leave a community shaken and broken.

The Lessons
"Life is Chaos. Death strikes at any moment." Ravagers teach people not to prepare for disaster (Because who can prepare for ruin? ) but to remain steadfast and resolute when it arrives. Disaster is survivable, victims can weather any storm, extinguish the fire, ride the hurricane. Of course if you teach the lesson to the wrong person you create a Hero. "Someone who thinks he can beat the storm, and that attitude is dangerous for all involved." Yes, ignore levees, and lightning rods, we should all just be grateful that it wasn't us.

Fuck you beast.

The Families
Anakim ravagers don't even fucking try to be subtle. Meaning they can't fit in with a mortal community, and forcing them to wander from town to town. This also creates more chaos and yadda yadda yadda.


Grace watches with amusement as people take care of their cars with a tenderness they never show to people. Few things provide so much sustenance with so little work as damaging an expensive car. When Grace really feels the need to treat herself, she turns a car upside down and watches as the owner goes crazy trying to figure out how it happened.
Whatever, it's relatively benign, at least we're out of the outright murder.

Eshmaki Ravagers sneak into the most guarded places and leave signs of their intrusion to be found long after they have vanished. They're the most precise and particular of Ravagers, and also the most prone to go after humans.


Lester loves the sound of glass breaking. Human beings forget how flimsy windows are — they are enough to keep out the rain, yes, but not enough to keep out bricks, branches, or a determined intruder. Lester smashes the windows in the homes of the rich in the dead of night, and watches the security come running. Sometimes he writes his message on a wall or a mirror: YOU ARE NOT SAFE.
.....what lesson is that going to teach beyond complete and utter paranoia and creating more and more secure systems that are completely worthless against someone who can turn into shadow and creep through cracks? This is just mindless terror. And super juvenile.

Makara ravagers often leave an aftermath that looks like a storm. As they're the ones most capable of using nature in their ravages.


Naia tries to keep herself under control. She really does. She breaks things when she’s hungry, calling up enough of a storm to do some damage, and watching people feel helpless in the face of nature. But when her Horror truly hungers, she relinquishes all control and lets her Lair pour into the world, blowing down walls and flooding buildings. That’s when she floats on her back and happily watches the debris drift by.
This is a pretty good example of how even the nicest Beast is one bad day away from making 30 Heroes.

Namtaru ravagers don't 'destroy' so much as 'pollute'. Their horrors are pestilent monsters who poison the air and cover everything they pass in swarms and sludge. Their ruin is insidious because it can resurface long after people think they've repaired what was lost. They don't destroy a field, they salt the earth.


Amon finds fungus fascinating. He knows that certain types of fungus turn insects into zombie slaves, and other types can drive people from their houses in fear of their health. The fungus that grows in his Lair and that festers in the eyes and mouth of his Horror could overtake and reclaim a city in days if he ever let it out. He wouldn’t — he has friends who run as wolves, and they have to live here, too. He has a deal with them, though. If their enemies ever attempt to take territory, they’ll establish a spiritual quarantine zone and Amon will let his fungus spread.
No no no no no.
Fucking No.
That's not how Werewolves work. They wouldn't do that. No.
Also Cordyceps are terrifying.

Ugallu Ravagers drop from the sky like a smart bomb, flattening a structure before flying away. Their ruin is precise, and only destroy what they need to to feed. But when a more 'widespread' approach is necessary, they are an angel of death.


Diana is an assassin. She chooses her targets based on two factors. One is how much someone will pay to see the target die — Diana is a woman of expensive tastes, and her lifestyle requires money. The other is how many people will mourn (or celebrate!) her target’s death. A sufficiently high-profile target or an appropriately large deposit to her Cayman Islands account earns a single shot from her rifle. Unless, of course, she feels like a more hands-on approach that night.
Murder for Hire.
Beasts are Good People that teach lessons!

So what's different?
Everything under "The Lessons" parts, obviously.
Other than that? Well, some of the example Tyrants used to be even more petty than they already are.

Eshmaki Tyrant posted:

Reynold is a health inspector for the city. When his Soul hungers, he dons rubber gloves and tests everything. He quizzes employees, he looks for the slightest bit of mold or dirt, and he happily provides miles of appeals forms to the owner. He refuses bribes and dutifully reports any attempt. He isn’t after money, after all. He’s after the frustration and defeat in their eyes.

Namtaru Tyrant posted:

No one wants to get sent to the principal’s office, but especially not with Ms. Blaise there. Ms. Blaise is the assistant principal, but the real principal is just as scared of her as the kids. She has a pet scorpion in a tank on her desk. She always feeds it when she’s talking to a kid in trouble. Sometimes kids cry, sometimes they mumble apologies, but no one gets sent to Ms. Blaise twice. That’s actually a problem for Ms. Blaise — she needs kids to misbehave. She’s hungry, and so is her scorpion.
I'm sorry did I say petty? I meant secretly murderous.

The Namtaru collector was changed entirely, here's the old version.


Tim drives a truck for the county, picking up roadkill. He scrapes the dead animals off the sidewalk, drives them out to his house, and tosses them into a ravine. Sometimes he trudges down into the ravine and marvels at the process of decay, how the flesh gets soft and falls off and how the worms and flies do their work. He loves finding new and different species on the road — sure, he gets a lot of possums and squirrels and skunks, but finding a pet dog with the collar still on? That is a rare treat. Even rarer, and better, are those misty mornings when he finds a person on the road. Tim doesn’t hunt purely through chance, of course. He drives a truck. He can make roadkill just fine.
Holy shit, that's actually a creepy collector, not some guy who shits on paintings in faux latin.

Other than that only a few things were changed, some slight wordings here and there, but the essence of the text was left alone. Which is kind of terrible in it's own way.

Up Next: Flesh and Blood

Chapter 2: Waking Nightmares

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 2: Waking Nightmares
So, as usual for CofD, we open with some fiction. And, as usual for this book, it is horribly out of step with everything that has been written so far.


“The fuck are you looking at, dipshit?” Kyle snarled, standing up and walking up with his hands out in a macho pose he’d probably seen in a dozen tough-guy movies.

Ben stopped up short, hands hooked around his backpack straps, trying to hide the smile on his face, maybe even put on a little fear. That’s what they’d want to see, after all, and that just made what was coming even sweeter. There were three of them, Kyle and two of his admirers. You could usually catch them smoking at the edge of the parking lot before school. He’d heard they liked to come out here and sneak some booze, maybe blaze a little bit, but the thin boy with frightened eyes behind them told a different story.

Good. He’d been hoping for something worse than a little weed.

“Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know — you know what? Fuck it.” Ben normally drew out a feeding, savoring the indulgence, but the monster was growling loudly and he couldn’t be bothered. Instead he drew on the cold depths within and looked at the two boys behind Kyle with eyes that had seen what lived in the lightless dark. “Get the fuck out of here.”

All the color drained from the boys’ faces as they scrambled away from Ben, tripping over backpacks and nearly pitching headfirst off the loading dock in their haste to get away. Kyle looked around, disbelieving, as his “muscle” slammed the door shut behind them with such force the plexiglass panel rattled in the frame. “What the fuck —”

Ben grabbed hold of Kyle’s arm. The older boy threw a wild haymaker with his free hand. It bounced off Ben’s temple without so much as moving his head. Ben had a moment to savor Kyle’s confusion as it turned to panic before he squeezed the older boy’s wrist. Bone groaned under the pressure and Kyle shrieked, falling to his knees.

“This is what being an asshole gets you,” Ben said casually, still squeezing. His Horror savored the punishment, drinking it in, and for the first time in days Ben’s head cleared. He enjoyed it so much he forgot Kyle was still there until the boy began to blubber. Ben let go of his wrist like he was tossing a piece of garbage. “Now fuck off.”

Kyle yelped and scurried backward, clutching his wrist, where a bright crop of unusual bruises was already blooming. He looked at his bag and back at Ben, thought better of it and left it behind, hurrying after his friends.

“Holy shit,” the younger boy said when they were alone. He looked Ben over, eyes still frightened. “How did you do that?”

Ben shrugged. “People don’t fuck with you if you don’t let them.”

“Well, thanks.” The boy smiled weakly. “They were gonna fuck me up. Fourth time this month.” He pulled down the collar of his shirt to reveal yellowing traces of old bruises. “And all I did was scratch the big guy’s car by accident.”

“Oh really?” Ben felt his Horror stir. Maybe he could make another meal of Kyle sooner than he’d thought. He put his arm across the other boy’s shoulders, barely registering the flinch. “Tell me about it. Maybe there’s something I can do.”
So we have a nemesis who is seeking out a person, rather than a crime. This person is also apparently still in High School (Meaning his devouring either came super early or we're dealing with another case of 'oh yeah beasts are born fuck you') and is a stereotypical geek sticking it to big burly jocks and bullies. This is pure 100% adolescent revenge fantasy, and at least Werewolf tries to be subtle about it.

Tales of the Dark Mother: Tanya posted:

It was meant to be the other way around. She should have been the one chasing them, her shrieking laugh echoing off the sandstone walls of her Lair as they fumbled through the maze of twisting passages. She should have been tearing them apart, first from each-other, then bone from flesh and muscle from sinew in a long-awaited feast.

But one mistake, and now Tanya was the one running for her life. There were only six of them, one Hero and five of his lackeys, but they were armed and she had nothing but a perfect trap that they had just completely avoided. She had better eyes, but they had longer legs and far more practice running. They were gaining on her. A part of her yearned to just turn and sink her teeth into one of their throats, take him down with her in a blaze of glory and death. But her family was waiting back in the warehouse, and who knew what kind of trouble they’d get themselves into if she didn’t survive? Besides, it wasn’t just their flesh her Horror wanted. They needed to know what they’d done first. They needed to know that she knew who the real monsters were.

She made her feet beat faster down the wet pavement, forced aside her gnawing Hunger to focus on the escape. Left turn at the intersection, right turn to duck into the alleyways, then left again. The dark corners of the city could be a little like a maze, maybe like enough to call to her Lair? If she could just have a moment to breath, to figure out a plan. Another turn up ahead, maybe with a few more twists and turns she could slow them down.

Or maybe she’d find a dead end. It was too late to turn back by the time she saw the tall chain fence that blocked the way, slick with rain and sharp with barbed wire. The thud of her pursuers was close, and closer still with every moment. This was it, then. Dying cold, wet, and alone. No, not alone.

Beyond the fence, through darkness not even Tanya’s keen eyes could pierce, there was something waiting. Something fierce and ravenous, even by a Beast’s discerning standards. Something horrible. Tanya’s breath caught in her throat, but the fear that washed over her was familiar. The darkness was familiar too, cold and eternal just like it had been the night of her Devouring. Dangerous, yes, but not to her. Not tonight. Tanya let her mouth curl open in a sharp, predatory grin.

“That’s a dead end” the Hero said, still just out of sight. “We have her. One monster, six of us, this shouldn’t take long.” And then he and his followers turned the corner. What did they see behind that fence, she wondered? How did the Dark Mother show herself to those who weren’t her Children, if she showed herself at all? Whatever they saw, it was enough for the Hero’s lackeys found the better part of valor and turned to run. She’d catch them later, one by one, alone.

But first, food. Tanya licked her lips, and met the Hero’s wavering gaze. “Two of us and one of you, now. I’m going to make this last.”
So another fuckup beast is about to get their just reward but the Dark Mother personally intervenes so that the Beast can commence the torturemurder. Great.

"In the light of reason, humasn think they killed the monsters. The real ones, that is. The wolf needs their help just to survive. The only lions and tigers are in the zoos. Dinosaur bones are strung up like trophies in natural history museums. Secure in his fortress, Man tells himself he has nothing to fear." Clearly it's up to Beasts to fix this perception.

The Primordial Dream
Oh wait it's time for yet more fiction.


They lounge together, hands occasionally brushing. Once in a while, Patrick reaches up and strokes the back of Ahmed’s head, playing his fingers across recently buzzed hair. It’s easy for Jo to forget they’re monsters.

“I always dream of blood,” she says. Patrick smiles. Ahmed remains poker-faced, but he sits forward. “I mean, not always, but whenever the dream is….”

“Deep,” says Ahmed.

She nods. “Deep. Yeah. I dream of the smell. Not fresh blood, but old, rotted. Like meat. That’s the first thing that hits me. And then the dream is different every time. Once I dreamed that I was in this museum, with all these beautiful people — like model-beautiful, dressed up to the nines — all behind glass. And I was tiny, and weak, and they didn’t notice me, they just stood there.”

Patrick licks his lips. Somewhere, in a place-that-isn’t-a-place, a sea monster breaches the surface looking for food.

“And I walked up to one of them, and I realized she was dead. Dead, but still moving. She stared at me and smiled and she had fangs, and then I realized they all did.” Jo clears her throat. The dream shouldn’t affect her. It was years ago. “I woke up, and I called my friends and changed plans for the weekend. Stayed away from the new club. We never went.”

Ahmed cracks a smile. “You mean Verdant? Club with the big tree on the logo?” Jo nods. “Good call staying away.”

Jo pales a little. “Why?”

“Because the vampires really do run that place.” He reaches over to the cooler and pulls out a beer. “And you are just their type.”
So the two gay beasts who are super gay and we really want you to know that they're gay are talking to someone who may or may not also be a Beast, or is at least a deep dreamer, showing one of the major issues with using fear to teach lessons, it's really only useful in lessons of aversion.

Anyways, we finally get into some real text. The Primordial dream is, basically, a repository for the collective fears of humanity. As we started to grow as a species we began to recognize patterns. A shadow would elicit the fear response of a predator, but the shadow isn't actually dangerous, we don't fear the shadow. We fear the idea of the predator that it represents, which exists only in the Primordial Dream. Fear is basic and primal. Fear teaches simple understandable lessons, do this, don't do that. Parents use fear to keep their children in line: fear of punishment, fear of pain, fear of disapproval. The Primordial Dream harkens back to a time before we had language, when we taught each other what we needed to fear and those lessons were encoded in the dream as monsters.



Over time, the population increased and people came together in ever-larger communities. The human mind is equipped to recognize a finite number of other people — approximately 150-200. Anything past that number isn’t a “person.” This works well in a small group, but as the number of humans grew, people’s minds became overwhelmed by the number of unrecognizable beings around them. This led to a number of effects; xenophobia, paranoia, and increased tribalism among them. It also meant that the simple, uncomplicated language of the Primordial Dream was drowned out by the noise of billions of voices, all experiencing the fear of being surrounded by strangers. incredibly dismissive way to describe the very real problems of racism. "It's not our fault! If we would just retreat to a hunter gatherer society then everything would be fine because we'd kill everyone who was different due to reasons of resource competition rather than misplaced fear" Apparently there are still some people who "dream Deep" Though, and they have nightmares that still impart wisdom. Like that their boyfriend is abusive, or that they need to kick their drug habit, or that something else in their life is dangerous and must be excised. Because the primordial dream keeps us safe through fear.

Chambers and Horrors
Every time a human being is shaken to their very core (read: Loses integrity) their fear creates a reflection of the place they are in the primordial dream. When humanity was young, these chambers were few and far between, but now there are so very many, and the oldest ones are being pushed further and further out into the formless depths. Some chambers are so far removed from their origins that their features warp into something between an accurate memory and an imagined narrative. Eventually something from beyond the depths crawls in - a horror.

A Horror is a nightmare monster, a creature from the dreams of the terrified. Modern beasts theorize that every time a person dreams of monsters, that monster already exists somewhere in the deep dream. Others theorize that when a Deep Dreamer has a nightmare they make a Horror. In either case the horror drifts aimless through the dream until it finds a chamber that it finds habitable. It settles down and bonds with it, and the chamber becomes a Lair. Horrors, on their own, rarely touch the minds of human beings deeply enough to have a greater effect beyond a particularly intense nightmare. It might be a cause for discussion but it won't cause lasting harm. Only when Lairs are close to the waking world do the nightmares have the potential to cause harm, and that only happens when a horror joins with a Beast. To summarize, the primordial dream is still doing it's job sometimes, and parents and schools teach the more important lessons. Also horrors would be mostly harmless if Beasts didn't get it in their heads to try and do the primordial dream's job for it. Why are Beasts the good guys again?

Flesh & Blood


Charlotte sits in the back of class, hunched over a desk two sizes too small. The teacher explained to the class that she has a genetic disorder. She is taller than everyone, boys included, wearing ill-fitting clothes over limbs that seem grotesquely elongated.

The teacher’s words are hollow. People snicker behind her back.

Things are worse at home. Every afternoon, she returns to a ramshackle house with a father who belittles her. She cringes while he rants and raves and throws bottles at her. It doesn’t sting as much as it used to, but the words — the words still hurt.

“It’s your mother’s goddamn fault!” he screams, and she is not sure if he means her being a freak or being alive. To her, there’s no difference.

Every night she goes to bed bruised and brimming with hate. She has nothing to look forward to but doing it all again.
This.. shouldn't be here anymore. Even if beasts are born the entire point is that their human bodies don't reflect their primal souls.

"A Beast is an atavistic throwback. It is a human bein with the souls of a mythic monster, itself a manifestation of fundamental fears: of the unclean and the unknown, of the predator lurking in the shadows, and of forces beyond human reckoning." Beasts disagree on whether they're born or made but regardless they have an uncannily deep connection to the primordial dream. This connection makes them outsiders. One dreams of the deep ocean where they sleep in solitude far away from their peers. Another's eyes stray to a sky that is always out of reach. At night a third one runs on all fours through a darkened forest only to wake up again in the stifling human world. Sometimes they wake up with wisdom that seems obvious in hindsight, but everyone knows the story of Cassandra, so even when they're trying to help they're outcasts. Not all dreams lead to wisdom, however, sometimes they dream of themselves as the monster, and when they wake up in human skin they know that the lump of flesh is not her. She is a prisoner of her own skin and blood.

The time spent as a social pariah leaves lasting psychological scars. The dreamer has every reason to hate their tormentors, but does that make the human race their enemy? What about her family? That one teacher who spoke up for her? That boy next door who had a crush on her even though she was "weird?" They are family even if they aren't kin, which makes her a part of that community. But why can't they recognize it? Beasts are raised human, and even after the Devouring they hold onto that against all odds. They live on the razor's edge between hunger and humanity, because the alternative is to becoem exactly what the Hero believes them to be.

And now I'm going to editorialize a bit because, honestly, if they still have amazingly shitty childhoods due to their connections to the primordial dream and carry those prejudices with them to their devoured life then it doesn't fucking matter if Beasts are born Beasts or not. Because they're born potential Beasts, and potential Beasts suffer the exact same way that Born Beasts used to. It's still a revenge fantasy against bullies who picked on you for things outside of your control. It's just that enough words were changed so that it's not obvious on a shallow reading of the text. People just see "Beasts are not born" in the first chapter, decide that that's okay, and never read anything else. Now back to the review.



Rick is climbing. He does not know where he is or how he got here, but such is the way of dreams. The sun shines on his back, and he reaches up for the next handhold, smiling, happy, free. A good dream.

No. A shadow over the sun, just for a moment. This isn’t a good dream. This is the other dream, the dream where—He has no time to think before the talons hit home. He is plucked from the mountainside, hundreds of feet in the air, with burning, searing pain in his shoulder and leg where the great bird’s claws have pierced him. He twists to see the thing, to finally see it, but he cannot move. He hears the wings beating, but everything else is pain.

The claws move, pushing him forward. The beak — he can finally see the beak. It closes over his head, and he hears the SNAP as his neck breaks.

Darkness. Nothing. And then…the sun returns. He emerged from a cave. He’s standing on his own mountain, but it overlooks a vast forest, lush and green. But that isn’t right, he thinks. That forest should be burning and charred.

He does not think. He takes flight. He swoops low and spits fire into the trees, and then soars high, gazing down over the forest, the mountain, his Lair, his new home. He will never dream of being plucked from the mountain again. Others will dream of him.
There is no blood or DNA test that you can use to find a Beast, their difference is only within their soul, or lack there of. Beasts are ever defined by their recurring nightmares, they are the first victim of the horrors they will inflict upon others for the rest of time. Potential Beasts make come to several conclusions about their nightmares. Some see them as their subconscious trying to tell them something, albeit in a weird allegorical way. Some assume they are psychic. Very curious dreamers might seek out the supernatural thinking that their dreams make them worthy to join the ranks of the unseen. "They aren't wrong, as it happens", we should just replace beast's skull logo with the emoticon.

Anyways, eventually the Dark Mother finds them. And that first exposure shapes them forever.


Sometimes, the devouring just happens. The Horror ascends from the Primordial Dream, finds the dreamer, and consumes the thin veneer of humanity that was her soul. Sometimes, a Beast finds the dreamer, her horror drifting towards the dreams of a seemingly normal person who's nightmares extend deep into the Primordial Dream. The Beast might then choose to offer the Devouring the dreamer. Some Beasts couch the Devouring the form of an offer; become a Beast, or remain a dreamer. Some are less friendly about the choice, making it clear that if the dreamer refuses to join the Begotten, she can’t be allowed to live. Some don’t even bother making the offer, but progress directly to the Devouring. Very occasionally, the dreamer spots a Beast first and follows her, trying to make sense of the odd connection she feels, eventually realizing she is, in a sense, chasing herself.
In any case, though, the Beast isn’t losing her humanity, but gaining her true self. She experiences one final nightmare: The Devouring.
Uhhhhhhh, that paragraph has implications. Becoming a Beast is no longer a choice, it's something that can just happen. Which does put them more in line with the other Supernatural Creatures in the World of Darkness, but "Yeah I'm better than you because I'm both special and was chosen" is really really stupid.

The Final Nightmare
However it happens, the last thing the human dreamer sees is their own horror for the First Time.


The particulars of this process are the subject of much debate among Beasts. If the Beast’s Devouring is brought on by another of the Children, is the new Beast’s Horror chosen, in some way, by the Beast that does the Devouring? If that’s the case, it would make sense for a Makara to “spawn” other Makara, but that isn’t always what happens; a Makara might Devour a dreamer only for the dreamer to become an Anakim or an Eshmaki or a member of any other Family. Is the new Beast’s Horror — and therefore her Family and Hunger — random? That doesn’t seem to make sense, either, as new Beasts invariably feel that by becoming a Beast, they have not lost their humanity but gained something they were missing all along.

That feeling — the realization that the dreamer has, in some way, always been a Beast — isn’t universal, but is extremely common. The dreamer might never have had the language to describe it, but all her life, she felt different. With her soul cleared away and the Horror finally replacing it, she claims a birthright she never knew she had. For Beasts Devoured by other Beasts, they have a big sibling to welcome them to their new family. For Beasts who experience the Devouring spontaneously, the Devouring is more of a homecoming.
Fffffffuck you McFarland. It's been a long time since I've seen so much passive aggression directed at proving one's critics wrong.

Apparently there is a choice given after your soul is devoured where you must choose to accept the Horror, even if you're devoured against your will. But I assume that the 'No' response results in you dying forever.

The Mythic Self
Most horrors are ancient things, their origins lying in the earliest epochs of human history. Rarely, a beast inherits a strong Horror with a name and a history. They aren't just Ugallu, she is Ashalla, the Idiptu wind-fiend who unleashed hell on ancient Babylon. But not every Beast has a mythic antecedent. Old fears evolve and new ones are born. Somewhere there's a beast who's Horror was born in a SARS outbreak. Beasts are born out of Humanity and Humans have no end of reasons to fear.
Beasts can bring aspects of their lair into reality, imposing supernatural heat or darkness upon their surroundings. They can also call upon Atavisms to let the strength of their Horror loose in the waking world, any nearby supernatural creatures or humans with a psychic bent will catch a glimpse of their horror as the Atavism does its work. It's not all hunky-dory between the Horror and the Human, the Horror is a ravening Id, blunt and instinctual and filled with a desire to feed. Morality is irrelevant to the Horror, it doesn't just want to do the things it does, it must, so some Beasts try to put that Need to work teaching humanity.



The date isn’t going well. It’s going fine, which is the opposite of how Rick wanted it to go. Alessandro is completely Rick’s type — strong arms, blue eyes, thick hair — but he seems tentative. Rick can’t quite stop seeing him as…well, prey. They haven’t really found anything to talk about.

“What do you dream about?” Alessandro’s question is weird, but what the hell.

“Flying,” says Rick. “Mostly.”

“Like a bird?” Alessandro’s blue eyes are fixed on Rick, and Rick notices he isn’t blinking.

“Like a hawk.” Rick licks his lips.

“And you dive.”


“And then you catch—“

“Whatever I’m diving at. Yeah.”

They stare at each other for a minute longer. “I have that dream, too,” whispers Alessandro.
Good lord more Homosexual beasts? I have no problems with gay people but half the fiction we've run across so far in this chapter has been Gay Beasts talking about their shared dreams.

Each family embodies an iconic fear from the collective unconscious, with individual Beasts being variations on a theme. The firstborn were insatiable in their struggle to feed their hungers and they spread nightmares far and wide that spawned more of their kind. Thus the relationship between myth and monster is symbiotic. Humans believe naming something gives them power over it, but Beasts can use these names to become more concrete in the Dream, giving themselves more concrete form and identity.

During the devouring, a Beast is reborn into their new family. It is essential to their identity from the moment they embrace their Horror and Hunger. He feels the echoes of their nightmares and are compelled to seek them out. They are not just familiar, they are of the same flesh and essence. Family is more than just lineage, it's shared experience. Even before the Devouring a Beast's dreams color their perceptions and bleed over into their interactions with people around them. They swap stories about childhood dreams and their eyes light up with understanding.

They then spend two pages describing the Families again but they did that in the previous chapter in more detail, so I'll just skip ahead.

Beast Culture
Hoooooooo boy, this part is entirely new added even since the copy of the book released in December. See, the Begotten don't really have a world spanning society, but they do have certain societal mores that they try to impose on the others that they initiate into their society.

We Are All Family
Beasts are all related to the Dark Mother, even if only symbolically. So they consider it a responsibility to take care of one another. Sometimes that means tough love, as a Beast who won't curb their impulses attracts attention from Heroes or their extended family, and that endngers all of the Beasts. For the most part, though, Beasts are expected to try and figure out why one of their siblings is out of control before taking violent or punitive action.

We Are Allowed To Be What We Are
Beasts are monsters, they can't not be. They must be allowed to hunt, feed, and even kill. Beasts debate over how monstrous they're allowed to be before intevention is appropriate, and some of that debate involves the specifics of the region, what kind of extended family is around and what their priorities are, what Hero activity has been like, and who the Apex is.

Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat
Beasts must be more than just their Horrors. A Horror only wants to sate it's Hunger, but a Beast isn't just that Hunger. A Beast can use her hunger to teach the world, to bring it wisdom (not knowlege). Beasts expect their siblings to do so, to bring some kind of lesson with them when they choose their victims. Feeding for survival, of course, is different. If the options are "Feed without teaching" or "Starve" no one would begrudge a little mayhem. At the same time, Beasts encourage eachother to consider how their feeding affects the world, after all they have to be better than the Heroes make them out to be.

These are literally Geek Social Fallacies, we can't ostracise anyone because we're family, we can only do so if they're making the rest of us look bad. The idea that "outsiders" need to band together against the oppression of the popular kids and that we can't make any judgements about them because obviously we're just as bad and... yeah. Beast culture exists to reinforce itself and nothing else.

The Brood
Beasts feel the need for companionship very keenly. The Devouring opens the door to a new family, one that understand them intimately and accept them for what they are, no questions asked (Cough geeksocialfallacies cough) and will stand by them when Heroes come asking for blood. Beasts can sense each other in the primordial dream, and they will eventually find eachother there if they're in the same general are. This is how new Beasts are found and brought into the fold.

The brood is the only real form of Beast Social construction and the only one that really matters. The main difference is that they can comprise non-beast entities as well, Vampires and Werewolves, etc. Beasts are a clannish lot, they help their kin when possible (and convenient) but they will do anything to help their Brood.

The Hive
Once they're in a brood, a beast's lair will knit itself together with the other lairs into a shared hunting ground. Using the shared Lair they can communicate in dreams regardless of real world distance, though they abhor traveling apart from their Brood for any reasons, it just feels wrong. Furthermore a Beast can draw strength from locations resonant with his broodmates, and learn their Nightmares and Atavisms.

The bond does come with risks, however, if a Beast lets his horror starve and run rampant it will travel through the entire shared Lair. And if a Hero hunts them down such a confrontation can only end in the shared Lair. Hunger is no longer an individual concern in a Brood. Thus individual Beasts can choose to wall themselves off from the hive. It's usually a safe thing to do, but if you have a small lair then your hungry Horror will predate the same places over and over again, making it that much easier for a Hero to find you.

The Apex
Population centers spawn a large number of Chambers, and they remain unconnected unless a Beast chooses to bind them into their Lair. That doesn't mean that they're all different, they all share some similarity, an aspect granted tot hem by the supernatural figure that looms largest in the area's Primordial Dream. The Apex.

A creature can be an Apex without even really realizing it's influence on the Dream, though they must have regular, direct contact with humanity. A vampire who has his meals delivered wouldn't be the Apex regardless of how powerful he is. But a werewolf who leads his pack on regular hunts through the cities streets might have spawned enough nightmares and chambers to turn the local dream into a darkened steel forest. Beasts are slightly more likely to become the Apex just because they directly interact with humanity and their dreams, but it varies based on the city in question.

An Apex Beast isn't necessarily a leader, and might not take any interest at all in the other Beasts of the region, focusing only on their own goals, lesson or Legend. She might also set themselves up as a Dictator, using their power int he Dream to enter other Beast's Lairs and subjugate their Horrors, torture their family, or force them to use their Legends to serve them. Beasts as a whole have an odd relationship with such Cruel Apexes. They still feel the pain and humiliation, but they're also bound by their own social fallacies principles. They won't blindly obey the Apex (Since the Apex has no authority that they can't defend) but a patient and careful Apex can dominate the Primordial dream of an area for Decades, bringing multiple broods to heel.

Extended Family


The dead girl is a good listener. She scribbles in her book, swiping absentmindedly at her hair, and lets John spill his guts. She never touches her coffee.

She looks up when he finishes. His knuckles are white on the table. He forces himself to relax, his talons digging into the Formica surface. He takes his own coffee with what looks like a human hand.

“You don’t believe me, do you?”

“I believe everything.” Alice gives him a crooked smile, showing the edges of sharp teeth. She covers it as the waitress passes. “I want to help you. Believe me, I know the importance of family. But you have to do something for me first.”


“More.” She taps her pen on the paper. “I need more. I need everything.”
Beasts are not just kin to eachother, they are also Kin to the other supernatural creatures of the world. Their instinctive search for kin might find a coterie of Gangrel, or a pack of Werewolves instead. And they probably have some explaining to do to their new 'family'.

Some Beasts feel that other supernatural beings, like Beasts, share an intrinsic connection to the Primordial Dream, but chose somewhere along the way to solidify that connection. A vampire is a highly specific type of nightmare (one of a corpse brought to life by blood and burned by the sun). A werewolf is a human who changes shape into a predator with silver anathema. Their own cultural beliefs are not invalid (Father wolf exists, changeling did escape captivity) but those events stemmed from the Primordial dream (somehow).

Other beasts think that that explanation is full of shit, even though it makes Beasts into the "Big Brother" of the entire supernatural milieu. There isn't a shred of evidence backing it up in any way. These are the Beasts who tend to get along best with the other supernaturals, that way there's no fighting over Who's interpretation of the Dark Mother and Father Wolf is correct.

The truth of the matter is that Beasts have a connection to the supernatural but not specifically supernatural beings. The horrors that they inflict on the dream are reflected in the Beast, and that is where the kinship comes from. And that kinship cannot be denied, Beasts are familiar, and Beasts can feed when their kin feed. But while every werewolf is a werewolf "every Beast is Unique".

Vampires aren't really big fans of the way Beasts bring their hunger into direct focus. But both sides understand the need to feed and can bond over that. Relationships between the two are still fraught with tension, though, especially if Beasts compete with vampires for prey and influence. Vampires are also prone to treachery, which makes them problematic as allies.

I love that the Vampire of all people is going "The fuck is wrong with these people?"

The Wolf Must Hunt. They are a walking embodiment of the Hunger for Prey, and are blood brothers to beasts with similar appetites. Right down to competition over who's the better predator. Pack Loyalty more than makes up for any conflict if they can be won as friends. Moreover, Uratha have a natural affinity for the Primordial Pathways, which are not too different than the Shadow.

The werewolves rightly think Beast's are fucking crazy, got it.

Mages are more human than other kin, but they still have a hunger. For secrets, for knowledge, for power. Collectors understand this hunger, as they want to keep secrets so that they keep their power. A relationship between a Mage and a Collector is a cautious, protracted (and maybe flirtatious) game of cat and mouse as they decide how much to reveal to each other. "Since Beasts often find themselves involved in the deeper mysteries of the Chronicles of Darkness, though, they have enticing bait with which to lure a mage."

"Spiritual Genetics" Sure.

The Created are a puzzle. Their Disquiet causes nightmares similar to a ravening Beast's Horror, and their Refinements are draped in Mythic Symbolism. However they were created by human demiurges, and a Promethean's ultimate goal is to be Normal, which is in many ways the exact opposite of a Beast. They let Beasts accompany them on their Pilgrimages, but the Created are Rare and disappear without a trace once their time is over, making it difficult to learn more about them.

I'm not too well read on Promethean but.. I'm pretty sure that this would never happen.

"The Lost are Beasts as far as the Children are concerned." which is among the several insults Beast will levy at that gameline. Since they walk in dreams and were transformed by some otherworldly entity. Attitudes about the "Fair Folk" vary, on the one hand they can understand their need to sate their hungers, but they're also beyond humanity and beyond dreams, which make Beasts Nervous.


Death is the root of all Fear, and has unmatched potential in the human Psyche. The Primordial Pathways touch the underworld as much as any other realm, and Beasts suspect that Geists are Horrors from a different realm. Perhaps the remnants of a long dead Family clawing back to life.

I know even less about Sin-Eaters than I do about Promethean.

Their existence is mysterious! They cause a Sickness that resembles the nightmares of a rampant horror! Beasts think that they too are children who were bound to their current form by Human Sorcery. They're compelled by instinctual urges but the Arisen's are externally imposed by Duat.

Oh shut the fuck up.

The Unchained are extraordinarily secretive and hold the Children in contempt. Encounters between the two terminate in violence and vicious rivalry. Particularly if the Beast manages to see through the Demon's facade since that exposes them to the scrutiny of the God Machine. Whatever they are, they are not kin.

Yay! Demons are the new Good Guys! Please tell us how to kill Beasts, repeatedly, forever.

We're about halfway done with this chapter and butting up against the character limit. Also I'm kind of tired of writing about the various ways in which McFarland wrote his way around the requirements placed upon him.

Next Time: Feeding, Lessons, and Heroes

Chapter 2 Part 2: Food, Incarnation, and Heroes

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 2 Part 2: Food, Incarnation, and Heroes

Roughly halfway through the chapter we have this big text dump.

Which is the another bit of "Beasts are actually lying to themselves" story but it doesn't seem like enough in the light of Heroes still being portrayed as unredeemable and universally wrong, and becoming a Beast being this weird combination of a choice, birthright, and affliction.

Food & Drink


Everyone’s been hungry.
Beasts are hungrier.
Hoard, Power, Prey, Punishment, Ruin: such simple words for such monstrous needs. Hunger is a word that suggests eating, but the Hunger of a Beast isn’t so base as appetite. Hunger is the stuff of legends. It inspires epics of the wars fought against it, of the empires it breaks, and of the people who die at its feet. When a Beast hungers, humanity does not sit idle.
This is the smuggest crap.
Mother's Milk


The Dark Mother hungered, too. Hunger was her greatest gift to her Children, a mythic drive to explore her world and carve out a piece of it. She left no true record of what her Hunger was, of course, but she left many legends.
Though this is a strong competition for the title of "smuggest crap".

Beasts "Honor" the mother by feeding but they also force their hunger to have nuance. Beasts say that the world has grown "too loud" for them to hear the wisdom of the primordial dream, so they should teach through their feeding. Beasts "feed" in one of two situations, when their victim(and they do use victim) realizes that it's over and let out that sigh of relief that comes with the morning light, the "Catharsis"... or when they die. The Horror doesn't care about teaching lessons, it just wants to feed in the most brutal efficient way possible and that's by killing things. Beasts don't "shame" eachother for feeding their Horrors. Since the occasional indulgence is liberating, but without moderation they either fall into slumber or attract Heroes. And if they're overt enough then their kin might just run them out of town.



The audience is unwilling, but the choice is out of their hands.
Five-foot-two, bespectacled, and groomed within an inch of his life, Sin-you is a clashing color on the palette of the 24-hour greasy spoon. His eyes are posing questions no one wants answered.

What does he know?

Did he see me do it?

A trucker lumbers out of his booth and settles up. Sin-you knows what comes next. He smelled it in the man’s dime-store deodorant, and he sees it in the exact change he counts out over the cash register. Not a nickel over the bill. The hostess forces a smile as she drops a receipt like a piece of garbage.

Sin-you’s smile stretches like a stab wound.

Miles away, the trucker’s mind is wandering up the interstate. The waitress he pinched. The waiter he called a faggot. The call girl with the bloody lip. They’re crawling over the walls of his cabin, tearing out soft pieces of his body and screaming obscenities he can’t hear but understands in the pit of his belly. He pulls his rig onto a side road before it slams into a concrete barrier.

“Guilty,” whispers Sin-you. It’s the most obvious thing in the world. An ivory spike, notched like a horn, drags down the trucker’s cheek, and Sin-you gorges on judgment. The trucker isn’t sure if he’s still dreaming, but his heart is beating so fast he can barely breathe. He doesn’t see Sin-You. No one ever does. He remembers, though.

He remembers how he treated the people he met on the road. Maybe next time he’ll remember they are travelers, just like him.

Sin-You slips out of the back of the truck and waits for his broodmate to arrive.
We've arrived folks, the Beast who punishes bad tippers.

Of course the game isn't done, it's time to wax about hunger in a way that borders on the sexual. "Hunger is pleasure. Anticipation is primal, an emotion that was branded into brains before brains learned to make thoughts. It’s the flood of endorphins as the fork passes the lips. It’s the relish of grilling filet mignon so rare it bleeds blue. It’s the thrill of stalking a wounded deer and its stuttering trail through the woods." So what I'm getting here is that Capital-H Hunger is to hunger as a Werewolf's Rage is to Anger.


Whatever call the Dark Mother heeded, Beasts hear its echo. Hidden deep in every instinct, she whispers, chiding her Children to grow up just like her. That whisper is the reason a Beast gets up in the morning, or carries on when her brood is slain and an ax-happy Hero prepares his coup de grâce. Only a Beast gets to decide when she’s cut off. For every hurt, for every disappointment, for every loved one who walks away, she remembers her Hunger — that which fed her when the world was fallow.

Living with Hunger is dangerous, yes, but a dragon’s gold is never a burden. The Hero might call it profane, but in his heart of hearts, he envies its glory. He’d be lucky to have such a light to guide his way. Instead, he’s left with the solipsism of vendetta; Hunger is a lodestar, not an addiction as the Heroes claim. As if a Beast could detox off instinct. Grendel wars on Heorot because killing Danes is the only way he keeps his sanity stapled together. He savors the blood spattering on his skin, and the bones crumbling in his fists, but that’s all empty calories. Hunger drowns out doubt. If it didn’t, he’d throw himself on their spears.

What book am I reading again? What happened to teaching lessons? This sounds like Old Beast, the whole "Fuck You Got Mine" incarnate mindset and utter moral superiority over Heroes, combined with revenge fantasy.

When a beast is well fed, their Horror grows content and slothful, allowing the Beast to steal away some of it's power to make Nightmares. And... I'm just going to quote the next few paragraphs cause this stuff is horrific.


A sated Beast knows how to break out her prey’s best terrors. She knows how her victim obsesses over his looks, as well as his nagging suspicion that if they fade, he will too. She knows all about his dreams of limbs melting like wax and of a fast, anonymous decay into old age. She knows how to make fear fact. Now, whenever a chill hits the air, his bones ache and his hands tremble; whenever he looks in his mirror, he sees what he’ll become.

A sated Beast can tear away mental blocks. Drugs, therapy, and money went into repressing his hit-and-run, but the Beast makes sure her victim still dreams of the homeless woman he killed, dying as her blood leaks memories into shattered glass. The slurs of pedestrians. The agonies of withdrawal. He sees her in every beggar downtown and in his own shadow as he turns out the lights.

A sated Beast takes the pain that threw her victim’s life into a spiral of self-hatred and sorrow and says I can do better. She tortures the world until it feeds her again.

Yeah, forcing people to relive childhood horrors, succumb to their addictions, and relive their worst pains over and over again so that they can squeeze that last bit of blood out of the stone.

How are these guys supposed to be "the good guys" again?

That said, a full Horror is exacting, no mere gold coin will suit them, they need bullion stolen from fort knox, there is no need for temperance when gluttony is a virtue. But if they push themselves too far, if they fill up completely, then the Horror falls into a complete slumber, leaving the Beast as weak and normal as any human can be. And his enemies are probably quite angry at whatever hellish fuckery they unleashed that manged to top them off.



A man snores beneath the cracked lights of a bus shelter. Through winter rain, the ticking of his Rolex synchs with Ana’s heart. She needs that watch more than anything she’s ever needed.

She thought she could get by on scraps. The cops are watching all her haunts: the subway, the tourist traps, even the fucking library. She hasn’t had a real meal in weeks, and the night her neighbors woke up screaming about deep, dark oceans, she knew cold turkey wouldn’t work.

Watch-guy’s not going to be sleeping on that bench tomorrow. He’s not going to be there in five minutes. That’s the message Ana’s Horror is thrashing into her on typhoons of stomach acid. Her bones chill as if it’s dragging her back to the sea, but really, it’s just dragging her to him.

She finds her hand on his wrist before she can think the desire to put it there. Her goose bumps brush against his as she hesitates.

He wakes.

Not just from sleep, but from the polite fiction that Ana is anything but a monster. He grabs a handful of hair and slams her into the bench. The rain twists around him, robbing him of balance. He tries to club her head with his briefcase, but she swings her leg further than a human knee allows, smashing him through the shelter’s cheap glass.

Her goose bumps grip his skin like suckers as she crushes his chest and rips the watch from his arm.

Somewhere in the space between the rain, the ticking, and Ana’s heart, her Horror roars.

This is another reason I hate the "Beasts are the good guys" narrative, if they go hungry for too long people start dying. And if a Beast isn't smart, if they leave too much evidence of their passing, leave too many broken people and bodies then they'll attract the police. They'll need to lie low, the hunger will come and it will burn.

As a Horror gets hungry it starts paying closer attention to what the Beast is doing, Atavisms get stronger as the Horror rubs closer to the skin, offering power in exchange for promised meals. But the Horror hates being hungry, if it isn't sated then it will start trying to do it on it's own. Roaming the Primordial Dream and feeding on it's own in nightmares.


Reward comes with risk, however. If a Beast expends her reserves or goes without a meal too long, her Horror goes feral. It has no logic to understand poor feeding prospects, nor the motives that might put its Beast on a diet. It has needs that outweigh consequence. It shatters the confines of the Lair and hunts through human nightmares. Like any predator, it revisits the same hunting grounds over and over again. A single nightmare feeding leaves a person bleary and edgy the next morning, but one a night for a week makes the victim sick, depressed, and spiritually weakened. Worse yet, so much activity in the Primordial Dream attracts Heroes.
Yes the worst part of that exchange is that it will summon Heroes. Shut the fuck up.

I'd apologize for all the giant quote blocks but this half of the chapter is particularly quotable, both in the sheer amount of on display, and the fact that there's giant piles of fiction interspersed in the last 10 pages. Particularly now because the book decides to provide us five examples of how beasts get hungry! Why? BECAUSE FUCK ME! I'll only torture you with three of them.


Luka’s a Predator, the kind who uses every part, from skin to sinew. Zie thinks other carnivores are the best prey, and being hunted in return gives hir a special sort of thrill. Normally zie’d describe hirself as a conservationist, but sometimes the bleeding hearts go too far. The new laws mean a lot more rangers snooping around the woods looking for poachers. If they catch hir with a bloody bowie knife and a bear carcass, zie’ll have to answer uncomfortable questions. Luka’s Horror is hunting on its own now, and it’s acquiring brand new tastes. Ugly ones.
Oh.. So apparently there was another genderqueer character. And not a flattering one. Also "You're a horrible torture murderer but can you deal with the horrors of bureaucracy before you're forced to murder something you didn't want to murder?" sounds like a fucking parody.


They say that internal affairs is for slimeballs, and that describes Hollis well. He’s always had a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as an unerring eye able to exploit that quality for his own edification. Woe to the cop who comes across his desk, because whether or not she’s right, she’ll always be wrong. Playing that game can be delicate, though, and now he’s faltered. He’s been suspended for all kinds of violations (if only they knew), and the review board’s going to throw the book at him. Starving outside his red tape empire, it’s time for Hollis to make good on his rolodex of spite. Time to show these cops what justice really is.
So a Noir hero that also secretly supernaturally feeds by slandering good cops? I love how all the beast characters so far have either been completely unredeemable shitbags, or compelling characters somehow made worse by making them Beasts.


He has always needed to burn. As a kid, Levin played with matches and brought fiery doom on ant hills, so when the salamander in his dreams turned out to be him, everything clicked. Now the local news calls him the Eastside Pyro. Despite the disappointing nickname, his Legend grows in the warmth of the media’s attention. Or rather, it did. The concrete walls of the county jail make poor kindling. Now his Horror’s torching every dream it can, and rumor has it that his fellow inmates plan on snuffing out his light for good.
"Don't you see I wasn't a pyromaniac I was actually serving a purpose and now you've ruined everything noooo..."

If You Are Lukewarm
So why doesn't a beast just sit at middle Satiety? Because the Horror gets bored. No seriously. It wants to either be angry cause it's hungry, or happy cause it's almost asleep, it doesn't like to be in the middle. This bored contentment also leaves a Beast open to Anathema, because it's not paying close attention. A hero can come in and take control over the narrative and force the Beast to act as he expects him to.


I don't want to do this anymore.

The primordial dream teaches a very simple lesson, Survival. Fear of the unknown is what kept early humans alive. Fear doesn't grant knowledge though, it grants WISDOM. Pain and Terror show a person that they do not want to experience something again. There's a fine line to be drawn between negative reinforcement (Teaching a behavior by associating it with the stopping of something unpleasant) and punishment(Teaching to avoid a behavior by following it with something unpleasant) but beasts aren't Psychologists and they don't like to split hairs. The primordial dream isn't a psychologist either because now you're covered in spiders WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! LEARN THE WISDOM!


The modern world’s relationship with fear has become strange and muddled. People fear occurrences that have virtually no chance of ever actually happening, while ignoring the dangers right in front of them. The sheer number of people alive at any given time means that a sea of strangers surrounds an average human being, resulting in generalized anxiety about the world and the people in it. Meanwhile, the visceral, blood-and-bones wisdom of the Primordial Dream has to be filtered through so much noise that it has the wrong effect. People fear each other but ignore supernatural danger. They fear terrorism but rationalize hatred. They fear a disease that will almost certainly never touch them but disbelieve the slow death of their planet.
...yeah no sorry you don't get to be preachy at this point, Beast: The Primordial. You've spent all your goodwill capita with me around the cabbie who drops people off in the bad part of town then locks the doors.

Now Beasts don't need to teach lessons, and they can't require it from others. How could they, who would police that and how? Instead they do what family does, nag them until they succumb to the cultural expectations of the group. Beasts are helicopter parents.
And then they follow that up with this sidebar.

Choosing a Lesson
Beasts sometimes speak of instinctively knowing the lesson that they "must" teach after coming out of their Devouring, but the book flatly admits that the lessons Beasts want to teach probably come out of their own prejudices and no small amount of revenge. Also some Hungers and Families are better suited to teaching certain lessons than others.

Example Lessons
Not every lesson is benign or even helpful. Some Beasts take "Teaching Them A Lesson" in the colloquial 'beat the living shit out of them' sense. But others take their jobs as seriously as being a dream-torturer can be taken.

And they give about two pages of example lessons here, I'm just going to quote the more choice ones wholesale.


Humility: A common lesson of Anakim, Tyrants, and Ravagers, humility shows the victim that some things are simply beyond his control. The victim might be a very powerful, rich person, or just someone who tries to exert control over others in his life. The Beast might display this lesson by destroying something important to the victim, physically or social dominating him, or simply showing him a nightmare vista in which he is a subjugated, whipped slave.
That has some connotations there... it also doesn't seem very helpful to teach the lesson.


Acceptance: Acceptance is an especially harsh lesson. Predators, Ravagers, and Namtaru are its most common proponents. For a victim to learn this lesson, he must be brought low, losing friends, family, home, shelter, even himself. A beneficent Beast teaching this lesson (if such a thing exists) does it in a dream, where loss and death evaporate with sunrise. Beasts find this lesson an especially difficult one to teach, though; people don’t give up easily and they instinctively rail against horror and injustice. The lesson that “this is just how things are” is rarely one that they appreciate.
Demon run dream support groups? This is just depressing.


Passion: One of the effects of the modern world is that people have instant access to beauty, art, humor, and whatever else they might wish to experience. Feeling becomes difficult as people become jaded. Even people who work to better others suffer from dulled emotions; stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout numb the better angels of our natures. The Begotten have a good fix for that: mortal terror. The pure, elemental nature of fear stirs the heart and the mind. Collectors teach this lesson by stripping away items of comfort, while Ravagers do so by calling down fire and wind to change a person’s perspective. The Makara, adept at stirring the emotions of humanity, also favor the lesson of passion.
So... we're playing Changeling now? A very violent game of Changeling?


Tradition: Traditions become traditions for a reason. People tell stories as cautionary tales, but also as reminders and out of reverence. Then again, traditions can also outlive their usefulness. Years after a practice is no longer relevant, people stick to it because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” The lesson of tradition can therefore be either to uphold or reject the old ways, depending on the proclivities of the Beast in question. Makara, Tyrants, and, of course, Nemeses favor this lesson, whether to support or subvert.
...I.. have issues with this. Particularly since this doesn't seem much like a lesson and more like "Beasts use fear to shape the world around them and then convince themselves that they're teaching lessons". Like there's a Beast who really hates religion, so they use their powers to scare people away from the church and from faith. As far as they're concerned they're teaching lessons, and from their point of view they're helping. But that seems like a really shitty thing to do. Also not a very compelling character.

Delving in Darkness
Some Beasts occasionally dabble in more Esoteric pursuits. The World of the Chronicles of Darkness is riddled with Occult lore, most of which have at least some vein of truth to them. So many creatures in the world, both supernatural and not, create chambers in the Dream, and few if any have the capability to do anything with them. A Beast who learns of such things can expand their lair through little personal effort capitalizing on the suffering of others.

And if you're saying "This sounds a little harsh" then you're right, because this section was mostly left unaltered from the KS Draft.

Beasts search out places in the world that resonate with the metaphysics of their Lair and pull impressions of those places out of the material to expand them. Failing that they force the issue, finding an unfortunate victim and pushing them to the brink of sanity to create enough of a psychic impression to make a nightmare. "Every place and broken person is another candle burning off fog in the Primordial Dream." Yikes.


The Collector poaches devil birds, whose calls portend death for those unfortunate enough to hear them. She keeps her pets in a special habitat and offers admission for a small fee. With each new nest in her collection and every new guest, her hunting grounds grow outward in a storm of shrieking.
That's not too bad, just a little bit weird and


The Nemesis has a riddle. She offers it to whomever she meets, but never the same way twice. Never the same tense, never the same words, never even the same punctuation, and never adding up to anything. Her unsolvable puzzle plagues countless sages and philosophers. For each life it envelops, she finds new ways to twist her Lair into a labyrinth of dead ends.
What? No that's actively destructive and I don't think


The Predator explores the back alleys of Skid Row, patronizing godforsaken drug dens or any other places where time slows and the world falls away. Her Lair is a sea of illusions set against an endless city, drawing prey in with the promise of fantasy and vice. She stalks them, hiding behind fever dream walls, and strikes them down with fears wrought large.
No game! Pull up! Pull up!


Pompeii, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima. These are the Ravager’s fantasy getaways: anywhere the restless dead are anchored by disaster. The Ravager’s not interested in helping them, though. He wants to revel in mass destruction, to make his Lair an instrument of entropy. No better way to learn of death than from those who can’t escape it.
What the fucking hell?! There's one more paragraph about a Tyrant who created a torture cult and feeds off of their worship and expands their lair every time a new cell starts up but we can leave that be for now. Because now there's a character who actively exploits the restless dead of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. I don't think we've actually seen a positive character yet in the game but I think this is amongst the most tasteless. It's also a giant tonal swerve from "Beasts teach lessons to stave off their own perceptions of their monstrosity." and we'll be swerving right back in less than a page.

Sometimes entire Broods get into the secret finding business.. and now it's time to just get.. even weirder. Because I have no idea what these are going for.


The Corporation: When a secret is unearthed, it becomes a commodity, and Beasts often form cartels to capitalize on their pools of lore. The Predators in one brood study the bizarre agendas of shadow owls, trading insider information with paranoid vampires. Ravagers in another group study the effects of hauntings on dreams, and trade their results to Sin-Eaters in exchange for unique services.
"Oh right, we need to give the other splats a reason to interact with Beasts."


The Detective Agency: Occult mysteries attract Beasts like moths to flames, but these broods take that pull and give it structure. Each member brings a special skill: occult forensics, parapsychological profiling, or just plain blood-spatter analysis. Investigatory broods often run into cabals of mages with similar agendas. At best, the two groups share resources and collaborate. At worst, it’s akin to a loner P.I. running afoul of city hall.
We've got the Beasty Doo Detective Agency less than 500 words away from "I make the ghost of Hiroshima tell me what it was like to die."


The Institution: Sometimes broods settle down. They find a mystery to their liking and milk it for all it’s worth. Perhaps rooms at the old asylum randomly open into the Primordial Dream, or a cabin out in the woods saps the essence of supernatural creatures. These mysterious places can be sources of power for years, and the broods that guard them will do so with their lives.
I'd like to add now that the book never really gives hard and fast rules for long term feeding like this. Or the fact that "Secrets" Don't really fit the hunger theme for anyone except Collectors. What's the Anakim Tyrant doing for food while everyone else is exploring the spooky mansion?


The Mystery Religion: The Begotten are scions of a primal goddess. Their divine heritage can bloom into a full-fledged religion, or at least cults. These broods task their adherents with sacred quests, either to help them better understand the Dark Mother’s world or to see if religious fervor can better regulate the needs of Hunger.
And yeah like I said this stuff is completely unaltered from the KS Copy so there's no mention or even lipservice spent tending to the "Teaching of Lessons". But I'm sure somewhere out there there's a Beast who's really angry that everyone else is making him look bad.

Family Secrets
Here we get some more Crossover information. And ideas for how to interact with other splats. Most of them are... not really in keeping with the game's themes anymore. I'll only quote a few.


The vampire spreads madness. Shunned by mortals and Kindred alike, she’s going to fall into a deep slumber if she keeps going hungry. Asklepian wants to help and offers her shelter for service. The little starving vampire can crack sanity with her bite the way he crushes ribcages with his coils, and every brain she breaks for him becomes a ward in the madhouse of his Lair.
...The guy running a literal nightmare sanitarium is named Asklepian? And he's teamed up with what sounds like a literal monster of a Vampire? Great.


Changelings live and breathe fate, just as the Norn does. In exchange for her help in hiding from their mad gods, they re-craft her Hero’s destiny. With his Legend untwined from hers, the fae show her new and subtle ways to flip narratives in her favor.
"Hey you know the defining narrative of your gameline? That's dumb."


Mr. Void steals the Hero’s soul. Wendigo doesn’t mind, though. He likes to watch skins change hands. He can learn so much as the demon’s mask crumbles with his new, despicable obligations, and even more when tungsten angels come to drag him back into service.
"Ha ha fuck you Demon."
Myth & Legend
The Book now touches on the Astral Realms. For some reason. The Oneiros is the realm of an individual soul. When a beast gives a person nightmares their Horror lurks in their Oneiros for a short time. The Temenos is the collective soul of mankind, containing a copy of every story, god, and idea that has ever passed between two people. The Anima Mundi is the soul of the universe. Why this is here in a game where we already have the Primordial Dream?

Here be Monsters


She is born in blood again and again. The dream used to scare her; now she looks forward to it. The waking world is unreal. Only this forest matters.

The autumn chill whips over black fur. The wine-scent of rotting vegetation fills the air as she hurtles through the night after her prey. There, at last! It is her. Still a child trying to flee the monster, her feet slip-sliding on a ground cloaked in leaves.

She feels nothing for her younger self, neither rage nor pity. She feels nothing whatsoever until she pounces — effortlessly — and bears the child to the ground. Little bones snap like twigs. Flesh is rent to bone. She kills, she dies, and is reborn.

She wants this to continue forever.
Because apparently the Primordial Dream lies between the Temenos and the Anima Mundi. There's honestly a lot of text here that's can mostly be inferred or has been spoken clearly earlier. A Lair is sort of like an Oneiros, it starts small but it grows by adding chambers. Chambers within a lair (either a single beasts or a brood hive) connect with burrows, sturdy burrows that are part of the lair and share it's traits. Chambers under an Apex are connected with Primordial Pathways, weaker connections but still something a Horror can trod if they get hungry.

The larger a Lair the more influence a Beast can have on humanity's collective psyche. The more areas fall under their sway and are subject to their nightmare, which is why Beasts are more likely to become an area's Apex. They're actively working in the realm in which the Apex is determined. "That's also why the Hero must ultimately pursue the Beast to her Lair. Where else can you kill fear itself?" Well, i mean, if you're killing the horror yeah, Beasts can die in the real world pretty easily.

If a Lair is destroyed, however, the Horror is forced to flee into the Beast, causing something far more monstrous.

Nightmares & Dreamscapes
When beasts are hungry their horrors run amok. If they address the issue quickly then a few visits from the Horror aren't going to cause lasting damage. If they don't then the people near them are going to start recognizing the Beast as the "Other", the thing at the edge of the firelight stalking them in their dreams. It's this instinctive revulsion that helps the Hero track down their target.

Inherit the Earth
Inheritance is the only "End Game" that beast has, if you win or you lose, Inheritance is how you go out.


Imani stands before a cave. Nothing here is beautiful, but even the rot infecting the rocks — the fungus and the beetles and the corpses — even the rot is saying, “Welcome home, Imani.” But the trees that frame the entrance are begging Imani to STAY OUT because they know she’ll never leave, she’ll never come out again, because the oaks look like mom and dad and they love Imani, but she goes in anyway because it’s the only thing she’s ever needed in her life and she doesn’t need mom and dad or a LIFE when the walls collapse and the moss tries to touch her and choke her and STOP HER but she pulls back she chokes the moss she chokes the cave and SMASHES the rocks into dust because she knows that this is how she WINS this is how the world ends not with a bang but with HER and she can hear a voice it’s calling out it says her name again and again and AGAIN and she is in a room.

She stands before a giant. Imani’s flesh is its food, and her blood is its drink. There’s nothing to hide that now.

The giant crawls from the ruins of the cave. She smashes the trees and whittles them into clubs.
Sometimes a Beast looks at their life, at the constant razors edge of Hunger and Humanity, at the game of cat and mouse with Heroes, and says "Fuck this noise." They cast aside their humanity and become that which Heroes say they are. "Mythology tells us that becoming a monster is the ultimate depravity. One who transforms into a monster is surely cursed. But then, that's what mythology says; mythology was written by heroes." If a Beast's lair is destroyed, either willingly or by a Hero or some other force, a Beast undergoes the Merger and becomes a monster of flesh, bone, and hunger in the waking world.



Helena breathes in salt air. She leaves paw prints in wet, cerulean sand, and little black crabs made of onyx dart through the shadow of her wing, into other shadows many miles away. Her mane is tangling on the wind, but the water has no waves. It’s a mirror for the sun and moon to dance on.

The men are running. More a dash, Helena thinks. Nothing as dignified as running. They’ve been hurtling at her since they were dots on the crooked horizon, kicking up blue sand with the frantic lope of dogs. She doesn’t fight when they shoot her. She doesn’t try to dodge or take cover. She doesn’t bite when they run out of bullets and beat her with their guns.

Helena lies down in the sand. Golden blood tangles her mane, matting it in glittering chains of life. One of the men collects her life in a bucket so he can sell it. When she’s hollowed out, they throw her in the water, and her brass bones drag her to the bottom. But then, she floats. She’s not
a Beast anymore, just a woman with curling red hair and a dead smile.

A griffin swims. It leaves Helena without a thought because Helena is gone, a half-remembered fragment of a dream. She doesn’t matter. Only revenge.

If a Beast dies while their Horror is slumbering, sometimes the Horror goes free. Usually it's an accident, a stupid death while they were unprepared. But sometimes a Beast intentionally does this when they no longer want to live the way they are. "Even the most tormented beast doesn't want to see the Hero win, or anyone else who shunned her for what she was. She wants the legend to carry on, even if she's incapable of carrying it on herself." Oh damn it game, you were so close to doing something meaningful.



“I think this is bullshit,” says Arnold. He would say that.

“Trust me,” I say. “It’s here.” We walk down the old, slick, stone steps, and I find the door. “Here.”

“Access door,” says Arnold, and Mira nods. She looks scared, though.

I chuckle. “Dude, you haven’t seen anything yet.” I shoulder the door open, and lead them into the Underground.

An hour later, Arnold still won’t shut up about how cool it all is. He’s taking pictures like crazy, planning to do a full shoot down here, and he still hasn’t apologized for all the shit he gave me. That’s when I realize….



“Where’s your sister?” He looks around, whipping his flashlight around.

“Holy shit. Mira?” He calls out, but nothing comes back but echoes. I called out her name, too, but nothing.

Nothing at first. But then….

“What if she never came back?” The voice is low. I can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman. I shine my light at where it came from, but all I see is something dart away before I can really catch a glimpse. “What if she’s lost down here, forever, along with all the other ghosts?”

“Where the fuck is my sister?” Arnold’s screaming now. My heart pounds. I reach for my phone, but then Arnold’s light goes out.

“What if your last thought was that you should have heeded the signs?” The voice is behind me now. Something touches my neck and my legs go numb. I collapse. “What if?”

“I don’t know,” I whisper. “Please.”

“Do something for me,” says the voice. Its breath is in my ear. It smells like dust and red wine. “Tell someone else about this, once a day, for 10 days.”

So that’s why I’m telling you.

I’m sorry.

Or the Beast can rewrite the story, the one who wrests their life from the Heroes hands and merges with their Horror without either one of them dying. They are flesh and dream and nightmare. They're so steeped in their legend that they know all the twists and turns before they come up. They look at the loom of fate and rip their threads out of it. He betrays Gilgamesh. He devours Saint George. He burns every piece of Osiris until only ash and Isis' tears remain.

Beloved Enemies


He’s smashing the door with a crowbar. Chunks of plywood burst like flak, and a piece of doorframe shoots through his swinging arm. He grits through the pain as the next swing squeezes the splinter deep into his shoulder, lodging it between bones.

Mara watches from her bedroom window, waiting for him to realize that a tank couldn’t knock that door down.

Eventually, he sniffs out the basement window and thinks himself clever for it. He loses a few inches of skin to broken glass as he shoves his body through the opening, and tracks bloody, trampled daisies as he limps up the stairs. His moment is coming.

Mara wants him to have it. She wants to see triumph in his face before she strips it of dignity and flesh. They both have their roles in this game, and playing that out won’t sour her victory. Not when she demolishes his self-worth with that crowbar.
The Cycle of Violence
A Hero feels the primordial dream, a fact which most Beasts are loathe to admit. They don't experience it the same way Beast's do, mind you. Beast's dream deep, Heroes dream Broad. They see everything, including the effect that Beasts have on the collective unconscious of humanity. They can see the damage being inflicted and try to instinctively cut it out.


That by itself is understandable. The problem is that Heroes aren’t really doing it because they want to put down a monster. Heroes feel that they should loom large over humanity’s dreams. People shouldn’t be having nightmares of monsters, but dreaming of feverish adulation. The Hero longs to enter a Beast’s Lair, cut out its Horror’s heart, and substitute his smiling, bloodied face in the dreams of all whom the Beast
would have victimized.
Oh... oh... Yeah Heroes are just egomaniacs who want to murder Beasts. "Murder is his only end, regardless of bystanders. He'll bloviate about the innocents he saves, but at the best of times, protecting the innocent is incidental."

Not So Different, You and I


To a degree, the Begotten understand the Heroic drive. Whether it’s for piles of gold or slaughtered prey, Beasts are equally slaves to instinct. The difference between a Beast’s Hunger and a Hero’s obsession is self-awareness. A Beast knows what she is. She learns to live with it or she suffers. Justifications miss the point of having a Hunger in the first place. A Hero, on the other hand, twists his brain to rationalize his hatred. Becoming a Hero is just a matter of experiencing the Primordial Dream without context or depth.
Apparently they missed the part where they as much as admitted that teaching lessons is a justification.


Is the Hero to blame for what he does? Beasts debate the question. Heroes seem to be operating on instinct as much as the Begotten. Just as the Begotten can minimize the harm they cause, though, or at least give it some context by using their Hunger to teach lessons, Heroes can discriminate in how they apply their murderous abilities, and they are capable of prioritizing a Beast that does real, reckless harm to people over one that does not. In addition, they can ignore their urges. If they focus on their own lives, if they ignore the hunt, if they develop some humility and stop trying to be the Hero, the urges diminish and stop. Few Heroes manage this, however. They have a lifetime of experience telling them that the Beast must die.
The good hero ignores the need to hunt and just stops being a Hero. The Good Beast can't do that, so the Good Beast is allowed to do whatever the fuck they want. That's not a 'dark mirror' game, that's false equivalency. And with the change to Heroes being born the way they are it's blaming people for not being special enough to be Beasts.

Fuck there's a lot of fiction in this chapter, and would you believe me that they actually cut it down?


This isn’t how it was supposed to go down.

The judge is sitting like some goddamn magistrate, lording over the court as if he’s important. As if any part of this show trial matters.

“…hate crime…”

Oh, these newspeak platitudes. This isn’t how a man’s treated. I didn’t target her because she’s black. I targeted her because she’s a monster.

She’s sitting all solemn, little crocodile tears blotting her mascara. If I look hard enough, though, if I look past the skin suit, I see it hiding. I see its coils sucking the life out of the room. You don’t fool me, bitch. I got your friends. I burned them all.

It doesn’t take long.
“…the jury, find the defendant…”

She smiles. A smile for me. Mistake.

“Die, bitch!” I rip my cuffs off and jump the table. The bailiff unloads a round into me, but I don’t care about pain anymore. The only thing I care about is choking her with the chains she put me in.

She smiles.

I scream in her face. I scream at these stupid fuckers to see what she really is!

She smiles.

I choke harder.

She. Keeps. Smiling! Smiling even when her eyes bulge and her face turns blue. The bailiff hesitates because he can’t get a shot in without it going through her. Do us both a favor, pal.

Then, I feel my heart explode.

The coils are wrapped around me. In me.

Her smile falls as I drop.

“You burned them,” she whispers. “My brothers. My sister. You burned them. They weren’t like me.” She has tears in her eyes, again, but this time I believe them.

I try to say something, but honestly, I can’t think of anything.
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go down.
There's something morally reprehensible about how the game co-opts the language of real life bigots and hate groups to describe their Heroes, both in and out of character, but never really goes out of their way to correct them. Like in this case, the hero is right, she is a monster. Her race has absolutely nothing to do with it. But she's still hiding behind her race to drum up the show trial to the point where he is driven to kill her, so she can kill him and still look like the better person. Yes this is making Heroes look worse but at the expense of making real life hate groups look better. Because Heroes are right and they literally do not have a say in the way that they feel.

There's a lot of talking about the Heroes Journey and the Monomyth. I'm pretty sure you've heard this song and dance before.



“This doesn’t end here.”

We’re standing in the middle of LaGuardia, just a girl and her stalker. My hero. He doesn’t have a weapon, though. I guess he’s not crazy enough to bring one to an airport, but I bet it killed him not to.

“I’ve got a flight to catch, Frank. I’m not coming back,” I say.

“You need to listen—”

“I’ve heard everything. Every bullet,” I say, hoping no one else can hear this. I can’t afford a fight, especially not with Homeland Security.

“I’ll find you, Elisabeth,” he says, like saying my name will give him control. But his heart’s pounding right along with mine, and the flop sweat’s starting to crawl up his shirt. For anyone else, I’d feel sorry.

“You don’t have money for the bus, let alone a plane,” I say, trying to shove past him.

“Because you ruined my life!” he shouts, pulling the gaze of sleepy commuters. The edge in his voice isn’t violent, though. He’s a child who didn’t get his favorite blanket.

I snap. “If you want this, you do it here. The big kill, in front of everyone. Go ahead. They’ll chain you up and toss you away, where all you’ll have is the satisfaction of knowing the world thinks you’re another broken vet who slipped through the cracks and went postal.”

A tinny voice warbles. My flight. I wait for him to make a move. Gods know he’s desperate enough to—

“Why didn’t you kill me?”

Because if I killed a hateful, sad, old man, I’d be everything he thinks I am.

“I’m better than you,” I lie.

I grab my carry-on. He steps into the crowd and out of my life.
That's.. just sad.

The Hero has expecations, they know the story is supposed to be about them. It's not the Beast who taught them how the tale is told. It's the media, it's video games, it's every movie they've ever watch. Sometimes the Hero isn't perfect, but the story is always about him.

Except that's the lie. The Hero needs to react to something. And Beasts know it. The Hero needs the Beasts to be Beasts for their lives to have meaning. But no matter what the Beast does, the hero can feel the ripples in the dream, and they act. Decisively. To the Hero this is important. If they waste time with things like "identifying the problem" and "seeing if they're a real threat" then the monster 'wins'.



I’ve seen them at my shows a few times, watching me with the same foregone conclusion they always have drilled into their dumb eyes. They’re the kind of guys who haven’t met a collar they haven’t popped.
They follow me after my gig, and I walk them into the crappy park downtown that city council never bothered naming. They’re carrying — I shit you not — golf clubs. One of them is packing a Glock! My kind of night.

“Jesus, boys. Is this, like, a rumble?”

They don’t bother verbalizing their battle cry into English, just grunts and slurs they imagine scare me. I let their leader take a few swings with his nine iron to get my blood pumping. I call him a piece of shit, and that’s when the night starts to sizzle.

Glock-bro draws his piece, but he’s not pointing it at me.

The boy I called out starts convulsing and they know exactly what he is. The half-crazed, mean motherfucker they all are on the inside. Covered in boils, seeping pus, and hate. And maggots. Lots and lots of maggots. The Hero ascendant.

That’s what he looks like to them, at least.

“You’ve got the wrong monster, men!” I shout at the others, bending them to my cause. Without a thought, Glock-bro shoots him in the stomach. He screams; they swarm. He begs; they break his legs. His skull cracks on pavement as I walk on.
You ever think that this game might not be giving Heroes a fair shake? The examples we've been given so far include a Racist, a destitute shell of a man, and a gang banger.

"Heroes are more than the instruments of death they fashion themselves to be. They’re the world’s antibodies, a nagging reminder that the Begotten don’t belong. The Hero’s best weapon is alienation. If he can learn how to wield it, he’s already won."
Behold, the closes the game gets to admitting that Beasts are the bad guys. Relish it, because the game then states that Heroes aren't social animals and don't really have use for loved ones. Even though they do have Loved Ones. They save their spite for fellow Heroes. They might join up against a greater evil, but a smart hero always keeps a spare knife handy in case his allies decide that honor is for chumps. No Hero actually wants to share the glory of the kill. They want fawning lackeys, not allies.

But Heroes find lackeys. They can infect the dreams of others just like Beasts can, but they're much more subtle about it. They become the idol, the heroic champion that the community can rally around. In the past they were the village shaman. Interpreting the dreams they could see in the Primordial and informing the people of the message. But there are too many people now. They can no longer be Joeseph, speaking truth to power. They can only be David, spinning the sling. But people still listen to them. They follow them, and believe the 'truth' that the monsters are out there. But no matter how many torches and pitchforks the villagers raise, they aren't there to get the deathblow. They're there to be picked off, one by one until the job is done.

But Beasts? Beasts are family! Not like those terrible Heroes. They care for each other, even though they fight cause families fight! Even if they sin. "But the brood accepts all sins. It fights for the Beast’s right to sin again."


There’s a halo forming around the vision in Raul’s left eye. The baseball bat almost detached his retina, but that’s the least of his worries. This guy means business. Concussion grenades business. Scooping out guts and dancing in entrails business. Raul hadn’t foreseen his Legend ending in an alley behind a boarded-up Blockbuster, but here he is.

“What the fuck are you doing to him?”

The halo’s turned into haze, but Raul can see two shadows enter the alley.

“This doesn’t concern you,” the Hero snarls.

“Get off him, or I’ll kill you,” says a man.

“And I’ll eat you,” says a woman.

“I told you this doesn’t—”

The woman leaps. The man howls, and then he gets bigger.

The Hero doesn’t hesitate to run — smart guy — but he’s already dead. The woman lands on the other side of him with a knife through his spine. As she tears out viscera, her companion turns his ribcage inside out. It only takes seconds.

“Raul?” says the woman.

“Thanks…for being…so prompt.”

“Don’t be an asshole,” says the man, once more the size of one. One of the werewolves swings Raul over a shoulder as the other calls an ambulance. Raul passes out thinking that friendship is a strange thing.
That's.. how the chapter ends.

Just like that. Don't worry though, cause we still have to go over what was different in the Kickstarter.

Chapter 2: Kickstarter Edition

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 2: Kickstarter Edition

So what's different?

A whole fucking lot, and not enough.

Like I mentioned before. In the original Kickstarter treatment, you were born a Beast, sure you had some placeholder human soul kicking around in your body for a few years. But eventually your Soul decides it's time to move back in, and you have your Homecoming.

No seriously that's what they called it.

The section talking about the Tenemos used to be much longer... let's play a game. Guess why this was cut


A symbol can be far more potent. Symbols are universal and timeless; they wear whatever form the culture bestows on them. How many people have heard of Jack the Ripper? Millions? Compare that to the scope of his crimes. Only five women’s deaths have been conclusively laid at his feet. Horrific as they were, they pale compared to the number of people who died from coal smoke and disease in Victorian London. Jack the Ripper is a nobody, just another maladjusted murderer, and yet he has become synonymous with evil.

For millennia, lepers were reviled as harbingers of plague and corruption, both moral as well as physical. Homosexuals became the lepers of the AIDS generation and were victimized by the same moralist hysteria. Immigrants, Muslims, transgender, and impoverished people have all been vilified in the modern era, turned into scapegoats by bigoted “crusaders” with narrow minds and selfish agendas. The next pandemic or culture shift will produce its own outcasts and they, too, will be blamed for their plight.

Humans are mythmakers. Symbols provide the seeds for stories, the grain around which forms the pearl. Some serve as warnings; others make sense of the inexplicable. Introduce an unknown or shocking element — a mystery, a nightmare, or a monster — and people instinctively build a legend around it.

Legend cuts both ways in the Astral Realms. An ordinary madman like Jack the Ripper can be elevated to a mythic monster, taking his place in the Temenos and casting a long shadow over human history, but a Beast can become the stuff of legends just by growing in power and holding sway over a greater part of the collective unconscious.

That was a bit too on the nose to survive untouched. Thankfully he realized it.

As far as Heroes...

For starters, the section that's titled "Beloved Enemies" in the final book is called "You Brought This On Yourself" here. And it's far more unflattering..


Take a high school bully, mate him with a rabid dog, and a Hero is born. The saying goes that fanatics redouble their efforts when they lose sight of their aims; if so, Heroes are an exceptional breed of fanatic. Their efforts leave no room to be redoubled, and their aims are barely coherent to begin with.

Strip down the layers of a Hero’s ego, and all one finds is murder. Murder is his only end, regardless of bystanders. He’ll bloviate about the little girls and puppies he saves, but at the best of times, protecting the innocent is incidental. He pursues the Beast because she dares to live and breathe and occupy the same world he does, not because some fool needs rescuing. It’s an imperative a serial killer might understand.

The man at the butcher shop remembers when his neighborhood was safe to walk at night. It’s the coddled kids, he mutters. Whelps raised up without the belt, like the punk who comes in and mouths off about the quality of his cuts. She’s the problem. All the little shits like her. He sees that clearly in his nightmares, in the eyes of the spider wrapping its webs over town. He’ll spread his own webs soon, made from cotton twine and clear, sterile plastic.

She’s the richest woman in town, a woman whose generosity knows no bounds. The local activists know a crook when they see one. They know her philanthropy is a front for…something. The specifics aren’t important. The further they dig, the more her secrets consume their lives. Most of them haven’t been to their real jobs in weeks. The walls of their offices are plastered with tax forms and stationary stained with garbage water. Beneath soiled pizza boxes, a blueprint of her house is marked up, and a bomb diagram is pasted over a barrel of gasoline.

Her boyfriend’s got a musk that only she can smell, like his core is rotten with worms. Like it’s leaking discharge through his skin. She could scrub down to bone and never get that stench out. It’s all she can talk about. That’s why nobody likes her anymore. She can’t stop droning on and on and on about how he’s weighing her down. He’s the reason she wasn’t promoted! He’s the reason her best friend dumped her! He’s the reason she’s a failure. One night, she wakes up and understands what the smell really is. The gun in the dresser could cleanse him, she thinks.
Remember that he was still directly associating Heroes to MRA's and Gamergate at this point in time. Also at this point in time Heroes were still created by the excesses of Beasts. These are people who literally did not have a choice in the matter being demonized.

Also Beasts in the KS Treatment were almost giddy about fucking with Heroes.


The Collector promises the Hero a fight for the ages, but he has to play her game first. Otherwise, she’ll go to ground and never come back up. She sends him a list of objects, a fetch quest with an endpoint in her Lair. The items are both junky and occult, from literal trash to rare spices available only through import. He gathers them and expends every resource he has. On completion, the Collector makes good. He finds her stooped over an effigy, fashioned from refuse and smelling of magic. Before he can run, she lights it with her breath, and his skin bubbles off.
And making them look incompetent


The Nemesis lives up to her name. She finds the Hero’s phone number and records long, rambling messages listing every infraction he’s guilty of over the course of a single day. Then she hacks his email and distributes screeds he’s written about his bosses. Then she calls his wife and claims to be his mistress. Then she calls his mistress and claims to be his wife. By the time he seeks revenge, no one will care if he lives or dies.
And ruining their lives


The Predator burns for the hunt. His mind is overwhelmed with designs for weapons and traps. He’s been sick for prey that fights back and he doesn’t want to disappoint his self-appointed enemy. He rents a cabin off the grid so they’ll have a little privacy, so the Hero will know that he’s poured his heart into this. That she’s a special kind of prey. Not that he’s going to fight fair, of course — fair fights are for humans.
And cheating.


The Ravager goes to war. Wrecked the Hero’s car? Check. Burnt his house down? Check. Frozen his accounts? Trickier, but check. She’ll shred the Hero’s life until all that’s left is his fight with her.
And just generally being dicks.


Resource management isn’t just a knack, it’s the Tyrant’s ideology. When the Hero and his gang invade her compound, they’re outflanked by her legions. While snipers slaughter his men, the Hero manages to dash inside. He only loses a finger to the Rottweilers, but the mercenaries are more generous with the pieces they cut off. When they drag him before her throne, she barely needs to finish him off. But she will.
I seriously do not have any idea how anyone thought that people would agree with Beasts being the good guys.

There is one sad note, the change to the whole Beast/Hero dynamic did mean we lost this treasure.


I treasure our last time. If I were prone to romance, I would commission a mural. I would expend the whole of my wealth in payment for the sort of grand artists it would require. I have never broken a thing in the way I crushed your knee. All that lovely bone escaping, pouring over the ground. So clean and white, as if I were spreading lilies. Do you know what Fabergé eggs are? They shatter brilliantly. Destroying your knee was akin to breaking art. If I could have snapped it off, my joy would have been complete. I would have prized it as the jewel of my collection, regardless of whether it matched the set or not.

But I am not prone to romance. And I could not have you forgetting the lesson. In a strange way (silly, mercurial me) I wish I could have spared you. I did not see it then, but you were right! Your knives belonged in my heart, and if I had known how I would ache for them now, I might have let you finish your “quest.” Your successors are petty juveniles pretending at a fraction of your strength. They do not even taste like you.

I almost knocked on your door the last time I came into the country! Why do you live so far away? Is the air refreshing? Regenerative? Forgive me for not inviting myself in. Too difficult to see you as you are now.
Reminds me of old times. Battles unwaged. I hope the girls sleep well. They must be so beautiful, all grown up. I hope they take after their mother.

I would so love to see them again.


Your dragon

But that's all for Chapter 2.

Up Next: "When Beasty Isn't Around, the other characters should be going 'Where's Beasty?' Also everyone should love Beasty all the time."

Chapter 3: Character and Traits

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 3: Character and Traits
We open with another page in the saga of Ben.


Ben had never followed anyone before, but then, he’d never met anyone like her before either. She was young, blonde, and pretty, but in truth that barely registered. He’d spotted her in the mall on his break, of all places, coming out of an upscale teashop. A single look and he knew, just knew she was like him.

“You know, if you want to be more obvious, maybe you should just start yelling ‘I’M FOLLOWING YOU,’” said the blonde, stopping without turning around. A nearby sports car lock chirped off.

“You’re like me,” Ben said, hating how dumb he sounded. He’d been working on what to say since he spotted but none of it wanted to come

“Except I know the value of subtlety,” the blonde said, turning to face him. Though shorter than he was, she loomed larger in his sight, and as he looked closer he saw her Horror, something huge and vaguely feline.

“You’re too loud, kid. Someone’s going to find you.”

“Kid?” Ben stiffened. “You’re not much older than me.”

“You’re sweet to think so,” she said, smiling a little. “Seriously, though. You’re drawing too much attention. That’s why we wanted to chat.”

“We?” Ben asked, looking around. As he watched, the shape of a man detached itself from a nearby light post, rapidly resolving into an older man in a sharp suit. Behind him, his Horror coiled in sinuous lengths beneath a vast head of dripping fangs. His mouth was set in a severe line and his eyes were narrowed suspiciously. The feeling of power coming off him struck Ben like the heat of a fire, and he instinctively stepped back.

“This isn’t just your territory, you know,” the blonde continued, as if nothing was wrong. “We’ve spent a lot of time putting down roots. Fixing up our homesteads, right? Making sure things run smoothly around here.”

“Then you come along,” the older man said, each word as deliberate as a rock dropped in a pond, “and start lighting fires all over town. That,
by the way, stops now.”

“Homesteads?” Ben thought of the dark water and rolling surf he’d learned to visit, the place where his Horor roiled beneath the waves when it wasn’t out feeding. “You guys have places like that too?” Another thought caught hold of him. “And who’s going to find me?”

The blonde looked to the older man and something passed between them, though Ben couldn’t quite catch it. “We’ll get to that,” she said after
a moment. “But yes, people like us all have our own places. Way you’re going, you have to learn how to defend it, too.” She put out her hand. “Hi. I’m Robin.”

“Ben,” he said, taking it.

“I’m James,” the older man said, pointedly not offering his hand, though his look softened a fraction. “Let’s go grab a shake or something."
I'm not sure how much later after the previous thing with the bullies this is supposed to be, but the next chapter says "a few weeks". So either he's dealing with bullies at college+ age, or he's ludicrously competent for his age. As we'll see later, the first is probably the more likely. This game has... opinions.. about bullies.

Tales of the Dark Mother: Dave posted:

“Meeting’s in five minutes.”

Dave looked up at the bathroom mirror. Gerald was standing behind him. He’d obviously come into the men’s room to check up on Dave. Dave ground his teeth and didn’t answer.

“Did you hear me?” Dave could almost hear the implied ‘boy’ at the end of the sentence.

“Yeah, I heard you, Gerald.” Dave enjoyed the bristling look. Gerald hated that Dave got to use his first name now.

“OK, then. See you in there.” Gerald walked out, and Dave stared into the mirror. But the bathroom wasn’t behind him anymore. It was a mountaintop. Dave turned, and saw the sky, immense, endless, clear and blue. Down the mountain, miles away, he saw creatures running and playing and fucking…oblivious. Dave — not Dave, not the man in the suit and the tie and the polished shoes, but still Dave, somehow — leapt off the mountain. Immense wings blotted out the sun and cast a shadow across the creatures below. They ran in fear, but he could see them wherever they ran. He swooped, diving towards his prey, and talons large enough to uproot trees pierced flesh and bone. He took the sky again, carrying his prey back to the mountain.

He landed at the mouth of the cave, and walked back into the dark. He felt something above him, something like the immense creature he had become and yet still bigger, something more horrifying than he could ever be and yet something that loved him. He lifted his head, and pressed his against Her neck. She whispered something in his ear, and Dave understood.

Dave’s vision cleared, and he was standing there in the men’s room, staring into the mirror. “What…”. He glanced down at the sink. There were gouge marks in the porcelain. Striations made with impossibly sharp claws.

Dave straightened up. Someone was coming. Gerald opened the door. “Hey, Dave. You about ready yet?”

Dave turned and fixed his gaze on Gerald. “Yeah. Are you?”
...what? Does the Dark Mother just randomly fuck with people for no reason?

Character Creation
This is a Chronicles of Darkness game, and Unzealous already covered how to make a chronicles of darkness character pretty well, the first main difference is in the Aspirations for Beast Characters, some example long term aspirations are "Become the Apex" or "Become Incarnate" Seeing as how those are the only two end-games that the game has that allow you to remain in control of your character that's not very surprising . The first main difference happens in the brand new Step 5

Add Beast Template
Choose your Family and Hunger, try and pick something that suits the character you want to play. Once that's done you choose your Legend and Life. Legend and Life replace the Virtue and Vice that a mortal character would have. Legend is the kind of monster that your Horror wants you to be. Life is the kind of person you want to be. We'll go over them in more detail later. Example Legends are relentless, seductive, unexpected, vicious, and watchful. Example Lifes are cautious, honest, loyal, parental, and shy.

This is the point where you describe your Horror in more detail, but not too much detail. Be broad and evocative, two or three key features that you want to emphasize above all others. Also describe your Lair, you start with a heart and one additional chamber, with a burrow connecting the two. You also have two Lair Traits at least one of which must be minor. You can choose to give up the additional chamber in exchange for two Experiences but that would be an incredibly bad idea for reasons that will become apparent later. When buying Merits you can choose to spend 5 merits to increase your Lair trait by 2. You also choose your starting Kinships, Nightmares, and Atavisms. At least one of your Atavisms need to be from your family, and if you have any appropriate Kinships established you can start with a Kinship nightmare. These will all be explained in more detail later. You gain experience and Beats the same way you gain them in a regular Chronicles game, filling aspirations, resolving beats, being inconvenienced by a beat, dramatic failures, etc.

Beasts start with a minimum of 2 Satiety and a maximum of 7, and it provides a little questionnaire to determine where in that spectrum you start. Who are your Kin? If you consider another supernatural creature one of your kin, take an extra point of satiety due to the extra feeding method that's available to you. Does your belly fill easily? Do you feed in large, subtle feasts, or multiple small feasts. If you go the latter route take an extra Satiety since you've probably recently fed. Are you a social predator? Does your brood hunt together, if so take a point of satiety. How frequently do you show your true self? if you save your Atavisms and Nightmares for special occasions, take a point of Satiety to show that you conserve what you have. How drawn to your lair are you? If you didn't boost your lair trait earlier take another point of Satiety to show that you haven't needed to spend a bunch lately.


Experience Costs
Attribute: 4 Experiences per dot
Merit: 1 Experience per dot
Skill Specialty: 1 Experience
Skill: 2 Experiences per dot
Nightmares: 3 Experiences
In-Family Atavisms: 3 Experiences
Out-of-Family Atavisms: 4 Experiences
Lair: 5 Experiences per dot

Example of Character Creation
Hoo boy, it's time to meet Magda.


Magda is making a character for her friend Orson’s Beast game. Orson has told the other players in advance that he wants to explore the concept of family and what that means. He’s set up a chronicle based in what looks like a normal suburb, complete with white picket fences and PTA meetings. It’s a perfect hiding place for a brood of Children (the players’ characters) to set up, inciting and feeding on the mundane fears and terrors of its residents. When Orson first hears Magda’s idea, he likes it, but is a little unconvinced about how it’ll mesh with the rest of the group. Still, he allows it anyway to see what Magda does with it.
Magda is just a little bit insane and creepy.
Step One: Concept and Aspirations
Magda decides to play "Mrs. Winters, the whole neighborhood's grandmother." Who came into her devouring late in life after her own children were already grown. When asked if she was spontaneously devoured(Which is still a fucking thing, damn it) or helped by another Begotten she decides it makes more sense for it to have happened spontaneously. She chooses for one of her aspirations to be "Learn about the begotten and figure out how she lasted so long without being devoured in the first place"

Step Two: Attributes
Physical is obviously tertiary, Mrs. Winters can knit like the wind and get around pretty well without trouble so she gets two dots in Dex and one in Stamina. Social gets priority over Mental, with two dots in presence and composure, and one dot in manipulation "Mrs. Winters is a charming old lady who keeps her cool, but doesn't have much need to get by on lying or misleading people (yet)." Wits gets two dots and intelligence and resolve only get one. "She won't say no to sampling a cookie before the bake sale starts."

Step Three: Skills
Mental>Social>Physical. There's some 'cute' justifications for her skills. Computers(her kids got her a laptop) Politics(City council meetings!) Persuasion(yes billy there's a santa claus) Brawl(T'ai chi classes at the Y) and Weaponry "because knitting needles make a fine weapon in a pinch. Orson shifts uncomfortably when Magda says that." She then decides that the dots in Politics suggest another aspiration. "Prevent the city council from rezoning and demolishing the neighborhood."

Step Four: Skill Specialties
Knitting (It doesn't apply to weaponry rolls, Orson is quick to point out) Local Politics, and "Sympathetic Ear" for empathy because she's a confidant for her neighbors.

Step Five: Add Beast Template
She picks Eshmaki because of the echoing darkness of an empty house. She chooses the Hunger for Punishment because..well..


Magda chooses the Hunger for Punishment for Mrs. Winters, letting her seep into the dreams of those who confide in her, berating them for their failings and filling them with the terror of their secrets being discovered. While Mrs. Winters won’t outwardly judge those who confide in her, she stalks them in the Primordial Dream, never letting them rest comfortably while they try to hide their illicit affairs, abuses, and other guilty pleasures. If they come clean, though, tell the truth and clear the air or otherwise make amends and cease their bad behavior, she leaves them alone. Fair’s fair.
Such a wonderful person. She chooses to avoid feeding on children if necessary. Giving her another aspiration to protect children. Her Legend is Judgemental and her Life is Maternal. Her horror is the stereotypical old woman cranked up to 13, long ragged fingernails and toenails, absolutely zero fat, hunched over, milky eyes, etc.

She accepts the starting lair value and takes Echoing and Darkness as her Lair Traits. "She also tries not to notice Orson scratching out a few lines in his plot notes as a result." Her Nightmares are "You Deserve This"(I hate this nightmare) and "You Are Not Alone". Her Atavisms are From the Shadows and Shadowed Soul. This also prompts her to take a dot out of athletics and put it in Stealth.

Step Six: Merits


The additional details Magda established previously makes Merit selection easy. Magda takes two dots of Resources (from her social security check and her side business of watching the neighborhood kids), Small-Framed (which costs two dots), Common Sense (which costs three dots), one dot of Allies for her connections on the city council, and two dots of Contacts (one for her neighbors and one for the city offices).
I'm still not entirely over the fact that the boilerplate sample character for Beast is a nosy pensioner.

Step Seven: Advantages
Mrs Winters has no kin, since she only really interacts with her neighborhood and doesn't want to shoehorn in a werewolf or mage next door. She feeds often so takes a point there. She isn't a social predator (Doesn't want to have Predators and Tyrants around the neighborhood kids), and shows her true self often to keep the neighborhood in line. And she only has a lair of 1. So her starting Satiety is 4.

Legend represents your expected behavior as one of the Begotten. If someone had to describe in a single word the horrible thing that came to them in their nightmares, that word would be your Legend. Canny Heroes can use this against the beast by encouraging this behavior. You regain a point of willpower when you reveal your primordial nature in order to scare/impress/convince someone to do something. Successfully activating a Nightmare or acting in accordance with your Legend without being compelled to do so could also apply depending on the scene. But unfurling ones claws just to get a bar-stool closer to the door might have consequences. You regain all your willpower when you act in accordance with your Legend despite knowing it will endanger yourself or your loved ones. They give some Example Legends and..uhh.. some of them are really fucking weak.


Unexpected: Regain one point of Willpower when your character reveals her presence to someone who thinks she is nowhere near him. Regain all Willpower if she startles a whole room of people previously unaware of her presence.
"Startling a room full of people" does not put your life in danger.


Watchful: Regain one point of Willpower when your character, while not revealing himself, makes it clear to another character in the scene that she is not alone. Regain all Willpower if someone discovers your presence despite all efforts to remain unseen.
"Guys I failed my stealth roll again." " don't have any dots in stealth." "I know, weird right."

Life represents the person you once were, and the person you want to be again.They lend the Begotten some sympathy in the eyes of humanity, and might put an inexperienced hero off thier guard. You regain a point of willpower when you act in accordance with your life in a supernatural situation. You regain ALL of your willpower when you "act according to your life rather than being the primordial terror the world expects." Or for denying a Hero the chance to prove himself the bastion of all that is right in the world. Dear lord these are super vague definitions and very strong ones "Well I could have killed him but I didn't, I regain all my willpower."


Shy: Regain one point of Willpower when you opt not to reveal your nature when doing so could reap significant benefits, such as gaining an ally or Kinship. Regain all points of Willpower when your taciturn demeanor gives your enemies pause or makes them think they incorrectly perceived the threat you pose.
Like this, "regain all your willpower for being a sneaky fuck"? Seriously?


Cautious: Regain one point of Willpower when prudent behavior helps you dodge a metaphorical bullet, such as revealing your nature as one of the Children before a vampire attempts to drain you dry. Regain all points of Willpower when this caution urges you to do unto others before they do unto you, such as shooting your enemy while he distracts himself with his own heroic monologue challenging you to single combat.
...That's not Cautious. That's "Is Genre Savvy". And it's way too fucking strong. And why are you regaining willpower from your life for revealing that you're a Beast?

So yeah, Legend and Life combine to make Beasts into ridiculously deep wells of Willpower, you should probably make your WP pool as big as possible.

Which finally brings us to...
Kinship is general term for the ties that Beasts have with their "siblings" in the world of the Chronicles of Darkness. Kinship functions differently depending on if they're "merely" a fundamentally human being or overtly supernatural.
Descended from the Dark Mother: Vampires, werewolves, changelings, Prometheans, Sin-Eaters, mummies, fetches, inhuman spirits. In general, any being that was never human, or was human but has since been totally transformed into or merged with a supernatural being, falls into this category.
Fundamentally Human: Mages, psychics, mediums, slashers, and ghosts. As a rule, any character who can be described with “mostly human, but” falls into this category. Notable- Beasts willingly associate with slashers.
Kinship Does Not Apply: Demons, as described in Demon: The Descent.

This does raise the question, is there some kind of common spiritual ancestry? Beasts say yes, everyone else says no. end of story.


Your character has become closely bonded to a Beast
and finds great (if sometimes grudging) strength in that
connection. While in his immediate presence, she may use the
Beast’s relevant Resistance trait value instead of her own when
defending against supernatural powers. In return, both she and
the Beast receive a +1 on any rolls made to directly assist each
other, or as part of teamwork actions undertaken together. You
may have this Condition with multiple Beasts simultaneously.
Possible Sources: A Beast
Resolution: Your character severs her association with the Beast.
Beat: Your character encounters trouble with others of her
kind or forsakes an important obligation to her supernatural
culture, due to her connection with the Beast.
Does this mean that if a Mage has the family ties condition with an entire brood they get +5 dice to cast a spell that aids or help those beasts?

Thicker than Water
Beasts have a natural affinity with all creatures of the Dark Mother. This doesn't guarantee deep abiding friendship, but it does allay the natural fear and suspicious that most supernatural creatures have when approached by someone they don't know that also knows exactly who they are...which can itself be kind of off-putting. Particularly if they don't know what the fuck beasts are.

Unless the Beast acts in a hostile fashion, treats the target poorly, or abuses their relatoinship: A beast starts with at least a Good impresion for the purposes of social maneuvering when it comes to dealing with any supernatural creature(including other beasts) Mostly Human supernaturals only start out with an "average" impression. Beasts can even use this power against mostly feral supernatural creatures but only really to establish dominance. That said they get to add their current satiety rating to any social maneuvering rolls with creatures like that.

This is a major bone of contention with a lot of people who play the other games. Because this is the game saying "No, you like Beasts, there's rules for it and everything" Despite the fact that Werewolves, Changelings, and Prometheans have legitimate greivances with a Beasts mere existance, as long as the Beast tries to be nice then they get a leg up on social maneuvering.

Family Resemblance
Beasts can recognize each other on sight, unless a Beast is using some kind of supernatural ability to hide their nature(Which initiates a clash of wills) If they want to learn more than "it's a beast, dumbass" Then they need to use this power normally. Detecting another full-fledged supernatural being is relatively easy, and happens reflexively if the beast is in their presence, success is automatic unless the target is hiding (which triggers a clash of wills). Each beast detects the other supernaturals differently, but it's always distinctive. A discordant chime for changelings, the taste of ashes for vampires, the smell of grave soil for geists. etc. For fundamentally human supernatural creatures, the beast needs to witness them calling on their supernatural power, after which allows them to roll.

The power does provide a fairly concrete definition of what you're looking at, but it won't give any more information (Strengths, weaknesses, any societies they're a member of, etc) Notably a dramatic failure on the roll (Wits+Occult+Lair-Target's Composure) sets your impresion to hostile automatically, but you have to choose dramatic failures in COFD. A success gives you the type of creature you're looking at, their supernatural power stat rating, and how "well fed" they currently are. It will also tell you a Beast's family and their current satiety level. An exceptional success gives you a general idea of the target's most powerful supernatural talent. It also removes two doors in social maneuvering.

Mother's Kiss
Beasts can temporarily boost the powers of other non-beast/non-demon supernatural creatures. As long as they're in the same general area, all it takes is a spoken name and some spilled blood. If the roll is successful, the target feels a rush of power, it's different for everyone but ti's unmistakable. The target can only be under the effect of a single Kiss at a time, and the effects fade at the end of a scene. Also for some reason(Game Balance) This power gets weaker the more powerful the target is.


Cost: 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Stamina + Satiety – target’s Supernatural
Tolerance. If a target of Mother’s Kiss has the Family Ties
Condition with the Beast, the Beast adds three dice to her pool.
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Beast not only fails to boost a target’s
powers, but loses 1 Satiety as her Horror rebels against being
ordered about in this fashion. In addition, the target suffers a
dramatic failure on the next use of a supernatural power this
scene (the target receives a Beat when this happens). He may not
receive another use of Mother’s Kiss until after this failure occurs.
Failure: The Beast fails to augment the target’s powers.
Success: The target gains a pool of dice equal to the player’s
successes. For the rest of the scene, he may add these dice to
any roll for a supernatural power. Dice must be allocated before
a roll is made; they cannot be added afterward. Once dice are
sed, they are removed from this pool. If a power does not
require a roll, the Storyteller may allow it to receive a narrative
benefit based on the number of dice expended — the more dice
spent, the greater the benefit potentially generated.
Exceptional Success: As above, plus the target immediately
refreshes 1 Willpower point, plus an additional Willpower
point for every success above five. This may take her over her
normal Willpower maximum. Any Willpower points in excess
of her maximum rating are lost at the end of the current scene.

Passing Resemblance
This power allows a Beast to 'pass' as another supernatural type that they have a Family Tie with. Usually to pass through hostile territory, ally suspicion, or escape immediate harm. It doesn't confer any actual new capabilities but it allows them to 'detect' as that kind of creature under casual inspection.

For a single point of willpower and an active family ties merit this power lasts for a scene. Notably this power is only a perfect disguise if the detecting person couldn't detect beasts with whatever method they're using. So a Beast using this gift would trigger the predator's taint with a Vampire, but if a werewolf uses a "Detect Supernatural Creature" gift on the beast, he would need to win a clash of wills to keep up the disguise. If a beast is at high satiety, the nightmare provides some minor visual illusions to keep the charade afloat. A "Vampire" would look paler and appear to not be breathing. a "Changeling" would have a somewhat horrific fae mien based off of their Horror's appearance.

Family Dinner
AKA: Let's blow the whole power dynamic and double-edged sword that is Feeding out of the water. A Beast can accompany any supernatural creature while it hunts, feeds, or both and gain sustenance from it. It doesn't matter if it's a vampire bleeding some drunk in an ally or a Werewolf stalking an intruder, as long as they are actively tracking prey and/or taking sustenance from the hunt. The Storyteller has final say on if it counts or not, but it needs to involve a monster's supernatural nature or appetites directly. You can't take your werewolf friend out to Burger King.

If the beast witnessed a successful hunt (one that results in taking down the intended quarry either literally or figuratively) they gain one Satiety. If they witness a feeding they gain one satiety. If they witness a hunt that results in a feeding they gain two. A Beast does not need to make her presence known to benefit from this, they could just stalk an unsuspecting vampire from the rooftops. But each successful use of Family Dinner removes a door on an attempt to place Family Ties on the target. If you already have the Family Ties condition on the target of Family Dinner, you gain another point of satiety. And a beast can choose to regain less satiety if they want to 'stay hungry' (AKA: For the love of god do not go to 10 satiety). You can only feed in this way once a scene, the target of the target's hunt cannot be a willing victim, and you need to be physically present. You can't feed via CCTV.

The Horrors just off the path
Beasts are also the unquestioned masters of the Primordial Pathways, they can go basically anywhere they want. Very few things can stop a determined beast from going anywhere they really want to go.

Skeleton Key
You know how there are several supernatural creatures that are very particular about their privacy? Werewolves like their Loci into the shadow, Changelings like their rooms hidden in the Hedge, Sin Eaters use their Avernian Gates to access the Underworld... well fuck that shit, the Beastly Kool-Aid man is here to tell that door to open the fuck up.

It doesn't specifically damage the gateway in any fashion, but to those who know how such things normally work it looks decidedly unnatural as a palpable sense of overwhelming force ripples through the area. As though some great force ripped the door off it's hinges right before it opened normally. Even if a portal resists being opened in this manner, the beast suffers enough backlash for it to be obvious that something isn't working right. That said Beasts have no innate way to sense these gateways, and need to at least know it's there before they can do their work. But once they know it's there they can use this power all they want. They can also, if they so choose, rip open such a doorway and tell it to instead make a path to the Primordial Dream. They can even do this to a Demon's Bolthole, but they can't actually open a Bolthole to the demon's secret realm, just the Primordial Dream. That said a Demon probably isn't super happy about it anyway.


Cost: 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Resolve + Occult + Lair vs. Supernatural
Tolerance of the gate’s creator or current owner, whichever is
higher. If no such rating readily exists, the Storyteller should
assign a rating based on how well-used the gateway is, with very
active gates being easier to open. If the gateway has a security
rating of some kind, add that to the resistance roll.
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Beast not only fails to open the
gateway, but it slams shut on her, causing a psychic backlash.
Roll the gateway’s Supernatural Tolerance — the Beast suffers
one level of bashing damage per success on this roll. In addition,
the owner of the gateway, if any, is immediately alerted to the
fact that someone who is not one of his kind attempted to
force the crossing.
Failure: The Beast fails to open the gateway.
Success: The gateway opens, allowing travel between
worlds for a number of turns equal to successes rolled or until
the Beast wills it closed as a reflexive action. This applies even
if the gateway is normally open for a much longer or shorter
period of time. A gateway can only be connected to one realm
at a time — either its normal destination or the Primordial
Dream. If the Beast wishes to switch the destination, she must
end the current use of Skeleton Key and activate it once again.
Exceptional Success: As success, but using this particular
gateway does not require a Willpower point for the rest of the
story — the shadow of the Horror lingers on the portal, removing
some of the difficulty in crossing between worlds for the Beast.
A roll is still required as normal.

Under the Bed
The easiest way for a Beast to access the Primordial Dream is through their lair, but if they're pressed for time, and want to absolutely ruin someone's day, they can leave a back-door in someone else's nightmares. To set up such a connection, the Beast must first sate their Hunger in the targets presence. They can be an accomplice, victim, or witness, and they don't even need to be aware of what's going on, but there must be no question in their mind that the Beast is responsible for it. After that all it takes is a point of satiety from the Beast and the connection is set. The beast can have no more of these back doors than they have dots in Lair, and the target cannot themselves be a supernatural creature.

The Beast much approach the target while their sleeping, and spend another point of Satiety, this infects the target with a savage nightmare which opens up a portal directly to the Primordial Dream, which the Beast slips through.


Cost: 1 Satiety
Dice Pool: Presence + Satiety vs. Integrity. If the Beast is
a blood relative, she adds 3 dice to her roll.
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Beast is unable to enter the
Primordial Pathways through the target’s nightmares, and the
resulting psychic turmoil reverberates through the Primordial
Dream. Any Heroes in the same region feel the reverberations
and can track the Beast’s location (see p. 206).
Failure: The target’s mind shrugs off the Beast’s efforts
to infect them with a suitable nightmare; no travel to the
Primordial Pathways occurs.
Success: The Beast is able to step through the target’s
nightmares into the Primordial Pathways. She cannot
bring others along — this passage is an expression of her
connection to the target, and the passage itself reflects a
distorted version of the events in the target’s mind as a
result. The target gains the Spooked Condition regarding
the Beast and that night has terrifying nightmares involving
the Beast and her Hunger. While the target may not wake
up assuming that the Beast is actually a supernatural being,
he will likely be a bit wary around her for a while, even if he
can’t exactly explain why. The Beast gains no Satiety from this
dream, however, as the Horror doesn’t linger in the dream.
Exceptional Success: An especially potent connection
to the Primordial Dream is created; the Beast may make a
number of additional trips equal to her Lair rating before
rolling again, and the target does not need to be asleep for
the Beast to use this ability. The Beast must still be in close
proximity to her target and spend Satiety for each trip.
Unfortunately, a nightmare this powerful is very hard on
the target’s mind — he suffers a breaking point as a result of the
intense nightmares. Even if he successfully wards off Integrity
loss, the target awakens with absolute certainty of the Beast’s true
nature; if he was already aware of it, he sees the worst possible
aspect of the Beast. He is considered hostile to the Beast for
the purposes of Social maneuvering, requiring tremendous
effort to repair relations.
If you actually do this, it means that you planned to do this, and you're probably a horrible fucking person. Just FYI.

Hold the Door
A Beast can let others into their lair if they so choose. They must be at an entrance to the lair and grant their express consent. After that any named target can simply walk in with the beast. If the lair is shared by a Brood they're instantly aware when outsiders have been given access. If they've met the target before they know exactly who has been brought in, and they maintain an image of the person which can be recognized later unless they change their appearance. Both mortals and supernaturals can use such a door, but a mortal will probably take a breaking point from the experience. A Beast can be bribed, bullied, or coerced into providing consent, but not supernaturally compelled. The permission must be genuine, if begrudging.

Be My Guest
Alternately, the Beast can spend a point of Satiety and give a target free access to come and go to his Lair as they please. This is a rare and closely guarded privilege and a Brood will probably be very very angry if they aren't consulted before such a privilege is given. Unlike with Hold the Door, a mortal's mind is shielded from the worst a lair can offer with the use of this power. The Lair recognizes the mortal as a valued guest and eases off on them. Such permission can be revoked at any time, but if the target is in the lair already it won't forcibly remove them.

Next Time: Lairs and Feeding

Chapter 3: Part 2

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 3: Part 2

Lair is a a measure of how 'big' a Beast's lair is, It's also the Beast's 'blood potency' or 'primal urge'. It's a measure of how strong they are, and how strong they can be. As their lair increases in size, they can add additional chambers, and add additional traits to their lair. Lair also imposes a limit on how many lair traits they can impose upon the real world in a scene, which is something we'll go over later. And since Lair is "Blood Potency" once they get to 6 lair or higher, they can start increasing their traits beyond human maximum and increasing your lifespan. It also serves as your supernatural tolerance trait

The Primordial Dream
All humans are connected on a spiritual level. All human lives are just fins on the great leviathan that is the Temenos, the bright dream. The human racial memory that contains all concepts shared between humans, the sum total of their civilization and culture. But down beneath even that is the Primordial dream, the animal instincts that we couldn't get rid of but hide behind the veneer of civilization.

God I feel dumb even quoting this.

The Hive
All the chambers in a region are a part of a larger region known as the Hive. The Apex of the area (Whether they're actually aware of it or not) exert their influence on the Hive. A Werewolf known for mercilessly hunting down foes might cause the chambers to echo with howls and smell of blood. A Mage known for their prowess with storms might cause peals of thunder and random lightning strikes. If the Apex is a Beast, then the Hive reflects their lair, a Makara might cause a single great river to flow through every chamber in the hive.

The Horrors of the Beasts in the area roam through the Hive while beasts sleep. If they're hungry they feed on sleeping humans and cause nightmares, these nightmares are no more damaging or traumatic as any other dream unless the Horrors repeatedly feed on the same person over and over again. Beasts can choose to sever their connection from the Hive, usually done if the Apex in the area is using their status to manipulate the other beasts or make their lives hell. But doing so limits the range their Horror can roam and makes attracting heroes more likely.

Chambers and Burrows
Chambers are Rooms in the Primordial Dream, they're connected via hallways called Burrows. Chambers also correspond to the physical location they represent. Beasts can attach a chamber to their lair by finding the physical location that corresponds to the Chamber as long as that location contains at least one trait that matches one of the Beast's lair trait and either A)The beast achieved an exceptional success on a Nightmare roll in the location B)Another character lost integrity/morality via a breaking point with the Beast present or C)a human character lost integrity in the location via an encounter with the supernatural. In the case of C the Beast needs to learn what happened and what supernatural being was involved before adding it to their lair, they can do this by examining the location and "tuning into it".


Dice Pool: Wits + Occult + Lair
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Horror takes a strong, instinctive
dislike to the Chamber and whoever spawned it. If the
Beast’s Satiety falls below 5 during the next week, the Horror
automatically seeks out the mortal whose Integrity loss caused
the Chamber and feeds on his dreams. The Beast can never
add this location to her Lair.
Failure: The Beast cannot find any information about
the Chamber this way, but can still investigate the area by
mundane means.
Success: The Beast sees a brief, muted vision of the
incident that led to the creation of the Chamber. If she
sees the supernatural being or the mortal victim again,
she recognizes them. If the Beast investigates the incident
further, the player may add the successes on this roll as a
positive modifier to any involved rolls. Each of these dice can
be used only once, but they can be split between multiple
rolls during the investigation. For example, if a player rolls
three successes on the roll to learn about the Chamber,
and later rolls to persuade a contact to tell her about what
happened in that location, she can apply a +3 modifier (using
all of the dice) or apply a +1 or +2 modifier and keep the
remainder for other actions.
Exceptional Success: As above. In addition, the Beast can
follow the psychic trail of either the supernatural being or the
victim (not both) to wherever they went after the incident. The
trail goes cold after approximately half a mile.
Chambers can last up to 5 years without being attached to a lair. But if even a week has gone by it gets harder to 'tune into' the chamber. Somewhat more, well not amusingly, but interestingly. If a Beast particularly likes a chamber but doesn't want to bother finding out more information about it, they can drag a mortal to the area and scare them into losing integrity to 'refresh' the chamber and add it. Once the Beast knows exactly what happened in a Chamber, and as long as it meets the trait requirement, the Beast can spend a point of Satiety and add the Chamber to their lair. This process is taxing, however, and can only be done once a story.

While stealing a chamber from the Astral might be useful for, say, protecting your Heart, it's basically worthless for actually getting to your lair normally. And you'd have to fuck with a mage buddy to get it.

The Heart
The first chamber of a Beast's lair is the Heart. It doesn't correspond to any physical location so it's less useful when opening a Primordial pathway, but that's also a good thing, since if a Heart is collapsed then the Beast Dies.

Burrows are fluid dream-bridges between two Chambers. In the case of a Hospital chamber and a Factory chamber, this might manifest as a road between them. But you can link a Volcano and a back alley and the Burrow will figure out something. Every chamber in a Lair links to at least one other chamber. They can add another Burrow at any time by spending a point of Satiety, and remap them all with a point of willpower as long as no one is currently using them. But a Beast can only do this once a chapter.

Brood Lairs
Beasts are, in some way "The same Horror" just like all humans are "The same bright dream". So Beasts can join their lairs together. If a Beast spends at least a chapter interacting with another Beast, they can spend a point of Satiety when redefining their burrows to link one of their chambers to another Beasts' chamber. The other Beast can resist this with a clash of wills immediately. Or another Clash of wills when redefining their own Burrows to break the connection.
Secondly, two Beasts can make the same location a Chamber. Either by both being present for the same breaking point or by bringing another beast there after the fact and explaining what went down. This is simultaneously more intimate and more secure, as it creates two chambers superimposed over each other as a part of both of their lairs and can't be so casually broken away, but a Beast can collapse the chamber in their lair without the other Beast having a say in the matter. It's usually useful to draw out lair connections, especially with massive brood lairs.

Accessing the Lair
Soul Communion
Even while in the physical world, a Beast is aware of her Horror's satiety and mood. She doesn't know what it's doing but she can feel it's emotions mingling with it's own. At any time, no matter where she is, a Beast can concentrate to experience the inside of her Lair from her Horror's perspective. This is only a reflexive action, but remotely controlling the Horror requires an instant action, such that you can't act independently in the physical world and lose your defense.

Primordial Pathways
Beasts can open up pathways to and from their Lair whenever they need to act in their Horror's stead, or if they want to use their amazing cheaty Beast powers to go literally anywhere. It's more difficult to go someplace that isn't the physical location where a Chamber was created, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible. If you apply enough of your lair traits to a location you can overcome that difficulty, and it's still easier to go from your lair to the Hedge than it is from your lair to someplace that isn't a Chamber's physical location.

Pathways aren't portals or magic doors, a pathway causes the two locations to "overlap", and be both a part of the Lair and not. Anyone who was physically in the location beforehand who tries to leave finds themselves in the Beast's Lair, anyone still in the chamber when the pathway closes is safely returned to the physical world, including the Beast.


A Tyrant Anakim has incorporated an abandoned high school as a Chamber in his Lair. On the run from a group of mortal monster-hunters (though not, thankfully, Heroes), he leads his pursuers into the school and opens the Primordial Pathway. For a few seconds, the interior of the school becomes both the material world and the Chamber in his Lair, and the Anakim immediately merges with his Horror. Faced by the hulking monster where their target once stood, the hunters panic. Two gird themselves and fight, while the third attempts to flee the school. While the Pathway is still open, however, she instead transitions through a Burrow into another Chamber. Killing one of the other hunters, the Anakim closes the Pathway — the school returns to normal, the Beast appears to transform back into his mortal body as he separates from his Horror again, and the remaining hunter who stayed returns as well. The hunter who left the Chamber, however, remains behind in the Lair, easy pickings for the Anakim’s Horror.

Invited and Uninvited Guests
Any supernatural being that can access the dreams or soul of someone inside the lair can find themselves in the primordial dream. Changelings can accidentally feed upon someone the beast is predating. A Mage can be exploring the astral realms and find a Primordial Pathway. Heroes can straight up open the path into a lair to do battle with the Horror within.

When a Beast approves of someone in their lair, they can choose to protect the guest from any lair traits that they choose to protect them from, and allow them through burrows with a reflexive action. Intruders, however, have to deal with any tilts in effect and have to force their way through Burrows with a point of willpower and an Int+resolve roll opposed by the Horror's Power+Resistance. This takes Lair/2 turns to accomplish.

Dream Form
Visitors or intruders using a primordial pathway from anything but the Primordial Dream are present in the Beast's lair physically. While characters who's nightmares touch the dream (Pre-Devouring Beasts, people the Horror has nightmare yanked inside) are in an astral "Dream form" which uses different rules for Attributes and Health.
Dream form characters are basically spirits so they only have Power, Finesse and Resistance. For most people this is equal to Intelligence, Wits, and Resolve. Dream Health is equal to Resolve + Your characters Attribute maximum (read: 5 for basically everyone) The last boxes of Dream Health impose penalties the same as physical health. When a Beast Merges with it's Horror they have the highest amount of damage as either of them.

Inflicting Nightmares
If a Beast goes too long without indulging her Hunger, the Horror takes matter into it's own appendages. The more powerfult he Horror, the shorter the period of time it can go without being sated and the more brutal it's attacks on dreamers. While the Beast sleeps, the horror hunts.

If the time elapses without Satiety rising to 4 or higher, the starving Horror ventures out of the Lair through the Dream, searching for suitable prey while the Beast sleeps. Any humans who are in a deep state of unconsciousness (dreaming, in a coma, unconcious through injury, on drugs, meditation, etc) The Horror selects a target at random and goes to town.


Dice Pool: Power + Lair – Composure
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Horror cannot penetrate the dreamer’s mind and howls in rage and pain. Any Heroes in the same region as the Beast can track her, as described on p. 206.
Failure: The Horror inflicts dreams of its presence and Hunger on the targeted individual, but is not sated.
Success: The Horror inflicts dreams of its presence and Hunger on the targeted individual. He loses a point of Willpower while the Beast gains 1 Satiety. The target awakens feeling restless and disturbed, but (at least after one such dream), with no lasting damage.
Exceptional Success: The Horror, not satisfied with simple nightmares, seizes the targeted individual and drags him into the Lair via a Primordial Pathway. The Horror then hunts down the individual and attempts to “kill” him. If he loses all Astral Health within the Lair, the Beast gains the victim’s Willpower
dots in Satiety. When the victim awakens, he has the Soul Shocked Condition (p. 325). Any Heroes in the region can attempt to track the Beast, as described in Chapter Five.
If the Horror doesn't raise Satiety to Sated, it feeds again after another interval.

Repeated Feeding


If a Horror feeds on a given target once, the target normally doesn’t suffer any lasting ill effects. He has a nightmare — an intense one, granted, probably enough of a shock to merit some time holding a loved one, maybe even prompting him to reconnect with an estranged parent or something similar, depending on how he copes with fear. Even if the Horror drags the person into its Lair, the worst that happens, mechanically, is that the victim is out of Willpower for a few days. As long as he gets some rest, he’ll be fine.
I hate how even when they're describing the Beast's biggest failing the game is still self aggrandizing. Oh thank god that the Beast didn't feed, he allowed Billy to reconnect with his family through existential terror.

That said if a Horror feeds lightly and the Beast doesn't pick up the slack, the Horror will feed again, and it will go for the easiest target it can find. Left to it's own devices it will find someone it fed on before and keep feeding, night after night, because it's easier. Each time a Horror feeds on the same person, the roll to enter the dream receives a +1 modifier. Eventually you are going to get an exceptional success and attract a hero. "Less savory" Beasts will use this tendency of the Horror to fuck with people they hate while still maintaining plausible deniability.

The Hive
If the Apex trait of your hive is one of your lair traits, or the Apex is a beast who has granted you immunity to the trait, your Horror can roam the entire hive rather than being limited to your Lair in miles. This doesn't prevent your Horror from visiting the same person every night, but you can spend a point of willpower before sleeping to nudge your Horror someplace else. If you've closed your Lair off from the Hive you're limited to a radius of Lair/2 in miles.

Destroying the Lair
Intruders can collapse a chamber inside a Lair to reduce the Owner's capabilities and eventually cornering the Beast in it's heart. Collapsing a chamber is a difficult process during which the Beast and/or it's Horror is likely to go on the counterattack. If the intruder is a Hero with an Anathema, or if the Horror is incapacitated. This can be devastating or deadly. Beasts can also willingly close off a chamber to close off an avenue of attack.


Dice Pool: Intelligence + Resolve
Action: Extended. Target number of successes is equal to three times the Beast’s Lair rating for a Chamber, or five times the Lair rating for the Heart. If the Beast is conscious and resisting, the roll is also resisted by her Resolve. If the Beast is collapsing her own Lair, each roll gains a dice bonus equal to her Composure.
Time per Roll: The Beast’s Lair rating in minutes.
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Chamber is not collapsed, and the Beast rallies. The Beast regains all Willpower; the intruder loses all progress against the target number of successes.
Failure: The intruder makes no progress on collapsing the Chamber. He may give up or continue after taking a Condition. If the Beast was not aware of the presence of intruders within her Lair, she is now alerted.
Success: The intruder makes progress on collapsing the Chamber. If a Beast was not aware of the presence of intruders within her Lair, she is now alerted.
Exceptional Success: The intruder makes great progress on collapsing the Chamber. Choose one of the exceptional success in an extended action (p. 158.)

Once the target number is hit, the Lair starts to collapse. Anyone inside must escape through a Burrow within the Beast's Lair Raiting in rounds. Anyone still in the chamber when it collapses is ejected if there's an open primordial pathway connected to the chamber, otherwise they just fucking die. Characters who are only present in dream form get ejected and soul shocked. A Beast attacking another Beast's lair can instead steal the chamber with a point of satiety as long a they have a chamber open for the story. Anyone still in the chamber suddenly finds themselves attached to a new lair with new traits.

Which leads us to.
Lair Traits
Minor and Major Traits
Traits are divided into minor and major traits. This is mostly an elementary distinction for reasons we'll discover lator, but at least one of your lair traits needs to be minor. The reason why I say this is an elementary distinction is that Minor traits are at least possible in the physical world without the use of magic. They can provide dice penalties or bonuses to skills or count as Extreme environments with a rating of 2 or less. Major traits usually impose tilts that aren't physically possible, anything from turning people to salt or acid rain made of lava. These can provide dice penalties, bonuses to attributes, or derived traits like speed and defense. Or an Extreme Environment up to level 4.

Imposing Traits
When a beast finds himself in a situation outside their lair with one or more of his lair trait tilts already in effect, the location is considered resonant with their traits. While resonant they can impose any other lair traits they choose up to the limit imposed by their lair rating. At rank 1 this means you use one to impose the other.

Beasts often use guile and manipulation of the terrain to set this off, or capitalize on the poewr of other supernatural beings. Like setting off the sprinklers to take advantage of the "Downpour". At the end of the scene, or when the Beast wishes it to stop, the imposed lair traits vanish, though their aftereffects remain. Turning the air to acid will leave behind pitted and scarred furniture, but there will be no sign of the chemicals that caused such damage.

Environmental Immunity
The minotaur is not confused by it's cave. Beasts are immune to any environmental tilt matching their lair traits even if they occur naturally. This does not confer supernatural power unless it directly matches the tilt, an area can be cramped without being "Cramped", and it wouldn't suddenly grant your Anakim the ability to fit through a mouse hole unless he chose to impose the trait. But one who did that should be careful not to leave their area of influence while mouse sized.

Brood Lairs
A beast can use a Lair Trait from one of his Brood as either the trigger for imposing tilts, or one of the tilts they impose. They can also spend a point of willpower to grant their Brood immunity to their invoked traits. They don't gain immunity to naturally occuring traits.

Chambers and Lair Traits
If a location doesn't have any tilts that match your lair, but was used to create one of your chambers, y ou can spend a point of satiety to impose any of your lair traits without needing the initial tilt. If the area is instead similar, you can spend a point of willpower and roll wits+resolve with a penalty that gets more severe as you leave "Exact" (I.E. a Highschool when you have a Highschool chamber) to spiritual similarity (A School) to Narrative similarity (A room full of books) or descriptive similarity (You threw a book on the floor and screamed "School" at the top of your lungs).

Lair Traits
I could go into more detail and describe all the major and minor lair traits, but this is kind of a solved problem. Cause there's one lair trait that's easier to invoke than literally any other.
Poor Light (Minor)
Dim illumination, strobes, or flickering lights make it difficult to track movement and see clearly. Affected characters suffer a –2 penalty to visual-based Perception rolls, including ranged combat, rising to –3 at medium range and –4 at long range.

Seriously, how can "Sun reflecting off of snow and/or sand" "Dense tangled undergrowth" or "Literally a blizzard" compete in utility with "You turned off the lights"? So what does your Beast take as their second trait?
The Lair is engulfed in flame, whether in whole or part, burning anything combustible within the Chamber. To serve as a Lair Trait, a fire must be at least bonfire size (see p. 172 for fire rules) but a whole Chamber is usually an inferno. When this Trait is bought, the Beast’s player specifies the Size and
Intensity of the flames, which she must then match in order to use the Trait in Trait Imposition. Her environmental immunity, however, extends to all flames up to her Lair rating.
Whether it’s a pool of acid, a corrosive atmosphere, or more overtly supernatural environments such as flash-rusting metal or organic matter slowly petrifying or turning to salt, something in the Lair eats away at flesh and degrades matter. The Beast’s player defines what the corrosion affects based on the Lair’s description. Affected characters suffer one aggravated damage per turn of exposure, and objects lose one Durability per turn.
The Lair is pitch-dark beyond the capacity of human nightvision — the darkness of a cave or a sealed room, not simply night. Without a source of illumination, characters within the affected area suffer a –5 penalty to any rolls involving vision and lose all Defense.
The Lair features electrical hazards — bio-electrical stings, live rails, electrified fences, or simply lightning. When this Trait is bought, the Beast’s player defines whether the Trait represents Major, Severe, or Fatal levels of electricity as per the rules on p. 171. To use this Trait as the initial Trait in Trait Imposition, she must match the appropriate severity. Her environmental immunity applies to sources of electricity up to the Trait’s severity.
Suffocating (Major)
Rather than a harmful atmosphere as in Noxious Gases, a Suffocating Lair simply lacks oxygen altogether. It may represent the impossible heights of a mountain, the depths of a sealed cave, or simply be underwater. No matter how the trait manifests itself, characters staying within the affected area beyond their ability to hold their breath begin suffocating or drowning as per the rules on p. 328.
You turned off the lights, now everyone is dying in pitch darkness in your magical murder lair that leaves behind no evidence.

At Literally No Cost

Pictured: Artists Rendition of every lair ever.


Examples of Lair Construction
He served on a Russian submarine before his Devouring, and lay awake at night thinking of the terrible pressure and dark water all around his fragile world. He dreamt of tentacled things in the deep, wrapping themselves around the metal shell of his vessel, until he realized that the creature in the depths was him. The Makara’s Horror takes the form of a sea monster attacking a submarine, rupturing its hull and feeding from the panic of the dreaming sailors as water flood the ship. His Lair contains the Flooded, Downpour, Thin Air, and Sealed Exits Traits.

She seeks out those who victimize others, catches them with her surprising strength, and renders them unconscious. It’s not enough to be stronger than those who use their strength against the weak — this minotaur has a sense of justice. Her prey wake to find themselves in pitch-darkness, her mocking voice telling them that if they can find their way out, they can go free. When they put their hands to the walls
to guide themselves, stumbling in the dark, they slice their palms on the glass and nails studding the maze. The labyrinth is impossibly large; they die of blood loss long before they see daylight. The minotaur feels their fear, desperation, and final, sad resignation as they die alone in the dark, taking a measure of satisfaction along with sating her hunger. The Anakim’s Lair contains the Maze, Razored, and Darkness Traits.
These people aren't minmaxing enough.

This chapter is long and I'm easing myself back into it, so this is a good place to stop for now

Up Next: Smothering Frat Boys in their own vomit

Chapter 3: Part 3

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 3: Part 3
Time to delve back into the Atrocity Mine.


Beasts hunger. The Horror doesn’t just want sustenance. It wants to feast. Beasts hunger for power, or violence, or possession, like the monsters they are. Their Hungers aren’t biological urges, but jealous, vicious needs. Beasts strive to teach their victims something, but deep down, they know that this is merely something they do to give context to their feeding. The Horror doesn’t care about the lesson. All it cares about is Satiety.
Yet more evidence that Beasts are horrible blights on the world that don't really need to exist, unfortunately we're on page 108 of 358 so They're going to keep talking about this shit.

Levels of Satiety
Satiety is measured from 0-10, and divided into 5 levels throughout that range. All of these levels are represented by Conditions.

This is suitably harsh, you want to avoid this at all costs unless forced to, but take note of that “Satiety potential 8” thing. Or you can just kill a Hero

What you can take away from this is that the optimal way to play a Beast is to feed from starving to gorged and then spend down to starving again. Congratulations you just got an experience point probably.



Beasts feed by satisfying their Hungers. Doing so can be as simple as a Tyrant shoving a victim up against a wall and screaming in his face, or as elaborate as a Ravager slowly dismantling a victim’s life, piece by piece, until he’s either completely ruined or he breaks off contact with the Beast. In either case, the moment of feeding happens when the victim experiences the shock.

The shock happens at the moment where a victim realizes what is happening. If he learns a lesson, the shock is the instant in which it crystalizes. Beasts liken the shock to the moment when one awakens, startled, from a nightmare — a moment that every Beast is well familiar with, having experienced it many times before the Devouring. This comparison is not completely apt, however; a victim can also experience the shock at the moment of death.
The "shock" is the victim's soul leaving its imprint on the Primordial Dream, which strengthens the Horror. Which more solidifies the fact that it's never about the lesson, it's about the Horror. The Satiety potential of a feed is always up to the Storyteller to decide, but it can never go above a 10. It does provide some guidelines. Something that requires no time or effort is a base 1, something that requires a scene is 3, something that requires a chapter's worth of preparation is 5. The victim dying increases the potential by 4, and doing something like attacking multiple victims at once, feeding in your lair, doing an extended chase, or spending satiety in the hunt also increase the potential. A meal not fitting with your specific Hunger only inflicts a paltry -1 penalty to potential, less than "Someone else procured the meal for you" which is -2. It also says that merit purchases might also qualify as feeding, a Tyrant purchasing Status for example. Which just seems like double dipping since feeding progresses you through satiety conditions which gives you XP.

If the final satiety potential is equal to or greater than your current satiety, you roll at the end of the scene. A Dramatic failure loses you a point of Satiety and you need to feed again by the end of the chapter or you lose another. Failure gets you nothing. A success gains you your successes in Satiety but you can only chose to take less points than you rolled if you got an Exceptional Success. That's why I say that feeding when you're above 6 Satiety is risky, and 7 is downright suicidal. Cause if you don't get an exceptional success you're probably screwed.

And remember what I said earlier about needing a potential 8 feed to get out of Ravenous? Since Ravenous precludes advanced planning the only way to reasonably pull it off is to murder someone.

The Protagonists lady and gentlemen.

The Hungers
Here we get into the examples of what different Hungers view as high/moderate/low satiety feeds, I'm not going to go into all of the examples but I'm going to point out the egregious ones.


High Satiety: The Collector must hunt for rare, very specific examples of his desire. He can’t settle for any blonde man as a lover; he needs a blonde virgin with a large birthmark on his ass, a soprano voice, a boyish stutter, and who would be outraged by the Beast’s seduction.
Like Gay Rape.


High Satiety: For high Satiety, a Beast lingers over the punishment. Death traps, long sessions of torture, systematically hunting down and crippling the target’s friends, or socially isolating the victim by turning his friends against him all count. The delicate balance here is making sure the target survives long enough to know why he’s being punished.
Or Saw.


High Satiety: For high Satiety, the destruction must be obvious and extensive, or the target must be widely accepted to be valuable or in use by many people. A Beast could destroy a large swath of property and then feast on the feelings of horror as the pictures go viral. She could kill a beloved celebrity, or smash a religious artifact.
But, celebritys are people, not things, that would be a hunger for Prey.. right? Who knows and who cares!
The Example Feed
I'm going to break with tradition here and post the Kickstarter version first, you'll understand why later.


Example of Gaining Satiety
Mrs. Winters, Magda’s character, is running a little low — she’s only got two dots of Satiety and she’d rather not risk becoming Ravenous. She Hungers for Punishment, and her particular favorite flavor is punishing those who harm the children in her neighborhood. As it happens, Halloween was last week, and she noted a young man named Brent snatching bags of candy from some of the youngsters.

Magda decides Mrs. Winters doesn’t need to be subtle or elaborate about her punishment, not this time. She breaks into Brent’s house while he’s away and notes that he’s got a bunch of candy on his coffee table. She grabs a few soft candies and injects them with a mild poison — nothing fatal, but enough to make the bully very ill. She lurks upstairs for a while, and waits until she hears him start to retch. She then creeps up behind him with a thick plastic bag (one of the bags of candy he stole from a child) and holds it over his face until he nearly blacks out. As he lies there panting, she whispers, “Now, you behave. We see what you do on All Hallow’s Eve, and we remember.”

Just to drive the point home, she uses the You Deserve This Nightmare on Brent, and Magda is delighted to see that she’s rolled an exceptional success! That means that if the house is dark enough to match the Darkness Lair Trait of Mrs. Winters’ Lair, Magda can spend a dot of Satiety and turn this place into a new Chamber. She decides to do so; she likes the idea of having an inhabited house as a Chamber, and she doesn’t care if her Soul inflicts nightmares on Brent (and besides, the Storyteller figures Brent would make a great Hero).

At the end of the scene, Magda and Orson, the Storyteller, figure out the Satiety roll. The base potential is 3 (Mrs. Winters had to do some preparation, but it didn’t take more than a scene). She adds one because the act fits with Mrs. Winters’ particular proclivities, and another because it fulfills one of her Aspirations (“protect the children in the neighborhood”). Finally, since she spent Satiety to add a Chamber, she asks Orson if that counts as spending Satiety on the hunt. He agrees that it does, and also has her add one die because nearly smothering Brent with a trick-or treat bag was a really nice touch. Her Satiety potential is now seven dice. Magda rolls and gets three successes, meaning her Satiety is now 4 (she started at 2, spent one during the scene, and then added three). She resolves the Starving Condition (and thus takes a Beat) and replaces it with Sated.
I would like to point out that she waited until he started to retch before smothering him, meaning she smothered him in his own vomit. People were understandably alarmed at this ludicrously disproportionate response to someone stealing candy so they fixed it in the final version.

They made Brent a Frat Boy.

I mean they also changed the "he would make a good hero" bit to "he would be able to help heroes find Mrs Winters" thing as well but otherwise it's completely unchanged

A frat boy stealing candy from children seems ludicrously petty. In the sense that "it probably would not happen ever." A teenager might, but no we have to use the acceptable targets that Geeks are okay with. Also using "You Deserve This" and turning his house into a chamber is bordering on "ruining his life forever" territory.

Losing Satiety
Beasts lose satiety when they reorganize their lair, activate certain Atavisms or Nightmares, use accelerated healing while in their Lair, or gradually over time. You can do this as an X per Week/day thing, but the suggested method is that (Lair) times per story the Storyteller can make THE OFFER, suggesting that you trade out a Satiety point for a Beat, there's nothing saying you have to, but Beats are Beats.

These are mostly retreads of the Core CofD Merits, but one thing that's new are "Advanced" and "Epic" Merits, which are upgraded versions of lesser merits that are their prerequisites. And usually require that you be a Beast and have higher stats than the lesser ones. For example, Normal Direction Sense just kind of lets you know where you are in space and makes sure you don't take penalties to navigate. Advanced Direction Sense lets you know where anything you've seen, touched, smelled, or directly touched is at any time. Epic direction sense lets you track things through time if something was destroyed you can sense when and where it stopped existing. You can also "Stake out" a location in time, sending your perceptions back X hours and then waiting to see what happened. There's also an Advanced version of Giant that makes you supernaturally dense the more sated you are, but also has the drawback of "You tend to fall through residential flooring". Advanced fast reflexes lets you roll twice for Initiative and keep the better one. Basically Advanced Merits are just another subset of Beast Only powers that some non-beasts can use occasionally.

Pictured: the “Relentless Assault” Fighting style.

Atavisms are you "inflicting" bits and pieces of your horror onto reality. People can see the results of what happens easily enough, you breathe fire or suddenly people are being choked by unseen tentacles. But only those with supernatural sight can see the dragon or the kraken that you really are. Atavisms aren't magic spells, they're an inherent part of what a Beast is. And since Atavisms usually only affect the Beast, they don't get supernatural resistance rolls, or really any way to resist them at all.

Atavisms have three modes, a Normal Effect that happens if you're at 4 dots or higher. A Low Satiety effect if you're at 3 or less. And a Satiety expenditure that happens when you spend Satiety to activate it. If this expenditure brings you down to 3 you also get the Low Satiety effect, otherwise you get the High. If you're currently in an area that's resonant with your Lair, you can instead spend a Willpower point to get the Expenditure effect a number of times per scene equal to your Lair. Remember that one of your starting Atavisms has to match your "breed" but otherwise you're free to chose anything that suits your Horror, or really anything you want. "Dreams are Malleable."

I'm not going to talk about all the Atavisms, because there are several but i will give some examples.


Basilisk’s Touch [Namtaru]
Neither fire nor ferocity brought Beowulf to his knees. It was poison that sealed the king’s fate, presaging an era of warfare, darkness, and death for his kingdom, guaranteeing the dragon would have the last laugh even in death. Many Beasts have venom in their arsenal, from the wyvern’s sting to the hydra’s poisonous breath, but none more so than the Gorgons. Plague and poison literally run through their veins, much like the dreaded basilisk, whose mere touch was deadly and whose seeping poison scorched the earth in its wake. Applying the poison requires a touch attack (p. 165), but activating the Atavism itself is reflexive.

Dice Pool: None
Action: Reflexive
Normal Effect: The Beast’s touch applies either the Drugged Tilt or the grave version of the Poisoned Tilt to the victim. The player chooses which effect when this ability is used. Outside of combat, the poison lasts for a number of turns equal to the Beast’s Stamina and has a Toxicity rating equal to (10 – Satiety). The victim’s veins burn as the venom courses through his veins, eating away at him like acid, all while his vision swims and his head sickly throbs.

Low Satiety: The Beast’s venom is particularly insidious and long-lasting. In combat, increase the damage caused by the Poisoned Tilt or the Defense and Speed penalties from the Drugged Tilt by the Beast’s Lair rating, in addition to the normal effect. Out of combat, add the Beast’s Lair dots to the poison’s duration.

Satiety Expenditure: Venom drips from the Beast’s fingertips and greenish-black streaks course through the veins of his arm as he reaches out with a concentrated dose of poison. In addition to the other effects, the Beast’s touch applies the player’s choice of the Insensate or Stunned Tilts. Strength drains out of the victim, who struggles just to remain upright and functioning, leaving him vulnerable to whatever the Beast has in store for him. Vicious Gorgons prefer to render their
victims helpless so they can watch and
The out of combat effects aren't really what I'm worried about here, the Poisoned tilt inflicts 1 lethal a turn unless you succeed on a Stamina+Resolve check, if you decide to move this check takes a -3 penalty. If you use the Satiety expenditure version and choose Insensate (which you will) then they can't even move for a scene unless they spend a willpower point per turn, or until someone attacks them. To use MMO terminology, CC someone and inflict them with a DoT that can't expire? Fantastic.


Dragonfire [Eshmaki]
Dragons are implacable foes and harbingers of destruction. Possessed of terrible grandeur, their very presence quails the heart, and their ire brings the certainty of doom as they lay waste to everything in their path. Most people are cowed — if not driven in terror — by a Beast unleashing hellfire and striding confidently through the flames. Unfortunately, those consumed by the Hunger for Ruin hardly know when to stop.

Action: Reflexive
Normal Effect: Dragons delight in fear and destruction, both of which are always near at hand. The Beast need only open her jaws and unleash the hellfire building within her, and a curl of smoke or a dreadful gleam in her eyes is often her victim’s only warning. The Beast can blast individual targets in range (5/10/15) with gouts of fire. This counts as a ranged attack with a thrown weapon and requires a roll of Dexterity + Athletics – the opponent’s Defense. Damage is lethal and adds the Beast’s Lair dots as a weapon modifier. Flammable materials ignite on contact, turning the area into a raging inferno if it is not contained quickly. Then again, that may be the point.
Furthermore, fire causes no damage to the Beast, and she never suffers environmental penalties or damage caused by heat and smoke, which are like clear air to her. This is in addition to any environmental immunity from Lair Traits.

Low Satiety: A hungry dragon feels fire welling up uncontrollably from within. The Beast’s Dragonfire is capable of autofire as well as single blasts, including short, medium, and long bursts. This represents sustained torrents of fire, similar to a flamethrower, that can immolate multiple enemies or set large areas alight.

Satiety Expenditure: Flames dance in the Beast’s eyes as she spends a dot of Satiety and invokes a holocaust. Her next attack with Dragonfire has double its normal range and inflicts aggravated damage. Even incombustible materials can be reduced to ash by the onslaught, as Dragonfire ignores Durability equal to the Beast’s Lair dots. This is in addition to the normal and low Satiety effects.
On the one hand: thankfully it's a very short range (a light revolver's short range is 20) On the other hand Low Satiety gives you an infinite ammo auto-fire gun.


Infestation [Namtaru]
No Beast is ever truly alone, not even in his own head. The Horror constantly pushes him to fulfill its Hunger, and a Beast with this Atavism has it worse than most. Instead of one Horror, he has many, perhaps hundreds of insect voices. He hears them buzzing and chewing and crawling over each other at all hours of the day. He can — and must — surrender to them on occasion, dissolving his body into a cloud of angry red wasps or a carpet of writhing maggots. He is them and only them and their only united thought is to feed.

Dice Pool: N/A
Action: Reflexive
Normal Effect: The Beast need not surrender completely. He can squeeze through narrow gaps just by loosening himself a little, turning his body into a gestalt assemblage of insects that still — barely — looks human. His skin ripples and bulges as they move underneath, and individual insects occasionally crawl from his mouth and other openings. They are quickly swallowed or burrow under his skin again, but the effect is… unpleasant to say the least.
The Beast can safely squirm through any opening at least one foot in diameter, including many air conditioning ducts and major water pipes. He can hold his breath indefinitely while doing so, effectively being many insects instead of a single bony mammal. However, his Speed is halved and he is unable to apply his Defense against attackers in a confined space, not that anyone is likely to attack him while he is in a pipe.

Low Satiety: The Beast’s appearance as a unified whole is just an illusion, and a fragile one at that. Being less constrained by his bulky human form, though, he can go faster while squirming, moving up this normal Speed. Push the Beast too hard, though, and he nearly falls apart. Pieces of him get dislodged and turn into a mass of chewing insects before reforming seconds later. The Beast takes bashing, not lethal, damage from firearms and piercing weapons. Since he can activate this Atavism reflexively, the Beast can use it to avoid damage from an attack in combat, assuming he isn’t surprised (see p. 164). Ordinary fists and bludgeoning weapons do full normal damage, however, crushing multiple insects at a time. The Beast can brace himself for an attack, however, and turn the tables in horrible fashion. By giving up his Defense for a turn, the Beast can automatically inflict lethal damage equal to his Lair rating on any opponent foolish enough to strike him. The Beast’s skin ruptures and thousands of tiny bugs or creatures sting the attacker.

Satiety Expenditure: By spending a dot of Satiety, the Beast surrenders to the hive within, and his entire body disintegrates into a mass of insects or spiders, leaving his clothing and worldly possessions behind. In so doing, he becomes a swarm with a radius of two yards per dot of Lair. The area is reduced proportionate to the amount of damage inflicted on him. In other words, the swarm is reduced to half size once half of his Health boxes are filled with damage. The Beast can also condense to attack a single target, inflicting lethal damage each turn equal to his Lair dots.
In swarm form, the Beast can move at double his normal Speed. That includes through any opening, no matter how small, and in three dimensions, since the swarm can crawl or fly over virtually any surface. Furthermore, he can use other Atavisms, Nightmares, or supernatural abilities that do not require human faculties such as speech. Witnessing the swarm in action may be a breaking point for someone with a phobia of insects.
....alright yeah this is genuinely creepy.

Very genuinely creepy. Particularly since you could be a firebreathing swarm of insects.


Mimir’s Wisdom [Anakim]
Giants have an unfair reputation for being ponderous and stupid. It was the Greek Cyclopes whose weapons helped the gods seize power, the titan Prometheus who gave the secret of fire to mankind, and the giant Mimir to whom the Norse god Odin sacrificed his eye for knowledge. Anakim were the first pantheon of the primeval cosmos, both brutal and cunning, and they preserve secrets from the beginning of time.

Dice Pool: N/A
Action: Reflexive
Normal Effect: The Beast’s Horror sits at the Heart of his Lair like a spider in its web. It has an unblinking eye and faultless memory, and it pieces together patterns from his experience and knowledge ripped from those who suffer its nightmares. Occasionally, the Horror shares flashes of insight — so long as the Beast keeps it well fed. Its guidance yields several benefits:
• The Beast has the Eidetic Memory Merit for free.
• Any mundane attempt to deceive the Beast automatically fails. The truth is not necessarily revealed, but he knows when someone is lying to him or withholding information or when a crime scene has been tampered with to conceal evidence. Likewise, he knows when supernatural powers have been used to affect his thoughts or perceptions (though he can’t necessarily counter them).
• Once per chapter, the Beast’s player can request information from the Storyteller that sheds light on the problem at hand. This information is impersonal in that it never identifies a specific person. However, it can answer questions like, “Where is the murder weapon hidden?” or “What leverage works best on this person?”

Low Satiety: Hunger in no way dims the Beast’s awareness. It sharpens his mind to a deadly focus. He gains the rote quality on Mental Skill rolls aimed at sating his Hunger, such as Academics to research a valuable item (for a Collector) or Computer to ruin a rival by hacking his bank account (for a Tyrant). The penalty for using Mental Skills untrained is also reduced to -1, as the Beast falls back on the Horror’s knowledge when his is inadequate. In addition, the Beast knows one damning fact about anyone with whom he comes into physical contact. The Storyteller can provide the player with this information or simply give the target the Leveraged Condition, depending on the needs of the story. The fact in question tends to be one that the Beast can use to feed. A Ravager might learn what the target values most (so the Beast can then smash it), while a Nemesis learns whether the target has transgressed recently. The Beast still benefits from the normal effect while at low Satiety. However, the starving Horror is not forthright with its knowledge, and the Storyteller can opt to provide misleading (but factually correct) information if the player requests it.

Satiety Expenditure: The Beast digs deep into the Horror’s store of knowledge. Some consider it a drink from Mimir’s well. Others describe visions of lives other than their own. Either way, the Beast claims a treasure trove of information. He gains his Intelligence + Lair dots in temporary Mental Skill or Library (p. 117) dots for the next 24 hours. These dots are allocated as the player sees fit, including raising existing Skills. However, no Skill can be increased above the limit dictated by the Beast’s Lair rating. This is in addition to the normal and low Satiety effects.
This is neat but it feels very out of place as a "shapeshifting" effect, I guess it was so Anakim had something other than "is big" and "is strong" in their bag of tricks.

Nightmares are a Beast inflicting the primordial dream on someone. Exposing them to the "Primordial Truths" that they are nothing but prey huddled against the dark. While Atavisms are instinctual, Nightmares must be learned, either from another beast or by ferreting them out of the Depths of the Dream. Alternately you can use a Kinship to build a new Nightmare in line with your Kin's proclivities. A Kinship with an Iron Master could give you a werewolf Nightmare or a specific Iron Master Nightmare. To invoke a Nightmare a Beast must either touch a victim or have them look into their eyes (The victim must see the Beast's eyes, the Beast doesn't have to see theirs, one way glass or reflective sunglasses are fine, TVs are not), and say something relevant to invoking the nightmare. The victim doesn't have to understand what you're saying, and you can bury it in a conversation if you choose, but you have to say it. The effects of the nightmare can either take effect immediately or the next time the victim falls asleep, and generally last for a Scene once activated.

Nightmares are basically the inverse of Atavisms, in that you have to roll for all of them, rather than a few, And they have Normal, High Satiety, Satiety Expenditure, and Exceptional Success effects. Also unique to Nightmares, there are some cases where using a Satiety Expenditure Nightmare might be situationally beneficial to the victim, they'll be generally worse off but in one area they might excel.


While Nightmares are “all in your head” in the sense that only the victim experiences the effects and sees the hallucinations, that’s not the same thing as Nightmares being “illusionary” or somehow “not real.” The effects of Nightmares are very real and are quite capable of inflicting somatic injury or even death. Just because no one else can see the bugs crawling all over you doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
I'll go over a few Nightmares, all of which have a name that wouldn't be out of place coming out of the mouth of Ming the Merciless.


Behold, My True Form!
Oh God, how can that be its face? Just looking at it hurts, like you’re gouging out your eyes with shards of broken mirror. The memory of it crushes your heart, liquefies your brain. You’ll do anything to not see that again.
Unlike most Nightmares, Behold, My True Form! is a single attack action and does not have a scene-long effect.
Dice Pool: Presence + Satiety – Stamina
Normal: The attack inflicts one point of lethal damage per success. Victims slain by the attack often show signs of supernatural cause of death: their hair might turn stark white, or their entire body might be turned to stone, salt, or some other material.
High Satiety: The attack roll gains the 8-again rule.
Satiety Expenditure: For every point of Satiety spent, a successful attack inflicts +2 weapon damage.
Exceptional Success: Apply one of the following Tilts in addition to the damage: Arm Wrack, Blinded, Deafened, Insane, Leg Wrack, or Stunned.
Case in Point.


Flying and Falling
Elation. Freedom. Pure, unrestrained joy. Suddenly, darkness. Loss. You’re not flying, you’re plummeting, racing headlong toward the broken ground below.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Satiety vs. Composure + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: Every time the victim rolls an exceptional success, he loses 1 Willpower. If he has no more Willpower remaining, the roll counts as only a normal success.
High Satiety: When the victim loses Willpower due to this Nightmare, the Beast gains 1 Willpower.
Satiety Expenditure: While the Nightmare is active, the victim’s threshold for an exceptional success is reduced to three successes.
Exceptional Success: The victim loses 1 Willpower immediately.
Here's an example of a "Beneficial" nightmare, you're basically trading off Willpower for near-guaranteed exceptional successes.


Run Away
How could you ever think you could face it? You’re like an ant trying to stand up to a tiger. It could snuff your life out as easily as breathing, lay open your soul with a glance and show you the things you thought were buried. There’s only one sane thing to do: run.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Satiety vs. Composure + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The victim makes a heedless, headlong dash to get away. If the Beast invoked this Nightmare immediately, he tries to get away from her specifically; if the Beast set the Nightmare to trigger when the victim next slept, he just runs as though the Devil itself were after him, but with no particular direction or goal in mind. Either way, he keeps running until exhaustion forces him to stop.
If the victim was in the middle of a fight, his intent immediately changes to “get the hell away.” Likewise, if anyone tries to stop him, he fights to escape and keep running.

High Satiety: The Beast can implant a subconscious hint for where the victim should try to flee, or specify another target rather than herself the victim must escape. Reaching that place of safety then becomes the victim’s intent. If the implanted location is obviously hazardous (e.g. “Jump out the 50th-story window,” “Go run into the interstate”) the victim gains a +2 bonus to his Composure for purposes of resisting. Alternately, the Beast can implant the suggestion that a particular individual is the sole source of safety for the victim; in that case, the victim’s intent becomes “get to that person and stay with them.” Any action on that person’s part that even suggests an attempt to leave the victim behind will prompt the victim to do anything in his power to keep their source of safety from leaving.

Satiety Expenditure: The victim’s panic is so complete that he doesn’t pause or hesitate, even in the face of hazardous terrain. Any time the victim fails an Athletics action (for example, in a foot chase), he suffers one point of lethal damage due to nasty falls, cutting himself on fences, etc. On a dramatic failure, he instead suffers 4 lethal damage and a Tilt or Condition of the Storyteller’s choice. This represents running into traffic, falling off a roof, etc. Despite the danger, the victim adds 3 to his Speed as blind terror supercharges his flight response.

Exceptional Success: The victim never suffers the Beaten Down Tilt against people trying to restrain or stop him; in effect, he treats attempts to stop him as though their intent was to kill him.
So here's another "beneficial" nightmare but it's also one that shows a real problem with the Nightmare system. You're rolling "Stat+Satiety" against a mortal's single stat, or a supernatural creature's composure+resistance. But at High Satiety that means you're rolling at minimum an 8 dice pool. +2 composure isn't enough to overcome that. "Go Jump Off A Cliff" is a real lethal threat at that point.


You Deserve This
Look around you. Everyone knows what you did. Did you really think you could get away with it? Everything that’s happening right now is karma, payback for your many, many sins. You brought this on yourself, and nothing you can do will make it right. All you can do is suffer.

Dice Pool: Presence + Satiety vs. Composure + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The victim gains the Guilty Condition (p. 324), and cannot resolve it during the scene, no matter how much he confesses or tries to make restitution. After the scene ends, the Condition may be resolved normally.

High Satiety: As long as the victim has the Guilty Condition, he begins every fight with the Beaten Down Tilt. Even creatures that normally do not suffer the Beaten Down Tilt are affected.

Satiety Expenditure: As long as the victim has the Guilty Condition, he does not apply his Defense to incoming attacks. He may spend 1 Willpower reflexively on his turn to apply his Defense normally until the start of his next turn. However, his wound penalties become wound bonuses (i.e. with an injury marked in his third-to-last Health box, the victim has a +1 bonus to all actions instead of a –1 penalty), and he doesn’t fall unconscious when his last Health box is filled with bashing damage.

Exceptional Success: The penalty inflicted by the Guilty Condition is −4 instead of −2.
And here we are at my least favorite Nightmare. The guilty condition can only be resolved by confessing your crimes to an authority capable of punishing you. However this Nightmare doesn't specify what crimes you're supposed to be guilty of, or even require that you're guilty of a crime. Particularly considering a Beast's horribly skewed morality system. And the Satiety Expenditure version of this one reads as "We can torture this guy as much as we want and he won't fall unconscious so he has to tell us what we want to know!"


You Are Infected (Vampire)
The poison is in the blood. You can feel it burning in your veins, calling out to you across empty miles. Run as far as you like, you can’t escape the blood.

Dice Pool: None, see below
Action: Reflexive
Normal Effect: The Beast takes a –2 penalty on her roll to invoke another Nightmare, and in return she can target anyone who has tasted her blood within the last 24 hours, no matter where in the world they are. Even a tiny drop of blood is enough to trigger this Nightmare.

High Satiety: The Beast takes a –4 penalty on her roll to invoke another Nightmare, but does not subtract any Resistance Attribute from the roll. In return she can infuse a quantity of her blood with that Nightmare. Anyone who comes in contact with it (touching or tasting it) is immediately the victim of the infused Nightmare.
(Note: This Nightmare’s High Satiety effect has a higher than-normal penalty to compensate for the lack of a specified target’s Resistance Attribute.)
Satiety Expenditure: The invocation roll for the other Nightmare suffers no penalty, and earns an exceptional success with three successes rather than five.
Exceptional Success: As per the invoked Nightmare.

Combine this with "Run Away" and you can send an entire banquets worth of people falling to their deaths off of a Skyscraper.

The chapter ends with some information on how to make your own Kinship Nightmares, but that's not really worth going over.

Chapter 3 made it through relatively unscathed barring the narrative changes. There is one nightmare that was conspicuously absent in my reading though.


You Are Meat
Everything you tell yourself is a lie. You aren’t special, you aren’t elevated above the rest of the
herd, and you don’t deserve anything. All you are is meat, and you can’t keep the hunter at bay
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Satiety vs. Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The victim gains the Soulless Condition. This Nightmare doesn’t remove the victim’s soul, strictly speaking, but it suppresses it to the point that it might as well be gone. Some Beasts theorize that the soul is flung inward and lost in the depths of the Primordial Dream. If the victim’s Integrity reaches 1, he gains the Enervated Condition as normal. Likewise, if his Willpower reaches 0, the Condition upgrades to Thrall. These Conditions are removed automatically when the Nightmare ends, and the victim’s Integrity and Willpower return to their original values at a rate of one dot per day.
High Satiety: The victim skips the Soulless Condition altogether and goes straight to Enervated. His Integrity is considered to be 1 as long as he has the Enervated Condition.

Satiety Expenditure: The soul “loss” is permanent. Only a journey into the Primordial Dream can recover it. The exact nature of such a journey is left to the Storyteller, but if it needs to be modeled mechanically, it should be at least an extended action with a time interval of a day. Recovering from Soulless requires a number of successes equal to the victim’s original Integrity. Recovering from Enervated requires a number of successes equal to the victim’s original Integrity plus Willpower. Recovering from Thrall required a further 10 successes on top of that.

Exceptional Success: The victim immediately loses 1 Integrity (Normal effect) or 1 Willpower dot (High Satiety effect). This is part of the soul loss, not a permanent affliction.

The Souls of Monsters
Many of the things that haunt the shadows of the World of Darkness have additional rules that come into play when they lose their souls. Others have souls wholly unlike ordinary humans, or perhaps have no soul at all. You Are Meat affects all these creatures. Moreover, they’re treated as having lost their souls while under the thrall of this Nightmare, with all that that entails. For example, mages gradually lose their ability to work magic, while demonic soul pacts with the victim cannot be called in. Beasts are immune to the effect, as their Souls are far too powerful and vicious to be thus affected.

I've underlined the important bits. Combine this with one of the Nightmares that makes another nightmare contagious (there are others, I just didn't want to quote all of them) and you can create a soulless plague that only beasts can fix. And you can just turn off every other supernatural creature because they aren't as awesome as Beasts.

But don't worry, that got moved to another power later in the book

Next time: RULES!

Chapter 4: Rules

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 4: Rules
As always, we open up with another chapter in the saga of Ben.


Vampire. I’m hanging out with a vampire. Ben shook his head, still not quite able to believe it. The Halloween street fair moved around the two of them on the bright paths around the lake, a sea of fake monsters surrounding the real ones, a terrible live band thumping out a tune somewhere on the far shore.

Someone waved and it took Ben a moment to realize it was the kid he’d saved from Kyle a few weeks back. Ryan, he’d said his name was Ryan. Ben waved back but was glad when Ryan kept walking. His heart was racing, just a little bit faster because he knew Noelle could hear it. He caught her eye and they grinned at each other, teeth very bright in the dark.

“You really want to do this?” Noelle nodded her head toward the alley. If everything was going right, her “date” would be waiting already. It was so much easier when she hunted in her femme presentation, she’d told him. As Noel it took more effort and sometimes required a supernatural nudge to draw in prey, but as Noelle all it took was a carefully worded Craigslist ad. “It’s OK if you don’t want to.”

“I do,” Ben said, squeezing her hand. She was cold, but she would be warmer soon. His own Hunger was insistent, especially after tangling with those hunters of hers just days ago. Noelle stood on tiptoes to kiss his cheek and headed into the alley, the fringe of her flapper outfit swaying seductively as she went. It was dark, but darkness didn’t bother him like it used to. He could make out the shape out the man at the end of the alley clear as day. Alone, too, which was good. It made everything easier.

“Hello, lover,” Noelle crooned. The guy was so intent on Noelle that he didn’t even notice Ben at first, just went to embrace her with a smile on his face. When he saw Ben coming up behind her, though, his face fell.

“Who’s this?” he asked, irritation plain in his tone. Noelle’s time wasn’t cheap. “If this is some kind of shakedown—”

“Change of plans, love,” Noelle purred, sliding into his arms and twining herself around him. Ben could practically see the lust warring with the annoyance on the man’s face. “We’re doing dinner instead.”

“Private reservation,” Ben agreed. He locked eyes with the man and found the fear he needed. “Just us, alone in the dark.”

The man looked like he was about to speak when Noelle sank her fangs into his throat. For a few minutes the world was slow and red as she drank her fill and Ben’s Horror fed on the thrill of the hunt itself, until they were both near drunk on it.

When it was over and Noelle had told her date his bedtime story and put him to sleep, she took Ben’s hand with her warm one and drew him close for a kiss. “That was nice,” she said, licking the last of the blood from her teeth. “We make a good team,” Ben agreed, dismissing the wall of shadows with a wave of his hand. Together they walked out of the alley and back into the Halloween fair, just two more monsters holding hands in the night.
So he's dating/hunting with a hooker vampire.
He's sixteen.


Tales of the Dark Mother: Mia
Mia sat in the middle of the room and watched it fill with water.

The room was a basement storage room belonging to a corporation that did terrible things. Most corporations did terrible things, yes, but this one took pieces out of her family and stuffed them into people. They took the fangs from her undead brothers, the flesh from her shape-changing sisters, and even the strange, silvery liquid from her not-quite-human cousin. They were butchers and killers and they had no place in the world. They were not Family.

So Mia sat in the middle of the room and called up the ocean. She and her Horror had fed deeply the night before, and she was prepared to drown the whole place out, bring it crashing down upon itself.

Are they not family?

The voice was a beautiful song, played backwards and atonally. It was a clash of metal on teeth. Mia’s Horror heard it, lurking in the dark corners of the world, and cringed.
Are they not family? The voice was insistent now. Mia stood. The water was shin deep around her. They weren’t family. They killed family. They were butchers and hunters.

And what are you? What are we?

We are the Begotten. The Children. We—

We kill. We cause pain. It is no shame to do as we do.

Are they family, then? Should they be spared?

Here is the secret, my beautiful daughter.

Mia steeled herself. She reached out and staunched the water’s flow. If she had to flee, she would, but she needed to hear what her Mother had to say.

They are family, yes. Being family carries my love, my respect, and my power.

Mia smiled, and understood. “But not Your mercy.”

No .

Mia flung her arms wide, fingers splayed out, and laughed joyously. Water rushed in, and she heard the building’s supports groan. Maybe soon she could meet her new family. She hoped they would understand.
So Hunters are supernatural and worthy of respect but Beasts are the ultimate adjudicators of who gets to live and die, fantastic.

This is basically the rules chapter from the Chronicles of Darkness with a few sidebars saying "Beasts don't have integrity but if for some reason you want to have a human in your game go ahead I guess." "Here are the rules for ghosts, spirits, and posession even though those are somewhat tonally inconsistent with our game." and "Soul's aren't the seat of conciousness so you can remove someone's soul without them becoming a zombie also vampires have souls and why the hell did we make a soul removing power?" Okay maybe I added that last sentence.

also there are pictures, not many, but some.

This is pretty goddamn Dresden Files.

What is going on here.. he's either defending that woman or horribly abusing her.

But beyond that this chapter isn't anything new, and since I'm already a few months behind I'm not going to spend 2 weeks reinventing the wheel.

Up Next: Heroes

Chapter 5: Heroes and Other Monsters

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 5: Heroes and Other Monsters
The game is wearing it's prejudices firmly on the sleeve now. In this chapter's Ben saga, he is being a hormonal teenager, surprising no-one except literally everyone.


This is such bullshit! Ben said the words, but the serpent simply roared, slamming its vast coils against a nearby tree and taking off a chunk of it. Not that it mattered; in Robin’s Lair, there were always more trees. Rows and rows stretching off into a misty distance, in fact, the scent of rotting leaves and fallen branches thick in the air. Right now, it was also as close to neutral ground as the brood could manage. You’re the one who told me to talk to Noelle in the first place!

That was when it was just Noelle. Robin’s reply was something between a growl and a low purr. Then she made another of her kind. That’s a problem. The monstrous tiger crouched, and Ben could hear the effort it was taking to control her voice. A big problem.

How? Ben spat. Just fucking tell me already.

One vampire, nobody gives a damn. Not her kind, not ours. So long as she’s careful. Robin gave Ben a pointed look. The serpent was many times the size of the tiger, but this was the tiger’s Lair, and the serpent shuddered. But more than one vampire, in a town this size? Their kind start to pay attention. Which is bad for her, and worse for us.

Especially since you invited her in, James hissed from the shadows. What the fuck were you thinking, letting her in here? And without asking us? The serpent coiled and reared back.

Enough, Robin snarled. Ben did as we asked getting to know her, and you didn’t complain when they were just hunting bullies and johns, so shut it. The shadows rustled, and a cold breeze blew from where James’ voice had come, but he said nothing.

But, Ben, Robin continued, why did you bring her here? I mean, you had to know we would want to be consulted on something like that. I know you’re close, but her seeing this place…it’s not good. Not without warning.

I love her. If James had said so much as a single unkind thing Ben would have spat poison into the trees, but whether he managed on his own or Robin kept him in check, he stayed silent. I love her. I’m sorry.

For a long moment, the only sound was the wind in the trees.

Look, Robin began, but Ben cut her off with a hiss.

I know what you’re going to ask, all right? He said.

Do you. James said, quietly. It wasn’t quite a question.

I’m not stupid. I know what happens if we draw too much attention. Ben exhaled, and venom dripped from his maw. She’s gotta get rid of the new fucker, or they both gotta leave town. He left the other option unsaid, but in the stillness of the forest he might as well have shouted it. I’ll make it happen. I promise.

You’re strong. Robin looked at the serpent’s yellow eyes, unafraid. I know you can do it.

Family first, right? Ben said. Robin opened the Pathway and they walked back to the waking world, leaving the serpent, the tiger, and the formless horror behind. Ben was already imagining how Noelle would react and hoping he was wrong.

Yeah this isn't going to end badly at all.


Tales of the Dark Mother - Embla
“If I fall and die, I’ll haunt you,” Embla says, clutching her safety rope as she climbs down the cave wall, inching over each rock at the speed of snail. Khepri makes no effort to slow, skittering down without so much as a second thought.

“Stop whining. We’re almost there.”

Embla tries to force herself into a faster clip, but every move makes her stomach flip. The cave grows wider with each meter, a great, bleak funnel through the earth. She feels increasingly like a bug in a bathtub. Friction was banished from this place. The rocks are slick with stagnant water, and blue, glowing fungus. She and Khepri have been descending for hours, a half-mile below any cracks or crevices that might reveal daylight. Embla tries to imagine the cloudless sky hanging over the forest in her Lair, but even her imagination is hard to make out in this light.

By the time she reaches the ground, Khepri is already digging. She throws him a sour look, and starts to assemble her pickax. “I don’t know why we had to go this way.”

He doesn’t look at her. “Are you helping or not?”

Embla fumbles with the handle of the ax, struggling to lock it in place. “Stupid piece of—”

“Forget it. I found it.” Khepri concentrates and turns his fingers to thick, sharp insect claws. He tosses clumps behind him as he burrows, and nearly clocks Embla’s head with a rock.

“Come on, man! Shit. Why the fuck am I here?”

“You’re the only one I know who reads Sumerian,” he says, and pulls something from the earth. It’s a clay urn, shaped like a headless, armless belly with two legs. It’s the color of ochre, but long streams of black ooze stain its sides. The spout is engraved with jagged cuneiform. It leaves its grave with little resistance, and dirt falls away as if the earth rejects it.

“What is—”

“It was the Mother’s vessel. Her royal cup, to sip the blood of her enemies.” Khepri beams, vindicated.

“You can’t be serious.”


He holds the urn to her ear. The screams come in too many voices to count. All in pain. All begging. Embla’s flight instinct kicks in for the first time in decades, and it takes every ounce of selfcontrol she has not to jump straight out of the cave.

“I need you to translate it. It can’t be removed without the spell inscribed on it.”
“Christ. Okay, put it down and get out of my light,” she says, studying it for a minute. “I don’t think this is what you think it is, Khef. Look.”

Khepri kneels, and Embla smashes the pickax through his temple. She moves the urn to collect his blood.

“Mea culpa, but she’s been calling me way longer than you. And the voices were really clear about you being the sacrifice. If it’s any consolation, you were half right! But it’s not a cup.”

The ichor from the urn flows into the ground. The dirt and rock turn to mud, swirling into a spiral.

“It’s a key.”

I've asked this before and I'll ask this again, why on earth is the game even pretending that Beasts are good people?

And what the hell does this chapter image have to do with anything that follows?

The chapter opens stating that monsters exist in stories to be killed. And that Beasts are the monsters in the Story which means basically everyone wants to kill you. Always Heroes, sometimes other supernaturals, and even sometimes other beasts.

Heroes and Legends
Heroes like reading the old tales about Heracles, Marduk, Durga, and St.George. All of them they consider heroes out to slay some evil beast. I'm choosing not to quote three pages of literal hero worship but they call out Atalanta as being a "Feminist" icon so... yeah.

The Quest Begins
Like Beasts, Heroes are born different. But they don't "Dream Deep", they "Dream Wide", skimming the surface of the Primoridal Dream but experiencing a wider variety of it's offerings. In the past they served as an early warning system, sensing that the monsters were coming and trying to teach the needed lesson in a less deadly way. Heroes only hunted down Beasts that were driven to excesses by their Hunger. The game will not expound upon what "excesses" constitute. Then humans bred too much, got to numerous, and everything broke.

It All Went Wrong-
As mankind got larger their connection to the Primordial dream weakened, Beasts could no longer sate themselves entirely through Nightmares, they needed to go out hunting. Heroes could no longer skim the Dream, only sense where the disturbances were and go seek them out. The cultural narrative has changed so much that now Heroes assume that they must kill Beasts, and Beasts think the same.


A number of things can cause these disturbances, not all of related to the Children, and so some Heroes go their whole lives never knowing that Beasts exist. Once they find a Beast, though, they associate it with the constant turmoil in the Dream; they know, beyond doubt, that killing the Beast will calm the Dream. They are, of course, wrong about that, but they usually have no way of knowing it.
It is taking a Herculean amount of effort to not just spam the wank emote this chapter.

First Contact


Heroes feel the Primordial Dream in a light, broad sort of way, much like placing one’s palm flat on a smooth body of water. As long as nothing breaks the surface tension of the water, the hand doesn’t get wet, but the person can still feel the water quiver. Anything that disturbs the water, though, upsets that feel (and might even submerge the hand). Beasts have a habit of disturbing the Primordial Dream, and that means they draw the attention of Heroes.
That's not how surface tension works. water would adhere to the hand if you were touching the surface of the water and a human isn't light enough to support themselves on the water without breaking the tension, even just resting their hand. They'd need to hold it in place which means that they would be naturally counteracting any kind of feeling they'd be getting from the water and this is such a dumb metaphor.

A hero that feels a quiver in the dream finds themselves drawn to the physical location where that disturbance happened.


What he does next defines him as a Hero. He might ignore the feeling or attempt to learn what it stems from without actually tracking down that particular manifestation. In any event, he recognizes that whatever is going on, it isn’t about him specifically.

The Heroes who Beasts tend to encounter, however, lack that awareness. Misinterpreting their instincts as a call to action, they charge out to find the source of the disturbance. They find the Children and see the Horror lurking behind human eyes.
So the "Good" Heroes are the ones that run across a mugging and cross the street to avoid it, and he "Evil" Heroes are the ones who stop it.

I'm sorry what?

The "Hero-to-be" who decides to hunt down the beast falls into an obsessive spiral that takes over their life. They start being paranoid, carrying weapons, not out of fear but out of a determination to be prepared for the eventual fight. Others consider such paranoia unhealthy but the Hero dismisses these claims. How could they possibly know what he's gone through to protect them? Eventually the fixation turns to hatred, the Hero sees the Beast as an abomination, a Monster. And Heroes Kill Monsters.

Yes their excuse is "Moral Heroes never encounter Beasts because Moral Heroes never encounter Beasts" also "Violent or Destructive Monsters", there is literally a hunger for destruction and two for violence.

And yes they are discussed in chapter seven, but not well.

Tools and Weapons
Heroes are not the rank and file of humanity, after all they're special. They're resilient to damage, able to track Beasts that have raised their ire, and are able to impose("Discover") weaknesses on Beasts that find themselves unprepared.

First Blood
Most Heroes don't come out of their first encounter with a Beast prepared and ready to kill. They'll survive, surely, but a nascent hero isn't very powerful and it's usually the strong Beasts that raise their ire. Occasionally a Hero will encounter a weaker Beast and kill it. Other times a veteran Hero will take a newbie under their wing and grant them the rite of the kill. Regardless with each kill a Hero grows stronger.

The Rest of the Cast
Heroes are often surprised when they encounter others like themselves, but every Hero of myth has sidekicks and helpers. Usually these sidekicks aren't other Heroes though, since their egos can't abide not being the Star of the show for too long. And Heroes usually don't work well in groups, a particularly noble hero may lay down his life for "his men", but all to often they decide that their men would be fine dying for his cause and leave them to hang.

Worthy Companions
Two heroes hunting the same beast will find themselves often working at cross-purposes trying to isolate the kill for themselves. If a group of Heroes does form, it's called a Band, few of which last after their first kill. Though some stick around, particularly in areas were the Begotten congregate. The first challenge a Band faces is dealing with the other Heroes. Tempers flare regularly and arguments happen over every little thing. Attempts at cohesion turn into a battle of dominance where only one person can be on top.

A quick and dirty method of getting a band of Heroes all on the same page is to attack their mutual interests. Wise Children who hear of a band forming don't attack before they are sought out for fear of galvanizing their efforts. Canny heroes will provoke lesser beasts into attacking them to rally their allies behind them(and come out on top). The other problem that shows up is who gets the kill. Only the one who lands the killing blow gets the 'level up' and more than one beast has escaped while the Heroes who bested them squabble over blood rights. Such arguments usually cause them to disband. Occasionally they will 'feed' the least experienced Hero, though several will argue the validity of such a kill, it doesn't really matter as far as powering up is concerned.

When heroes gather outside of the hunt it's either a rollicking good time (No one drinks like Gaston!) or a contest of egos that turns into a brawl. Such gatherings are rare because who has time for anything other than the hunt! That's not to say they don't cooperate, Heroes will seek eachother out for specialized training or knowledge all the time. Though the price of such assistance can vary. The advent of the Internet has also made communication between Heroes all the easier, though older heroes see it as a waste of time.

Heroes and Hunters often cross paths, and sometimes they work together. But it's never an easy alliance.

Heroes see Hunters as useful tools and shock troops, best left to deal with the vampires or werewolves. Let the second string benchwarmers fight while the REAL men fight the REAL threat. For their part Hunters see Heroes the same way. They can use Heroes to seek out the Beasts that are the lightning rods of the supernatural world.

Some compacts and conspiracies make active use of Heroes. Ashwood Abbey uses them like hounds to flush out the proverbial Fox. Members of the Union often find themselves in hero inspired mobs. Task Force Valkyrie, on the other hand, has a standing order to observe but not engage with any independent heroes since they prove too great a risk to equipment and personnel.

Other Nightmares
Heroes often assume that Vampires and Werewolves are cut from the same cloth as a Beast, waking nightmares who disturb the Primoridal Dream. But if they try and hunt such creatures they find the experience unfulfilling. A dead Werewolf doesn't provide the increase in power that a Beast does. But since Kinship is a thing, Heroes will run across them.

Heroes don't usually mess around with Vampires because Vampires police themselves and are fairly hard to tell apart from a normal human. Vampires who have had the opportunity to do so say that Hero and Beast blood tastes the same.

"On the surface, it might seem that the Uratha would sympathize with Heroes, focused as they are on defending their territory and hunting down threats." Sure they would... Of course werewolf packs are packs and Heroes are lone hunters, so that doesn't really work. Also Heroes think that Werewolves are Beasts.

When they cross paths, a Hero and a Mage will butt heads because they're both willful individuals who refuse to back down. That said they probably won't cross paths except if the Mage has a kinship with the current Hero's target.

Apparently Heroes that know of Changelings see them as powerful allies, if they can be convinced that the Beast is a threat then their skills at dream combat will aid them greatly. Or they could accidentally give the Beast a new ally.

The Created cross paths with Heroes so infrequently that any encounter at all would probably be a noteworthy event. That said, the Ego of a Hero makes them incapable of understanding why wanting to be simply human is a worthy goal. Prometheans have formidable powers, don't need real food, and can shrug off fatal injury with ease. Then the disquiet kicks in, the Hero tries to kill the Promethean, and wonders why he even bothered.

Heroes view Sin-eaters as too wrapped up in themselves to be entirely safe. The only exception is if a Beast is hiding in an Avernian Gate, or if a Sin-Eater is carrying a Geist that died as a result of the Beast's actions.

They don't really interact. The heroes that do interact desperately want the Rite of Return so they can kill Beasts forever. The Mummies think that is an incredibly stupid idea.

Demons have better things to do than even acknowledge Heroes and their insane quests. If a hero does find out that Demons are more or less immune to a Beast's wiles, they might try to get a Demon's help in their hunt, gladly selling their soul for power. And the Demon may oblige.

I love how the game basically admits, in character, that the only way they could make Heroes non-sympathetic was to give them a body count in the thousands.

Next Time: Hero Mechanics and neckbeards Sample Characters

Chapter 5 Part 2: Hero Creation

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 5 Part 2:Hero Creation


Heroes resemble the Beasts that spawned them in most ways, but several concepts that are integral to Beasts do not apply to their Heroic opponents
Beasts don't spawn Heroes anymooorreeee.

There's a lot of stuff in here that refers to concepts that were retconned out in the post-kickstarter revisions. I've been mostly glossing over them. Also that statement is patently false, the only thing that Heroes and Beasts have in common is that their templates both contain legend and life. Heroes don't have satiety, Lair, Nightmares, or Atavisms. And even though they may have Aspirations, they're exclusively NPCs so they don't gain beats.

Hard to Kill
Heroes are sturdy and heal quickly, because the legend that drives them is stronger than mortal flesh. Heroes are immune to being Beaten Down and will never Surrender to a Beast unless doing so will give them a better opportunity to kill that beast later. They're also immune to mundane illnesses and never require medical attention for injuries, instead healing very quickly, 1B every 10 minutes, 1L every day, and 1A every three days.

Legend and Life
As mentioned before, Heroes have a Legend and Life. A Heroes Life represents the mortal life they had before they were a Hero, but their connection to it is more tenuous than that of a Beast's, they can only regain willpower by placing themselves or their mission at significant risk to try and buck the narrative, and only once per scene. Their Legend gives them 1 willpower whenever they act in accordance with their role in the story. And refills completely when they put themselves at great risk to keep the story going. Like breaking into a bank after hours to steal the object of a Beast's ire. Or enter into combat on the Beast's terms knowing that they're outmatched.

Heroes don't use Lair, they instead use mortal Integrity ratings. Integrity is a measure of the strength of a person's self image and "Health of the soul", and any Hero that hunts beasts has an integrity of four or less.

Heroic Tracking
Heroes have an instinctive sense for finding disturbances in the Primordial Dream.


Violent Heroes often conflate their instinctive sense of disruption in the Dream for skill at tracking down dangerous monsters, but that isn’t the case; the most gentle and conscientious Beast can make ripples in the Primordial Dream if she goes too long without feeding, and the most violent and bloodthirsty of the Begotten can kill a dozen people a month and never disturb the Dream. The Hero, however, will sense the former before the latter.
This seems a little bullshit, just FYI. In both the sense that there can be "Gentle and conscientious" beasts, and that violent murder doesn't disturb the dream.

Any power that explicitly states that it disturbs the dream (Under the Bed, Inflicting Nightmares) will alert the heroes of the region. "A more sedate or centered Hero might experience this as a series of troubling dreams and think no more of it." the "violent" heroes instead view it as a call to arms and seek out the physical location of the disturbance. If it resulted from a Horror feeding on a person's nightmare, the Hero finds the dreamer. Same with Under the Bed. If it came from an Atavism or Nightmare (Multiple exceptional successes, using them to kill a person) the hero finds the scene where the event occured. This doesn't require a roll, it just happens.


This initial Heroic Tracking does not have or require a game system. A Hero notices the character if the circumstances indicate that one should. If the Storyteller doesn’t want to include a Hero-related plotline just then, she can ignore the result or assume that the Hero that noticed the disturbance isn’t interested or able to track the Beast (again, this is discussed further in Chapter Seven). If the Storyteller decides that the Hero does track the occurrence, the Hero begins an investigation into the Beast.

Much of this investigation occurs “off-screen,” and therefore the Beast’s player winds up determining what the Hero knows and discovers by what actions she takes with the character. The Storyteller should consider what the Beast has done, how public she has been with her powers, who knows about her or could identify her, what other witnesses have seen, and especially what impact her actions have on the Primordial Dream. Once the Hero has identified the Beast by name or physical description, or has seen the Beast in person (even from a distance), the Hero is no longer Tracking, but Stalking.
Here the scales start to fall off your eyes with regards to the fact that Heroes aren't meant to be anything other than plot devices or the inevitable stick you use to smack misbehaving players. They used to be something much different but we'll get to that later.

Heroic Stalking
Stalking is a "More intimate, dangerous activity than Tracking". This is the Hero trying to learn more about the Beast and setting up a confrontation. Some Heroes skip this step and go right to the stakes and pitchforks, they don't tend to live long. Once a Beast is being stalked, the storyteller rolls the Hero's Wits+Investigation or Composure to determine if he can sense a Beast nearby, or if a Beast has activated an Atavism or Nightmare within the last day, at the cost of a willpower. This doesn't manifest itself as a sense or second sight, but as an unshakable conviction in a truth suddenly revealed to him. Some Heroes view this as a message from God.


Dramatic Failure: The Hero is convinced a Beast is present, but suffers from severe doubts about who it is; he believes he may have misidentified the Beast. This grants the Beast character a reprieve, during which she might be able to get the Hero off her trail (or simply kill him, depending on her predilections).
Failure: The Hero gains no information about Beast activity in the area.
Success: The Hero knows whether or not the Beast is currently present nearby, and whether a Beast has used a supernatural ability nearby within 24 hours.
Exceptional Success: The Hero also learns exactly how many Beasts are currently present, and can identify them as such on sight. This does not grant any particular ability to see through disguises or to find Beasts who are otherwise hidden.
The Hero gets a bonus for every beast present, if any of them are Starving, or if any of them have fame.


Example: Mrs. Winters, the Eshmaki Nemesis we met on in Chapter Three, has a problem. She let her Horror stay too hungry too long; as a result, it hunted down and fed upon Brent, the frat boy bully that Mrs. Winters once taught a brutal lesson. In fairness, Brent had kept his nose clean since that incident, but the Horror doesn’t care. It’s come to visit him a few times. In the waking world, Brent isn’t sleeping well; he looks sallow and has bags under his eyes. In the Primordial Dream, though, these predations have a larger impact.
"This is exactly what we said would happen when she made this house a part of her Lair but he's a frat boy so it's okay stop being such a whiner."


In game terms, Mrs. Winters gained the Ravenous Condition and her Horror fed from Brent twice. The second time, Magda rolled an exceptional success on the Inflicting Nightmares action (p. 99), which indicates a Hero notices the activity. Having just resolved a plot point involving one of the other players, Orson, the Storyteller, decides it’s a good time to give Mrs. Winters something to worry about. He creates a Hero named Nathan Blix, a man who lives in the same town but grew up in the neighborhood that Mrs. Winters protects.

Orson decides that since Blix knows the area, he has no difficulty navigating to Brent’s house. Blix and Brent chat, and Brent eventually winds up telling a mostly truthful version of what happened to him after Halloween (he leaves out the part where he snatched bags of candy away from children). Blix convinces him to give him a few pieces of the candy he had left over. Now Blix can trace the candy, bringing him closer to Mrs. Winters.

Eventually, Blix sees Mrs. Winters as she’s sitting on her porch, knitting…and he knows. She’s the monster. He wonders how he missed it before. That night, he goes home wondering if he has the strength to kill a monster when that monster looks like a sweet old lady. That night, though, one of the other characters in the group uses a Nightmare in the same general area, and Blix feels the reverberation (the player rolled an exceptional success). Blix wakes up with terrible purpose in his heart and fetches an ax out of the shed. He’s now Stalking; Mrs. Winters had better watch out.
I remind you, this is the game's only native form of conflict and it's entirely storyteller controlled and has little to no actual interaction with the mechanics as a whole. If the Storyteller wants to summon a Hero from the Aether, he does.

Smaug was missing a single scale on his belly. Other monsters are unable to stomach the blood of a true innocent. Still others are driven to vomiting by a baby's cry. When a Hero uses a monster's raging temper or vulnerable temper against it, he's only fulfilling the Death Wish inherent to it's very nature. This is the story that Heroes tell, and it gives them both courage and comfort in their fight.

Anathema are the secret weaknesses and inhuman urges that give mortals the ability to bring Beasts low. Rather than being an intrinsic part of their nature, however, Anathema are a thorn in their sides placed there by a Hero designed to draw them into the story that Heroes want. One where that ends in their inevitable death and the Hero's triumph. Once placed an Anathema burrows into a Beast's nature and tries to turn them into the monster that the Hero sees her as, whether she likes it or not

Placing Anathema
Every Hero is capable of placing Anathema on a Beast, though they are never conscious of this fact. In the Hero's mind they are simply discovering something that has always been there, with this revelation proving that they are destined to succeed in their fight.

To a Beast, Anathema are Conditions that Heroes can place in combat. And while Heroes are always looking to draw Beasts into their narrative, Beasts can defend themselves against Anathema most of the time without even thinking about it. While their Horrors are content and restful, the Beast is too human for the Anathema to stick. If the Horror is active and starving it can fend off an Anathema without even thinking about it.

In the middle ground, however, a Beast is neither too monstrous or too human to be safe. If a Hero makes an attack against a Sated beast, they can attempt to enhance their attack and weaken their foe. A point of willpower spent before the attack will cause an Anathema if the attack hits. But the Hero can't regain that Willpower until the Anathema resolves or the Beast is dead.

The Hero who inflicted the Anathema is immediately aware of it's exact nature and limitations, experiencing it as a great revelation. Other heroes can make a Wits+Empathy roll while in the presence of a Beast to figure it out themselves. Once a Beast is placed under an Anathema they become immediately aware of it. It feels like a thick iron spike being driven into their back or an iron chain being draped around their neck and locked in place. It is a foreign clinging thing that remains just uncomfortable enough to be impossible to forget. She knows exactly how it works and what it drives them to do, but it is completely undetectable to anyone else, even other beasts.

The Nature of Anathema
Once an Anathema is placed, it remains regardless of the Beast's resultant satiety. A Ravenous or Starving beast is protected by their monstrous nature, but a Gorged beast's defenses are lowered and suffer the effects more sharply. If their Horror is Slumbering, however, the Anathema has no effect, but "most would not consider this perk to be worth the problems associated with being separated from their Horrors" because this is a game where being compelled to torturemurder is considered desireable.

No beast can suffer under more than one Anathema at a time, and each Anathema has it's own resolution point, either going to Ravenous, or going to Slumbering. Which kind of creates a self perpetuating cycle. To get to Slumbering a Beast would need to do something that would gather the attention of a Hero. To get out of Ravenous they would have to do the same. Beasts should be literally inundated with Heroes all the time. The Anathema that resolve at Ravenous are conceptually pretty weak, because spending yourself low is easier than gorging yourself high, particularly when being at Starving will weaken the Anathema anyway, and killing a Hero is explicitly stated as one of the ways to resolve Ravenous. The ones that resolve at Slumbering on the other hand..

Example Anathema
I'm not going to go over all of them, just a few.


Some Beasts theorize that vampires are only weak to fire and sunlight because some Hero managed to pin their predecessor with this Anathema in ancient times. A Beast suffering from a Bane is weak to a specific element or material that can be used as a weapon against him. The exact nature of the Bane varies, but it’s never so common that acquiring an effective weapon to suit it is easy; generally, acquiring a Bane-weapon adds one to the Availability of a weapon. Wood, silver, and cold-forged iron are all common banes. As with all Anathema, Bane adapts itself to the nature of the Beast it targets, so a Beast whose Horror makes his home in a volcano is not likely to be stuck with a Bane of fire, nor would a dragon who hoards gems and precious metals be likely to develop a Bane for gold.
High Satiety: The Beast is exceptionally vulnerable to her Bane. Any attacks made against her using her Bane deal aggravated damage and are treated as armor piercing. If such attacks were already aggravated or armor piercing, increase the weapon rating by 2. If the Beast takes damage from her Bane, she suffers from the Stunned Tilt for one turn.
Middle Satiety: The Beast remains vulnerable, but can recover far more quickly from dangerous blows. She no longer suffers from the Stunned condition if hit by her Bane, but all other High Satiety effects still apply.
Low Satiety: The Beast’s Bane becomes only a minor inconvenience when faced with her awakened Horror’s immense power. The Bane deals lethal damage, rather than aggravated. All such attacks are still treated as armor piercing.
Beat: The Beast has her Bane used against her in combat.
Resolution: The Beast gains and then resolves the Ravenous Condition.
You may be thinking "Wow aggravated armor piercing damage that seems excessive" but remember that banes aren't supposed to be easily available and for the most part Anathema are inflicted in combat(There are other ways, but they aren't available to starting Heroes). So a level 1 hero can inflict this bane but not actually utilize it unless they run away, giving the Beast time to resolve the condition.


This Anathema pins a Beast with an intense panic reaction to some particular and specific trigger. This is never something so common as to be completely unavoidable in day-to-day life, but neither is it so specific and difficult to acquire that most Heroes can’t get their hands on it with a little work. A Namtaru might develop an intense fear of her own reflection, or a Beast with a spiritual bent might develop a Phobia of a particular religious text. The exact nature of the Phobia depends on the Beast targeted, and is never something that would obviously cripple her human life or her bestial nature: a Predator Beast would not develop a Phobia of blood, and a Beast employed as a farmhand would not develop a Phobia for any of the animals she saw on a day-to-day basis.
High Satiety: When in the presence of her Phobia, the Beast is all but incapacitated by her terror. She takes a –3 modifier to all rolls that do not involve trying to escape from the Phobia; her Initiative modifier is always treated as 0, as her instinct is to freeze up in fear. These penalties persist for three turns after the Phobia is no longer present, as the Beast takes time to compose herself after the Anathema-induced panic.
Middle Satiety: As the Beast’s Horror re-emerges, she regains some measure of control of herself in the presence of her Phobia. The roll penalties are reduced to –2, and she takes a –2 penalty to her total initiative. These penalties persist for one round after the Phobia is no longer present.
Low Satiety: Though still terrified, the Beast’s Horror helps her turn her fear into rage. When in the presence of her Phobia, she takes a –2 modifier to all rolls that do not involve either trying to escape from it or trying to destroy it. Her Initiative is no longer penalized, and all penalties disappear as soon as the Phobia is no longer present.
Beat: The Beast is exposed to her Phobia.
Resolution: The Beast gains and then resolves the Ravenous Condition.
Again, this Anathema is pretty milquetoast because it needs to exist before the confrontation for the Hero in question to actually capitalize on it, and a Beast can just spend down to low satiety which is already a good place to be in combat because that's when Atavisms go into high power mode.


Heroes think of Beasts as nothing more than violent monsters, just waiting to be put down. This Anathema drags a Beast into that story, filling her mind with uncontrollable anger at the world around her. While a Beast suffers under Rage, her mind is clouded by vicious thoughts, hindering her ability to be anything other than the rabid animal from the Hero’s story. Though she may still attempt to live her normal life, any conflict may bring all her anger welling back up to the surface. Rage doesn’t require a trigger; it’s always present once the Anathema
takes hold.
High Satiety: The Beast sees nothing but red, and is barely functional outside of combat. She automatically fails all Social rolls save for Intimidation rolls. In combat, she must attack every turn unless she is incapable of reaching a valid target, in which case she must move to attempt to reach her next victim as quickly as she is able. The player may spend a point of Willpower to ignore the effects of Rage for one turn and allow the character to act freely, burying her rage temporarily when the need is great.
Middle Satiety: Though her anger is still strong, the Beast tempers it with cunning and guile. Her Social rolls receive a –3 modifier, except for Intimidation rolls. In combat, she applies a –3 penalty to any action other than an attack. The player may spend 1 Willpower at any time for the character to ignore the effects of Rage until she next suffers damage, at which point her anger reasserts itself.
Low Satiety: The Horror is able to keep some of her Rage mostly in check. All the Beast’s rolls, including Intimidation, receive a –1 modifier, as the Beast is neither quite able to be diplomatic nor safely able to be intimidating without unleashing all her pent-up anger. The combat penalties of the previous level are reduced to 1 die. The player may still spend a point of Willpower to ignore the effects of Rage until her character is next damaged. She may also spend a point of Willpower to ignore the effects of Rage for one scene in a social situation, though at the Storyteller’s discretion a clear insult or provocation might cause her character’s anger to resurface.
Beat: The Beast’s anger causes her to lash out in a social situation or attack an obviously superior opponent, against her better judgment.
Resolution: The Beast gains and then resolves the Slumbering Condition.
Even if it's probably of no use to the Hero who inflicts it(unless they run away) we finally have a Anathema that's a real hindrance to the Beast since it actively works against resolving it. How can you feed your horror to Slumbering if you literally cannot succeed at social rolls?


Weak Spot
The Hero has discovered some small part of the Beast’s body that is more susceptible to damage. The Beast suffering under this Anathema has a spot on her body that is particularly easy to harm. Regardless of all measures she might have in place to protect herself from attack, the Anathema does its best to keep her Weak Spot open and vulnerable.
High Satiety: The Beast’s Weak Spot is a constant presence in her life. Any attacker who knows about it may choose to target it specifically and does not take the usual penalties associated with making a Specified Target attack (see p. 166), but with only a –1 penalty. If the attacker hits a Beast’s Weak Spot, the damage of his attack becomes aggravated. The Beast cannot cover up her Weak Spot; no matter how hard she tries it’s somehow always accessible. Any armor bonuses the Beast receives do not apply to attacks that target her Weak Spot.
Middle Satiety: The Beast is able to keep her Weak Spot better protected, though it still provides a serious flaw in her defenses. An attacker must specifically aim to target the Weak Spot and takes a –3 to his roll for the Specified Target attack, regardless of where the Weak Spot is on the Beast’s body. If he hits successfully, he still converts damage to aggravated and negates the Beast’s armor from affecting that attack.
Low Satiety: The Beast’s Weak Spot still causes her aggravated damage when hit, but she’s able to defend it as thoroughly as she might any other part of her body. An attacker still takes the –3 for making the Specified Target attack, but the Beast may benefit from armor as normal when hit.
Beat: The Beast has her Weak Spot hit in combat or it otherwise complicates her life.
Resolution: The Beast gains and then resolves the Slumbering Condition.


While most Anathema drive a thorn of weakness into a Beast’s hide, Weaponbound externalizes that weakness into a single weapon that is empowered to kill the Beast to whom it is tied. Often this weapon is the Chosen Blade of the Hero who places this Anathema, but sometimes it’s some other weapon of great fame or importance to the Beast. A famous sword kept in a nearby museum might suddenly become capable of living up to its legend, or a prototype gun being tested nearby might be bound to slay a Beast. Though this Anathema is external to the Beast, it is still tied to her Horror and self. As normal, another Anathema may not be placed on a Beast suffering from Weaponbound.
High Satiety: Meeting her Weaponbound weapon in combat spells almost certain doom for a Beast whose Horror cannot help to defend her. Attacks made against the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon gain the rote action quality. The weapon inflicts its normal damage, plus an additional two points of aggravated damage (so a sword that inflicts 2L damage would inflict successes rolled + 2 in lethal damage, and then two points of aggravated damage as well).
Middle Satiety: As her Horror awakens, the Beast is better able to defend against her Anathema’s power. Attacks made against the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon gain the 8-again quality, and deal an extra two levels of lethal damage.
Low Satiety: While still dangerous, a Beast whose Horror is active can face her Weaponbound weapon with far less fear. Attacks made against the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon gain the 9-again quality, and deal an extra two levels of lethal damage.
Beat: Someone attacks the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon.
Resolution: The Weaponbound weapon is destroyed.
These last two are actually useful to a Hero in the heat of battle, but there are other ways to get anathema applied which we'll go over in a little bit.

Heroes don't have to fight alone, even besides forming bands. By tapping into the dream while a Hero sleeps, they can amass followers, showing them the vision of the battle to come. For most people this just results in some strange dreams that vanish with their morning coffee. But for people who have seen the supernatural or been subject to a Horror inflicted Nightmare, it triggers something deeper and more damaging. Forcing them into the Hero's narrative.
And then the game inexplicably decides to take three paragraphs to shame Heroes for being degenerate


Most people in the Chronicles of Darkness experience the supernatural and ignore it. They see something inexplicable and terrifying — a ghost shrieking in an abandoned house, a man changing into a wolf and running away, a woman growing razor-sharp silver wings and taking flight, or a vampire feeding in the corner booth of a dark club. The witnesses forget or make themselves forget. They look for ways to rationalize what they’ve seen. This doesn’t make them weak or foolish — ignoring the supernatural is a survival mechanism.
The supernatural is dangerous, multi-faceted, and largely outside of human law and morality. Some people see the supernatural and feel called to combat or at least study what lurks in the dark, and these people become hunters (a la Hunter: The Vigil). These people are exceptional in their
drive and bravery, however, and a good number of them wind up dead or inexorably changed by their fight.
Heroes are not hunters. They do not take up their battle against Beasts because of something that was done to them. They step into situations that they do not understand, that they have no context for, and make a gross assumption about what they’ve seen. They respond with violence out of misplaced outrage or, worse, a desire for adulation. The people they bring along are normal mortals who would rather simply shake off the experiences they had and go back to their lives; they do not share the Hero’s bloody-mindedness or his gifts.

Oh and the game never really touches on the morality of Heroes doing the exact same thing that Beasts used to do to create Heroes in the first place. They're NPCs why would you care about them?

There isn't one! The storyteller decides if a Hero has followers and he does! They don't have any supernatural qualities but they can aid him in other ways, like police officers and politicians making a Beast's life a living hell. They can also aid them in combat, either directly or through aiding him. If they aid him, each follower can grant the hero one of the following, +2 dice to his attack pool, +2 to his defense, -1 to the Beast's defense, or take the full damage of any one attack meant for the Hero. If a follower dies or is incapacitated for any reason, the hero gains a +3 dice modifier to his next action.... "Regardless of who kills the follower"... BECAUSE HEROES ARE EVIL AND WOULD DO THAT YOU GET IT YET!??!!??!?

With each Beast killed, a Hero grows in power, gaining different gifts. Not all of them are interesting or notable. There's one that gives them 2/0 Armor whenever they're fighting Beasts, another that gives them +1 to a weapon group and +2 strength when fighting a beast, one that lets them Stalk beasts easier, and one that turns a chosen weapon into a "holy blade". Basic combat buff stuff, but there are a few that are special.

Loremaster lets Heroes place anathema on a beast from a distance, so long as they've encountered the Beast before in any capacity. To the Hero in question, however, they are simply researching something that was always there. If the Beast is Sated when the hero begins, an "Anathema Seed" takes hold and the Beast becomes aware that someone's researching her downfall. This doesn't grant the Beast any kind of insight into where or when or how, but if they know who and what the Hero is, then they can hunt them down and kill them, which will remove the seed. Even if the Beast removes the sated condition later, it's too late, the seed has taken hold. If the Beast isn't sated, the Hero is immediately aware that his current efforts won't provide any fruit, but they're free to try again later.
Actually pulling this off is an Extended action, which is an oddity for a Storyteller character exclusive power. But since you can only roll once per day, and the Beast can work against it, it's best to roll and keep track of successes. The difficulty is equal to the beast's lairX2, if the beast already has an anathema it's simply equal to it's lair.
This is one of the best ways to apply the "social" anathema to a Beast. But I imagine having Rage applied to you in the middle of a Board meeting might be... interesting.

Real World
This power allows a Hero to remove lair tilts that a Beast imposes on a scene. They do this by rolling (Power Attribute) + Occ.... wait what. Heroes don't have a power attribute, they've never had a power attribute. And this isn't just the PDF either

Man, fucking no one gave two shits about Heroes.

Saint's Whisper
This is the other non-combat way of inflicting Anathema, not through research or through divine inspiration. But through verbal beatdowns.


Heroes with Saint’s Whisper gain the ability to place Anathema on vulnerable Beasts through conversing with them. To do so, a Hero must engage in a scene of meaningful social interaction with his opponent, which must include the Hero denouncing the Beast as evil or monstrous in some way. As the Hero does so, the Beast feels the Anathema creeping into her Horror, and faces two options: physically attack the Hero immediately (using a Nightmare does not count) and end the Hero’s attempt, or be placed under the Anathema. A clever Hero will try to use Saint’s Whisper in situations where the Beast cannot leave the conversation or lash out, such as approaching her at her workplace or in a public space with plenty of witnesses. Even if the Beast avoids the Anathema through violence, the consequences of her “outburst” may be problem enough.
This is easily the most evocative power that Heroes have and I wish more of them had been like this.

The end of a Hero's career usually involves his death. But sometimes Heroes just stop. The urge to kill goes away and they find a "fulfilling, normal, interesting life" by abandoning the monster that defines him.

Example Heroes

Desmond Oakes
"I stopped counting scars a long time ago"
A former navy Seal who took up the fight in order to protect other people. He's actually a pretty nice person who dislikes the hunt despite the sense of validation that it brings him...

Which is because he has Integrity 5 and shouldn't be an antagonist Hero going by their own rules. He's everything a Hero should be but isn't. Moving on

Thaddeus Pearson
"Never fear, milady. I've come to kill this foul Best!"
Yes, of course I'm going to be quoting this guy's entire entry.


Thaddeus has spent his entire life blaming his problems on other people. Coming from a middle-class suburban home, he was told all through his childhood that he was special. Whenever the real world failed to reinforce this, he retreated into whatever fiction he could find that said that bookish kids like him would eventually inherit the earth. Thaddeus graduated from a good college with excellent grades and very few friends, and went right to work behind a desk at a mid-sized corporation’s programming department.

Once it became clear to Thaddeus that he was destined to work a mediocre job for the rest of his life, the resentment started. He’d been promised so much more than this: vast riches, adoring fans, and a beautiful wife who would fawn over his genius. Instead he was living as the model of mediocrity. Everything that went wrong was a personal slight against him: the pub was out of fries because the waiter had it out for him, or his car wouldn’t start because the mechanic who fixed it was clearly an idiot who’d resented Thaddeus’s superior intellect.

Then one night, Thaddeus dreamed of…well, he’s still not sure how to describe it. It had color, but no joy. It had breadth, but no depth. Featureless, surreal plain? No, it was too violent and loud. He wasn’t sure what had happened, but he woke knowing that whatever it was, it happened at his office. He went to work the next morning excited for the first time in years — was something actually about to happen to him? Was this the call to action he’d been promised? Then he saw one of his co-workers in a meeting, and he knew. It was a call, and she was the monster in the mountain cave.

He killed his former coworker (an Ugallu) two weeks later. It was pure luck, catching her unaware at the end of a long day before she had any idea he was a Hero. He lured her behind the building with a story about his car needing a jump, and then ran her through as she opened her hood. Her death filled him with a rush of power and left him more certain than ever of his calling. This was the life he’d been promised, full of action and certainty with great rewards at the end. All he had to do was kill every monster he could find, and everything would be exactly as he’d always imagined.
So a nerdy entitled Incel?


Thaddeus is a tall, skinny man in his mid-30s, clean-shaven with pale skin and neatly cut hair. During office hours, he wears business casual polo shirts and slacks, and is completely unremarkable. While out hunting monsters, he wears a poorly fitted trenchcoat and a black trilby hat. Thaddeus considers himself a modern gentleman and speaks with an unnecessarily verbose vocabulary, dotted with “chivalric” language he’s mostly picked up from fantasy movies and novels.
A nerdy entitled Incel that wears a trenchcoat and a trilby hat. He's literally a MRA Caricature.

And yes, he uses a Sword.

Marian Jones
"It's filth like this that let the devil in. Clean up your act or I'll clean it for you."
A conservative, highly religious, stay at home mom who lived in a suburban home with her husband and two kids. Then her son turned seventeen, started listening to the devils music, and she started having nightmares. Finally one morning she woke up in a cold sweat and went to her son's room and found a woman, cold and unbreathing, but very much aware. So she figured out that her son was the devil and she needed to kill him. She does so by wearing milspec body armor and wielding an AK-47 still stained with the blood of her first kill. She's got a pile of kills under her belt and a lot of powers.

Sleeping Beauty
"I'm not a ghost, I'm just dreaming."


Heroes on the hunt have seen glimpses of a young warrior queen in their dreams, pointing the way to the Lair of their quarry. When they get to the creature’s Lair, she’s there, fighting beside them to vanquish the creature. She says she is sleeping somewhere in the real world and beseeches the Heroes she allies with to find her. To date, none of the Children or the Heroes who have encountered her can track her down.

If they did, they would be surprised at what they see: a sickly teenage girl named Melanie, trapped in a coma for the past two years. Doctors and nurses regularly check her bedside, as do worried family members. Her mother spends the entire window of visiting hours sitting with her daughter, either knitting or working on crosswords to pass the time. Her father drops in when he can. They have no idea what caused their presumably healthy daughter to fall so ill, and the doctors are equally stumped.

Melanie fell into the coma after a Horror entered her dream to feed. Instead of cowering, she gave chase, following the monster right back to his Lair, where she killed him. The Lair collapsed. Melanie tried to make it back to her body, but something went horribly wrong. Her soul remains in the Primordial Dream, just out of reach. Melanie has tried to follow other Horrors back to Lairs, but she can’t quite manage to move quickly enough. She can, however, home in on disturbances to the Primordial Dream and speak to Heroes that sense them. Melanie acts as a muse to other Heroes, a guiding angel, but because of the abstract nature of their contact with the Primordial Dream, she can’t do much more than point them in the direction of Beasts. That, however, has been enough to sustain her.

With each victory, Melanie grows stronger. In her hospital bed, she twitches in her sleep, her hands clenching into fists and unclenching. Her body shows remarkably few signs of atrophying despite the coma, and it gives her parents and doctors hope that one day they may see Melanie, their darling daughter, walk and smile again.
Damn. This is what Heroes should have always been.


Melanie is a truly strange case. She should not, by rights, have been able to follow a Horror to its Lair, much less kill it. It is possible some outside force — another Beast, perhaps, or some other supernatural creature able to enter the Primordial Dream — used Melanie as a weapon and then left her adrift. Acting as a Hero provides her soul with the sustenance it needs to stop her drifting apart in the Dream, but if she were to return to her body, would she continue the fight? It’s never crossed her mind. She just wants to go home.
This is the problem though. She shouldn't by any rights exist, what she does doesn't make sense within the rules of the game. One theory I've heard put forth is that she's a failed beast in need of someone to finish her devouring but that just kind of cheapens the whole thing.

So what's different: Hero Edition?

Chiefly, in the initial draft, Heroes were made by Beasts. The soul of a Beast touched the broken soul of an otherwise normal Human and turned them into something else. In some cases the Soul did this to create an adversary for the Beast to kill because they weren't being fed enough and were being pissy. In other cases they do it because it's a Beast Soul and doesn't fucking care. But since Heroes were made by Beasts, they took on a bit of that Beast's persona. Heroes made by a Tyrant became more self confident, seeing themselves as revolutionaries or leaders. Heroes made by a Collector become greedy hoarders and thieves. Predator Heroes become obsessed with getting stronger, being faster, being better. Nemesis' heroes try to live their lives as pure as possible, seeing fault in everyone around them. Ravager Heroes become paranoid, viewing everyone and everything as disposable or out to betray him.

The only other real change in this section is that to a certain degree Melanie is portrayed as actively malicious and "Will continue the hunt once she finds her body", but again, in this version after being touched by a Beast Heroes aren't even really themselves anymore.

Which is at once amazing and also kind of disappointing, because the game still blamed Heroes for being Heroes. When their only real fault was being Near a Beast at one point in their lives and having a low integrity. They were a side effect of Beasts behaving badly and also their nemesis. They were at once a Beast's greatest shame and worst fear. If they had actually treated them sympathetically and had Beasts talk realistically about the fact that no matter how moral they tried to be they were one bad day away from ruining someone's life it would have been a much better and more mature game.

That isn't what we got.

That said, this is still somehow better than the treatment Heroes got in the leaked playtest documents.


Hero Slang
"Dude, you popped your cherry with your soulmate? Sweet!"

Younger Heroes have developed an argot all their own surrounding their lifestyles. This slang, while not particularly discreet, makes talking about hunting the Children a little less conspicuous to unsuspecting bystanders.

Anonymous: A group of humans a Hero enlists as his or her personal army to help kill a Beast.
Aquaman: A Hero who specializes in killing Makara. Applies to any gender of Hero.
Ballroom Blitz: A fatal confrontation between a brood of Beasts and a band of Heroes.
Captain America: A Nemesis' Hero.
Cherry: The Beast who becomes the Hero’s first kill. Frequently used in the phrase “pop one’s cherry,” as in gaining one’s first kill.
Creeper: A Namtaru.
Crusader Rabbit: A male Hero who exclusively hunts Beasts targeting women.
David: A Hero who specializes in killing Anakim. Originates from the story of David and Goliath.
Ding/level up/notch the bedpost: To kill a Beast and gain a Gift.
Dude/girl in a cape: (derogatory) A Hero who espouses and frequently waxes
poetic about an idealist code of ethics.
Do: (verb) To kill a Beast. Example: “Dude, Sherry did that Swamp Thing last week, man. She’s smelled like bong water ever since.”
Family Guy: (derogatory) A Hero who still lives with or maintains contact with his or her family. Applies to any gender of Hero.
Flyboy/Flygirl: A Hero who specializes in killing Ugallu.
Hercules: A Hero with twelve confirmed kills. Originates from the twelve labors of the mythical demigod.
Leroy: A Predator's Hero, especially ones who charge into battle without thinking.
Master Splinter/Obi-Wan: A veteran Hero who teaches younger, inexperienced Heroes.
Musashi: A Hero with several kills originating from single combat.
Ninja: An Eshmaki.
Packrat: A Collector's Hero.
Pirate: A Hero who specializes in killing Eshmaki.
Plague Doctor: A Hero who specializes in killing Namtaru.
Quest: An individual Hero’s journey, either short-term or long-term.
Recruiter: A Tyrant's Hero.
Ronin: A Ravager's Hero.
Sauron: An Anakim.
Spoon-Fed: A Hero who gained one or more kills with help from other Heroes who let him or her have the kill.
Soulmate: The Beast who provoked the hunter response for a given Hero. Veteran Heroes particularly dislike this one.
Swamp Thing: A Makara.

For you see when you have your life irrevocably changed by a horror that wants only for you to suffer, you turn into a Mysogynistic Dudebro.

Next Time: The rest of the supernaturals and why they might want to kill beasts

Chapter 5 Part 3:The Rest of the Cast

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

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

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


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

The Crossover Chronicle

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

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

Beasts in the Chronicles of Darkness


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Wait no.

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

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

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

Also Beasts love Centimani.

This is also an incredibly bad thing.

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

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

And it's time for another quote block.


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

Run away very fast.

Hunter: the Vigil


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

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

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

Beasts can form Kinships with Slashers.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Sibling Rivalries
"Beasts are family, but family fights"
Why do Beasts Fight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Retreat - The Beast Unfettered


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mourning Owl


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

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

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

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

Greedy Squid


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

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

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

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

The Merger - The Beast Rampant


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Effects of the Merger
For each dot of Lair the Beast possesses they can select one option from the following list, and they can be selected multiple times
Once merged their Hunger increases intensely, they now lose 1 Satiety every 24 hours. They also lose the ability to take sustenance from "Nuanced" expressions of their hunger. Meaning they can't BS their way through a feeding roll, they need to physically intimidate or hunt or kill to stay alive. They still possess satiety conditions but at Satiety 10 they simply go off to nap for a day then wake up at Satiety 9.

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

<A low, quiet growl from the shadows>


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Up Next: Phenominal Cosmic Power

Chapter 5 Part 4: The Beast Incarnate

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subvert the Hero


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what's different?

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

Up Next: A very abridged chapter 6

Chapter 6: Beasts of the World

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 6: Beasts of the World

This would be better described as "Here's a bunch of sample locations and plot hooks". They're not particularly interesting, for example the location set in latin america has all the gangs titled "El" or "Los" something. Also there's a fairly racist depiction of Tokyo that I'm just gonna avoid(the Apex is the head of a Zaibatsu for starters). But there is one worth looking into once we've gotten past the two chapter intro bits.


The first hit came out of nowhere. Ben had barely entered his living room when something slammed into him from behind the door, sending him sprawling over the sofa. He landed hard, off-balance and hurting. Nothing had really so much as scratched him since his Devouring, and yet he could feel blood running down one side of his face and his side felt like it was on fire.

“About fucking time,” said a familiar voice. Ben rolled on his side and blinked up at the shape above him, but even when his eyes focused his shock didn’t go away. Ryan. The skinny kid was holding something hooked and almost as tall as he was, raised above his head to strike. “I’ve been waiting for this for weeks!”

“Ryan, you need to run the fuck away right now,” Ben caught Ryan’s wide, manic eyes and tried to send the Nightmare to him, but the skinny kid just laughed in his face and slammed the hook down, ripping into Ben’s shoulder. He screamed and grabbed at the metal but it burned his hands just to touch it.

“Metal from a sunken ship’s anchor,” Ryan said with a look of great satisfaction, digging the hook in deeper. He looked down at Ben with pride and fished a necklace out from under his shirt, held it up for him to see. “Same deal here. I know how your kind work! I saw your tricks up close, remember?”

“Fuck you!” Nightmares might be off the table, but that wasn’t all he had to offer. Ben pushed back the pain and grabbed Ryan’s ankle, managing to snag it with one hand at the cost of digging the hook in even more. One hand was all he needed, though, and Ben felt his Horror’s strength surge through him, snapping Ryan’s ankle with a sharp cracking sound. Ryan fell backwards onto the couch, pulling the hook free in the process, and Ben dragged himself to his feet.

“Back!” Ryan shouted, holding up the necklace. Ben staggered backward as if he’d been punched, still not quite believing what was happening. James had warned him about this, but this was just unreal.

“Ben!” Noel burst through the doorway, sizing the scene up and heading straight for Ryan. “Bad call, fucker.” Noel growled, hands hooking into claws as
he advanced.

“Back!” Ryan shouted again, shoving at the advancing vampire.

“Oh, honey,” Noel said, almost apologetic, and tore out the boy’s throat out with a casual swipe of his hand. Ryan’s mouth fell open, but whatever words he had were lost in a gurgle as his blood streamed down his chest, turning his shirt black in the dim light. Noel hardly broke stride as he went to his boyfriend.

“What happened? Baby, you’re hurt!”

“I’ll be fine,” Ben managed, gritting his teeth. He put his arm around Noel and the vampire took his weight effortlessly. “We have to get out of here. Now.”

“Yeah, but we should probably clean up—”

“No,” Ben said, and his tone made Noel meet his gaze. “We need to leave. The three of us. Right now.” He was starting to feel faint, but fortunately Noel caught his meaning, and carried him out of the house without another word, leaving Ryan behind, entombed in the mausoleum of Ben’s old life.
So... two things, one: Ryan is that kid he rescued in like the first story. Two: Ben is now either gay or Bi, because of course he fucking is this is Beast.


Tales of the Dark Mother: Malcom
No one visits the greenhouse at night. Very few visit it during the day to begin with; with severe municipal budget cuts, the park staff can’t afford to keep it maintained, deterring all but the most die-hard armchair horticulturalists, who marvel at the “anonymous” donations of rare varietals I bring here. I take care of my plants and they take care of me. The greenery here does not directly obey me like it does in the place I call home, but it doesn’t have to.
At night, even amorous teenagers and others looking for private dark corners stay away.

The brave ones who do visit the greenhouse at night never stick around for long, and their nightmares taste like candy.

Tonight, I’m sprawled out in the thick patch of mayapples in the back corner. The little blossoms that hide beneath their giant leaves have just begun to open. Only children bother to look underneath the leaves, and even then, only when they know the flowers are there. I normally don’t spend time in this patch, but tonight, it called to me, and the plants and the very earth cradle me, much like it did at my second birth. The leaves sway and brush my skin in a gentle caress, and the stems seem to move of their own accord, stroking my hair from my face. I know I am not alone in my verdant refuge, but the presence swallows me, my doubts, and those lingering fears that keep me all too human. For now, I am my Mother’s son, and nothing more. A deep soul-rumbling purr reverberates in my chest.

“…the fuck was that?”

I can feel the adrenaline shoot through my body, tensing my muscles. Anger not my own turns that purr into a growl that I only just keep contained. I lie still as the scent of sweat and fear not my own travels straight to my nose. A glittering spray of broken glass lays inches from my feet, defiled by bootprints. Bright sweeps of light cross the leaves erratically.

“Never mind that!” another voice hisses. “Let’s just get the stuff and get out of here.”

The footsteps thump and crunch through, getting slightly fainter as these two fools mutter to each other and shatter pots in their search. Their own noises disguise the rustle of leaves as I rise from the mayapples. My footfalls are nowhere near as heavy; I know just where and how to step to follow them. I feel larger, fuller, and so much more than the skin, muscle, and bone that contains me. When I bear down upon these intruders, it is not just me, but this all-encompassing presence that fills my chest that demands to know who dares disturb our place and our moment.

The scent of fresh meat and offal fills the greenhouse as I return to my bed of mayapples. I sink my bloodied fingers into the dirt, and the blossoms open just for me. They close again when I leave at dawn.
Uhh.. sure... anyways

A Serpent’s Tooth


This is a legend of the First Nations:
When the gold rush came to Squamish lands — what would one day be Vancouver — the greed it inspired took hold of one of my people, a man named Shak-shak. Under the gold’s influence, Shakshak came to love wealth more than his own life. He spurned the potlatch, and as his neighbors starved in harsh winters, he reveled in his hoard. His avarice grew so vast that even the Great Spirit came to loathe him. It called down from heaven and transformed him into a two-headed serpent, so long its body threaded the entirety of our waters. He had become the Salt-Chuck Oluk, a thing made only to be despised. The Great Spirit promised that if a hero would pierce the serpent’s heart, greed would be banished from the land.

As it always is, that call was answered. The story ends with Shak-shak’s heart cut out and cast into the Capilano River, and the people rejoicing over the tremors of his death throes.

We Begotten had no pity.
—From the journals of George Wolf
Hoo boy this isn't going to be fun.


Decades after the serpent’s story had warped into its modern form, his hubris echoed, calling Heroes like moths to a light bulb. When the Great Vancouver Fire razed most of the new town and settlers turned to drunken rioting, a mob of Heroes set upon the Beasts. They boarded up the hideouts of the city’s broods, and doused them with stolen whiskey, chanting the Salt-Chuck’s name. Few survived.

In the aftermath, Family rivalries became vendettas. The Makara and Ugallu had always been at odds — such is the nature of a land where sea and mountain meet — and the Raptors blamed the Leviathans for Salt-Chuck Oluk’s bloody legacy. Though the serpent was dead, his relations would pay for his sins. The Raptors began secretly opening Pathways for Heroes into Makara Lairs, hoping they would wipe each other out. It didn’t work.
Here's the first real oddity here, they depict an internecine rivalry between Beast families that doesn't really have any kind of support anywhere else in the game. They just don't really band together like that.


In 1911, “The Legend of the Salt-Chuck Oluk” was published in a series of articles on Squamish folklore. The stories became popular across the country, and Heroes seemed to wake en masse in the aftermath. Vancouver’s vampires began to take notice. Always vigilant over their precious Masquerade, the vampires grew uneasy at the violence and attention being drawn to the supernatural world. The Raptors saw another opportunity. Masters of exploiting the fear of exposure, the Ugallu convinced the Kindred that the Leviathans were to blame and that it was in their best interest to call a blood hunt to stem the tide of Heroes. This time, it worked. Over the next forty years, the Nightmares of the Depths were nearly wiped out from Vancouver at the fangs of vampires and the swords of Heroes.

In 1951, the government began constructing North Vancouver’s Cleveland Dam. No one gave it a second thought, let alone any Beasts, but that changed the day workers began digging up the site.
Seriously what the hell. This is kind of insane on several levels, "Let's manipulate the entire supernatural world to kill the guys who we don't like because they're better at swimming than we are and can't fly."


When I looked inside my Lair, it was flooded. As water and debris flew past, I tried to return to my body. I couldn’t. Giant birds aren’t natural swimmers, but the animal part of my brain tried to glide with the current. My wings tore apart like wet paper, and I blacked out from the pain. I thought my Horror would drown, which is a terrible prospect to an 8-year-old.

Instead, I woke up in my bed with three broken ribs and a pint of puked up water. I don’t think my mother ever cried so hard in her life. She never understood what happened. For a long time, I didn’t either.
—From the journals of George Wolf
Also apparently George Wolf underwent his devouring at or before the age of eight.


A rift had torn between the river and the Primordial Dream, as if some plug in reality had dislodged. The immediate assumption was, of course, that a Makara had somehow become Apex of the area, but searching for this Leviathan proved futile. Whatever the truth, it benefited the despised Makara. The river formed paths between Chambers, floodways only accessible to Leviathans. Rumors spread that the workers had dislodged the remains of the Salt-Chuck’s heart from the river, and the pogrom reached a fever pitch. The Raptors pointed their vampire allies at the last brood of Leviathans, hiding near the dam construction site and hoping to find the source of the water.

The leeches easily overwhelmed them. As the brood’s Tyrant leader succumbed to fear of death for the first time since her Devouring, she experienced a vision. In her mind’s eye, a wave burst from the dam, washing over her and her tormenters. From its depths, a thundering voice cried out:

These are not your kin.
Seriously the ugallu wiped them out down to a single brood, and apparently a mono-family brood because those also happen.


In desperation, the Tyrant reached out with her Kinship, and found a thread she’d never felt before. She pulled, and she was enlightened. As the waves in her mind’s eye receded, the powers of every vampire in her presence failed. Makara still celebrate the massacre that followed.

The Tyrant gathered every sibling she had left, and together they immolated the leaders of the Kindred court. They gave the remaining bloodsuckers a choice: servitude or death. All chose servitude. With their new minions, the brood turned on their estranged siblings. Travelling through floodways, they stole into the Lairs of their Raptor enemies. The choice was given again. Most Ugallu, too proud to see their sins repaid, chose a third option: exile. In memory of their martyred sibling, the Disciples of Salt-Chuck Oluk have dominated the supernatural denizens of Vancouver ever since.

Yeah let's talk about that Kinship then.


The Disciples practice their anti-Kinship through a powerful Nightmare. Only Leviathans who’ve swum through the floodways can learn it, and only the Disciples know how to teach it. Unlike other Nightmares, this power benefits from teamwork actions (p. 161), though not all actors need to know it. This power doesn’t work on Beasts, Heroes, or mages.

Outside Vancouver, it doesn’t work at all.

Your Strength Is Your Weakness
You’re a fraud! You’ve never built anything of worth without some magical cheat. Now you’ll see what you really are, without your cheap tricks.

Dice Pool: Manipulation + Satiety – Resolve

Normal: The victim gains the Abruption Condition.

High Satiety: The Beast gains the 8-again quality when using Social Maneuvering against her victim, or the rote quality when using Hard Leverage.

Satiety Expenditure: As long as he suffers the Abruption Condition, the victim takes lethal damage equal to the Beast’s successes each time he tries to
use a power.
Exceptional Success: The victim also gains the Shaken Condition


Your character’s supernatural gifts are hobbled. Each time he attempts to use a power, whether inherent or learned, he loses a number of successes equal to the inflicting Beast’s Lair plus one. If the power isn’t rolled, it simply fails. If multiple Beasts caused this Condition, the penalty is equal to their combined Lairs. This Condition fades at the end of the scene.

Possible Sources: Magical effect disrupting supernatural powers.

Resolution: Your character accepts her inferiority and takes the Beaten Down Tilt (p.327) or an appropriate Condition.
Yeah, Makara can just shut off other supernatural powers and force them to acquiesce to their demands and they can never fight back because there's only one way to resolve the Abruption tilt. And they've got hordes of Vampires and Werewolves under their power. Also because the Werewolves are busy being the gophers of the Makara the spirit world is absolutely fucked.

This is not an interesting place to adventure, this is a great place to stay the fuck away from at all costs.

Next time: The Storyteller Chapter

Chapter 7: Storytelling

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

Chapter 7: Storytelling

Let's get the two story examples out of the way.


“Ben? Are you here?” Robin looked at the dark water, not really hopeful but determined not to give up yet. “It’s me, Robin. I just want to talk.”

The media firestorm had burned bright but briefly — one kid dead in a bloody, “ritualistic” crime scene and another missing made for a few sensational lead stories, but didn’t have the legs of a pretty girl having vanished. Robin had seen the aftermath of Heroes before, and knew how to wait out the coverage and the inevitable trickle of hunters and occultists that accompanied them. At first she’d assumed Ben had just gone to ground, was trying to process the attack, but then the Burrows connecting his Lair to the rest of the brood collapsed. His Horror was still nearby, both she and James could feel it, but as days turned to weeks, a different sort of suspicion crept into her mind.

As if on cue, the first rumors showed up in local online chatter not long after.

Local kids were talking about strange things down at the lake. A pale, slim boy — or sometimes a girl of similar description — was walking alone by the water late at night. Except if you got close enough, they weren’t alone at all, and you’d realize what you thought was a shadow on the water was really a shape right under the surface. Supposedly they’d beckon you to join them, the pale kid and the thing in the water, but all the rumors agreed that would be the worst and final mistake of your teenage life.

“I’m not here to hurt you, or Noelle, or anyone else.” Robin continued, still scanning the water. “I just want you to know if you’re all right.”

“He’s fine.” Robin turned and saw a pale young woman detach herself from the shadow of a nearby tree, followed by another pale teenager a moment later. Robin tasted ashes immediately, as if she needed confirmation of their vampiric nature. “You’re one of his kind, aren’t you?”

“Yes.” There was no point in lying.

“I knew you’d come looking sooner or later.” Noelle’s tone was flat, indifferent. “He said so.”

“Is Ben here?” Robin asked. The closer she looked at Noelle, the more ragged the vampire appeared. Her clothes were ripped and stained, as if she was sleeping out here in the trees. Not at all the modern, sleek predator Ben had approached only a year ago.

“You should go.” Noelle said. Behind her, the other equally ragged vampire nodded. “He’s fine.”

“Can I ask him?” Robin said.

Noelle cocked her head. “Go on, honey. Show her.”

Robin heard something break the surface not far behind her, but when she turned and saw the thing that had been Ben, her heart fell. It rose on itself like a coiled serpent, and while she could see no malice in its large black eyes, she didn’t see anything like recognition either. As she watched, its mouth opened, venom dripping like rain on the lake, and if its tentacles seemed to reach out pleadingly for a moment, it was almost certainly her imagination. It slipped back under the surface and all Robin felt was relief, mixed with a profound sadness.

“See? We’re very happy here.” Noelle faded back into the shadows, leaving only her voice after her in the midnight air. “We’re home.”

So let's just map out Ben's plot arc here, a teenager is told that he will be allowed access to a wider, darker world. He finds it amazing and horrifying but then is press-ganged into a family and forced to associate with a Vampire. After he befriends and falls in love with said vampire his "family" berates him for becoming too close. He's then attacked by a Hero and only the Vampires are there to save him, and he retreats into himself and becomes a terrifying sea-beast at the tender age of eighteen.

Yup Beasts are totally the good guys and their culture is completely functional.


Tales of the Dark Mother: Hin
“I don’t think this is good.” Hin struggled with the English. The mages ignored him, as they often did. Hin sighed. He didn’t mean good, but he wasn’t sure how to phrase it.

The mage called Atalanta glanced around the room. “I think we’re ready. Symbols are in place, sacrifice is ready. Hin, we good to go?” She said it like she was addressing a four-year-old about to act as ring-bearer in a wedding; important as these things go, but if he screwed up and spoke out of turn, no one would really care.

“I don’t this is good,” Hin repeated. He looked over at Babel and spoke in Cantonese. Babel shrugged helplessly, and Hin cocked an eye — normally he understood.

“Guys,” said Babel. “Hin needs to tell us something. Give me a minute to—“

“No.” Pluto’s voice was deep, resonant, and terrifying. “No magic. We’re doing this. We’ve waited too long. We’ve put too much into this. Whatever Hin needs to tell us can wait.”

“Sunk cost,” said Hin. It was a phrase he knew well; one of his finance professor’s had drilled it into the class and Hin had found it a useful way to feed. “Sunk cost means you think you can get back what you already—“

“Later, Hin.” Atalanta stood before the altar and raised her hands. Babel, obviously concerned, patted Hin on the shoulder reassuringly and raised his hands as well. Behind them, Pluto struck the ground with his staff.

The gate opened. Something stepped through.

“That’s not…” Atalanta didn’t finished the sentence. She dropped to her knees, hopeless, terrified, mouth agape. Babel turned and ran, but could not make the doorknob work. Pluto tried to bluster, but only wound up cowering behind his staff.

“I tried to tell them, Mother,” said Hin. At least She had no problem understanding him. “Will you let them live?”

She spoke, and Hin nodded.

“Spare him, then,” he said, pointing to Babel. “At least he listens sometimes.”

He turned to his friends, trying desperately to put up spells to protect themselves, call for help, repel Her, end the summoning. It was nothing but noise. “I’m sorry,” he said. He wanted to say more, but he couldn’t think of the words. They weren’t listening anyway.

Oh man if only the mages had listened to the wise oriental they wouldn't have died horribly.

I thought you were better than this Matt.

I... is that a young Haley Joel Osment?

Anyways, the chapter opens with some common threads for the Storyteller system. Engage your players, get aspirations, have them suggest plot points, don't be afraid of spoilers. Be consistent with plot elements (Don't let someone survive a fall off a roof unless you're prepared to let your PCs do the same). Build the world around player backgrounds (If you've got a teacher you need a school. If you've got a Makara you probably need a body of water.) And more than any other game be sure to include a supernatural culture in your planning.

Advanced Storytelling Techniques
Let's get into the new meat of the chapter.
Eschew Common Structures


In Western film, books, and other media, particularly genre fiction like Chronicles of Darkness and Beast: The Primordial draw inspiration from, you find certain trends and tropes. The “monomyth,” popularized by Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” is one of the most common structures in modern fiction. It largely entered the pop culture parlance through George Lucas’s Star Wars. However, it doesn’t really work for Beast. You can make it work, but that structure is not Beast’s default state.


In such a structure, the Beast has to die. The Hero must conquer “the dragon,” subsuming the Beast’s power and moving on, like the monster was simply a hurdle on his quest. This clearly doesn’t work, for a couple of reasons. First, it would mean every game would end in the characters’ deaths. Second, the Beasts would only play a menial role in the story. In this game, the Beasts are the stars of the show. Still, you can’t just reverse the story, and shift roles. In the Hero/Beast dynamic, Beasts are not assumed to be proactively against Heroes. Heroes are still the active force in the relationship. This seems like it might be at odds from the presentation on p. 72, that identifies Heroes as reactive; both are true. Heroes are reactive insofar as they do not exist (again, in terms of the narrative) without a Beast, but they are active insofar as Beasts don’t generally go seeking them out. Beasts attract them through their actions, yes, but even then, the Beast is simply the catalyst in the relationship. The Beast doesn’t achieve a great milestone in her life for destroying the Hero. In fact, if the Beast achieves a great personal milestone for destroying the Hero, that belittles the relationship. Part of the compelling aspect of Heroes is that the Beast doesn’t usually have a direct tie to her assailant. The Hero comes out from
left field. The Beast has her own life to deal with. Usually, the Beast’s only knowledge of the Hero is his motivation, and that if she doesn’t fight, he’ll destroy her.
Why? Because they're the antagonist splat. Because there has to be something to work against, something to stand in the way of your goals. Which if you're a Beast are probably going to be monstrous. Without acknowleging that structure you're just playing a sitcom where occasionally you need to go off and mindrape a jock and then the Westboro Baptist Church shows up and you have to murder them while lamenting your fate before going back to watch TV.


Instead, look to stories about outsiders, about disenfranchised people, and about communities that exist on the outskirts of the mainstream. Beasts aren’t the heroes, but the Heroes aren’t really the heroes, either. Nobody needs to be the hero of these stories. These are stories about people (albeit monstrous people) and the unique challenges they face. They’re not only stories about overcoming adversity, but about how people react to dramatically strange circumstances. Consider Grendel, an archetypal Beast story. Grendel isn’t a story about whether or not Grendel can conquer his foes and overcome obstacles; it’s a story about Grendel coming to realize what he is and coming to terms with that. We don’t care if he can win in a fight against a given opponent, we simply care about what the fights mean.

But.. Beasts aren't disenfranchised. By definition they're the most enfranchised of any supernatural creature just by their bloodline ties. And Grendel doesn't condemn or villify Beowulf, he's a leader protecting his people. Also, Grendel still dies in the end. The only condemnation the book makes is of the person who writes the story that vilifies Grendel for killing people.

Four-Act Style


Consider looking at other models. One good example of an alternate story frame is the Japanese Kishotenketsu, which is popular in some Japanese animation, and has been co-opted in some western television shows when they film a “Rashomon-style” episode. It’s a four-act structure that works in a relatively tight pattern of introduction, development, twist, wrap-up. For Western audiences, many of the renowned films of Akira Kurosawa have popularized the idea (even if it’s not something formally recognized and widely discussed). Stories such as Rashomon embody the idea of a “conflict-free story”. This isn’t to say the story has no conflict, but the story isn’t about the conflict, it’s about understanding the path and the intricacies in interweaving tales.

Look, Rashoman is a good movie, and Multiple Viewpoint stories are good when they're well done. But they are very difficult to pull off and I think asking that of a Storyteller, even one of intermediate to advanced skill, is a bit much. Particularly as it's described here in the game


This model assumes a single game session covers the four acts of the story. However, if you are planning ahead for a larger chronicle, each act could be a full game session, and you can play it in a more relaxed, soft-handed fashion. But a four-act story requires some attention to pacing, to keep things moving ahead. All games require mind to pacing, but in a more traditional game, break points are more obvious. As the characters uncover and resolve challenges, the story moves forward. Conflict drives the plot. With a Kishōtenketsu style story, it’s important to move forward as soon as possible, and to not let threads linger too long. Listless characters, and by extension listless players, will tend to seek out conflict resolution if they feel there’s no direction.

Act One: Introduction Is where you introduce your characters and story elements. The game suggests using this session to build characters as well. If you need to paint then it's a good thing you have dots in crafts. Oh look a locked door good thing bob is suddenly adept at lockpicking. Which seems interesting but also places a greater import on the story itself and forces the player characters to fit. Also:


In Beast specifically, this should be where you showcase some of what makes the characters truly monsters. Give spotlight to Nightmares and Atavisms. Give longer, more elaborate descriptions than you might otherwise. Focus heavily on the direct and indirect ramifications of these monstrous features. Don’t be afraid to give a quick cutaway, just a brief description of some of the ripples happening off-camera. If a Nightmare breaks a person’s will, show them at their family dinner table that Sunday. Show the family asking him what’s wrong, and gossiping about him when he goes to the restroom. Show us his fiancé, cupping an engagement ring, and opting to second guess himself and put it away when his lover’s behavior becomes erratic and disjointed. Show us his custody hearing where his defensive attitude costs him visitation rights with his children. This should happen quickly, but clearly.
1)This represents what's basically impossible about using a Rashoman style game because it requires a third person omniscient viewpoint that the player characters cannot, by definition, have. 2) WHAT THE FUCK!?!? "Oh Bob you used a nightmare, let me go into extreme detail so you will never use your superpowers again." 3) Yet another gay couple.

Act Two: Development is where you add plot. Not resolve it, in fact the game states rather insistently that you should not resolve any plot points in this section.


It’s important you don’t allow for any superlative resolutions at this point; your goal is to add plot, not let it go away. The players need to be made aware of this in order to keep with the structure. Normally, players will work toward resolution as rapidly as possible. With this style of play, they have to understand that they can’t get that until a certain amount of time has passed.
This phase of the story should be about half the total game time. It ends once you have a strong collection of plot events to build from. If it feels like the tension is getting too great and there’s too much to handle, that’s about time to move on. You need at least a few random additions from failures, so if those aren’t coming fast enough, introduce them yourself.
What's that talking about?

Just wait until the fourth act! Don't resolve anything! Because Act Three is going to be even more confusing.
Act Three: Twist Take away your players character sheets, you aren't playing Beast tonight, you're doing something completely different. And it's not related in any way until the fourth act.


If your players are amenable to suggestion, you don’t need to explain what you’re doing. Just tell them you want to try something different tonight, and run with it. Let Act Four tie these threads together. If you go this route, it’s important to keep things as
separate from the primary narrative as possible, but to offer hanging threads the players can tie together. Beast is particularly good at this part of the tale, because it offers such sweeping diversity tied to its core paradigms. You can use any of the other Chronicles of Darkness games to tell this part of the tale, and it will remain workable within a context that’s both easy to justify, and easy to present as something mysterious and separate from the main story.

You could run Act Three in a different place, or even a different time. What do the werewolves of Ancient Egypt have to do with your Beast chronicle? That’s a good question; it’s one you’ll answer in Act Four. Why does a story about Jack the Ripper matter to our tale set in modern Tokyo? That’s another great question. But for help answering, use symbols, references, quotes, and callbacks to other chronicle events. You don’t have to explain them, and should just move on if players try to draw conclusions now. But if the leader of a majestic Gaelic Freehold of changelings uses the same line as the Hero in your New York Beast chronicle, your players will notice it.
I don't know why but this.. infuriates me in some way. Because once again it's putting the story before the players. So how does the storyteller resolve things in Act Four?

Act Four: Wrap-Up THEY DON'T. Surprise. The players do.


Lastly, we bring it all together. Here, we discover how the divergent stories are actually one story. Every element on the table is eligible for “resolution,” which means a player can take it and, within the scope of their character’s story, explain how they are related. Doing this grants a Beat. Cross out the element, or otherwise note that it’s handled, and it’s married to the story entirely. This can be done once per player per scene. During Act Four, the players can’t add new elements for failed rolls.

This act should be all about revelation and understanding. The players should use these relationships between elements and their characters in order to finalize the story and make sense of the events.
I didn't remove anything, that's the entirety of the Act Four section. This is why I really hate putting this idea forward. With a less experienced GM and a Group that's not ameniable to it, you'll just have a storyteller vomiting a string of ideas at random and then leaving all the heavy lifting up to the players to make sense of it. And they probably won't be satisfied and asking lots of questions that the Storyteller, by definition, will not have answers for.

This section is fairly short and can be boiled down to a few important points. Focus on one or two strong themes: if you've got a Vampire, Changeling, and Beasts in a group together than focusing on Feeding and the descent into inhumanity is probably best. let players excel in their areas of expertise and be careful about stepping on each others toes: the Vampire player might be miffed if the Werewolf player takes all the social gifts and starts out-maneuvering them, players should state goals and where they want to take their characters and work with each other. Avoid conflicting social groups: a Changeling will find little of interest in the Vampire's dealings with Ordo Dracul.

The chapter continues with a discussion on Heroes.


Heroes can be difficult to use effectively because we tend to think of them as, well, heroes. They are called “Heroes” for a reason, though (they could just as easily have been called “Slayers,” which would have conveyed a different message): Beast is about the monster/monster killer narrative, but it’s meant to subvert it. Beasts aren’t necessarily good people; they can be, but it’s not a prerequisite for being the protagonist. Heroes aren’t necessarily good people, either.
Well, this is true, however the issue is that the game is completely allergic to making Heroes sympathetic. Bad people can be sympathetic, but Beasts can very rarely be simply by their nature and the way the game is set up.


The reasonable, caring, “good” Heroes don’t make much of an appearance in Beast, not because they don’t exist, but because the narrative role for the Hero in Beast is that of a violent, narcissistic antagonist. If you want to include Heroes that break with this narrative role, go ahead! The prevailing thought among Beasts is that Heroes are dangerous and violent, because that’s the type of Hero they tend to find. Again, thematically speaking, breaking narrative assumptions and recognizing that easy labels aren’t so useful is very much in keeping with Beast (this is also why Melanie is included as an example Hero; she’s not violent and narcissistic. The way that a brood deals with her would be very different than dealing with, say, Desmond.
Again the game dances around the idea that a Good and Moral Hero could look at a Beast and decide that they need to die. Which is the conclusion that a Good and Moral person should come to.



Look at the fervor with which people will argue about what is important to them, from comic book movies, to gender, to space cowboys, to vaccines, whatever. Even if the person doesn’t have a leg to stand on logically, they hold their perspective. If you listen to their reasons, it at least makes sense why they believe what they do, regardless of whether or not they reasonably should. It’s about identity. If you identify with something, an opposing viewpoint isn’t attacking your argument, you feel like it’s attacking you. This is, perhaps, more noticeable on the Internet, because people online don’t see the other people they are talking to, so it’s much easier to depersonalize. People are wired to believe what they hear or see first, though, and they also tend to sympathize with whatever argument gives them a narrative that they can agree with.
Did we mention that Heroes are internet trolls? "The only moral high ground that Beasts have to seize here is that Heroes generally attack preemptively, without bothering to see whether a Beast is doing lasting damage to people." Again, game, you've stated that Heroes only react to things that make ripples in the dream, which are the things that do cause lasting damage to people.

Conspiracy Theories
Heroes form conspiracy theories to justify their hate, we're talking huge thread walls with postit notes and newspaper clippings. Apparently. Which is rather... strange considering their previous characterization. "A simple, single belief is easy to discredit. If the Hero is wrong about that one single-minded topic, he can be shut down wholly in an instant and the entire fabric of his identity falls apart instantly. That leads to violent rages and Heroes who would give up their cause." but.. no?


The more complex aspect of conspiracy theory requires the theorist to be at the center of the theory. For most theorists, it’s one thing to say NASA never landed on the Moon. But it takes a whole different level of theorist to speak with any sort of “authority.” That theorist is your Hero. He stands at the center of his grand theory. After all, he was slighted. Remember, the conspiracy is a challenge to the Hero’s identity. The Hero must never consider himself culpable for any of the various strings on this web. No matter what he does, he has to be able to rationalize, justify, or ignore the influence of his actions. This means he needs an excuse for why everything goes bad around him.

Why do Heroes need a conspiracy theory? They're literally incapable of introspection and have the walls of reality screaming at them that Beasts are Evil every time a Beast so much as takes a shit nearby.

The Sidelines
Heroes have enablers that make excuses for him! Clearly he's not evil because he didn't kill that vampire over there! The game's back in full on Hero demonizing mode.

Heroes and Integrity


As explained in Chapter Four, Integrity is a game trait measuring the health of a person’s soul and self-image. Integrity does not, by itself, measure whether a person is “good” or not. It is not a measure of kindness or compassion. Certainly people with high Integrity traits tend to be strong of character, and strength of character leads to empathy and compassion, but it is possible to have a high Integrity rating and be harsh, cruel, or even violent. It simply means that the character is well aware of who and what he is.

Violent Heroes, though, lack that awareness. Their souls are weak, whether by nature or by difficult lives whittling away their Integrity. They tend to be shortsighted, self-centered (but not self-aware), and unfocused. A person can fall to this level of Integrity in any number of ways; when you are designing Heroes for your Beast chronicle, it’s worthwhile to consider how it happened. You don’t need to design breaking points for the character (though you can), nor do you need to detail how any given dot of Integrity was lost, but just a general sense of what happened to the character is enough. Did the character avoid talking to people out of belief that he was better? Did the character suffer some hardship and look for someone else to blame? Or is the answer more basic — is the character an abuser or a bully?
"Are they generally weak willed because of years of abuse and hardship and forced to adhere to a viewpoint not their own by an uncaring metaphysical universe?" is not presented here because it would, presumably, make heroes sympathetic.


As noted in Chapter Four, it’s possible to lose Integrity from exposure to the supernatural, but this by itself doesn’t usually reduce the trait low enough to qualify a person for becoming a Hero. Thematically, too, it’s not appropriate for someone whose only “crime” was bearing witness to the supernatural to become a violent narcissist; if such a character is going to go out and seek out the supernatural, it should probably be in a different context than strapping on a sword and a gun. Since Heroes are Storyteller-controlled character, you as Storyteller dictate why the Hero is the way he is, so make choices that allow the Hero to fulfill the appropriate role in the story. If the Hero is a sympathetic character, driven to hunt monsters by the relentless attacks of the supernatural, then you might be better served checking out Hunter: The Vigil (and perhaps using Beasts as antagonists). If, however, the Hero has deliberately shunned other people, defining himself by what he is not, what he hates, or the wrongs done to him, that’s a perfect candidate. The line is thin, and that’s deliberate.
That is not a thin line, that's a gaping divide. The only two options you're allowing are "Sympathetic character" and "hate mongering murderer".

Resolving a Heroes Threat
Kill them.

Oh no wait they want to provide other options than killing them because Beasts are supposed to completely reject the idea of a narrative.
The game really likes waffling back and forth between "Heroes cannot be reasoned with" and "Heroes are fragile little babies who will fall down weeping at the first sign of compassion." It's getting on my nerves and I'm really glad we're almost done.

Getting them Together: A Web
Have you player characters ask each other questions about how they know each other.
I just summed up two pages.

Make lairs spooky, anthropomorphize them, make them seem like living breathing things so that your players will understand that they can die.
There's also this paragraph in a discussion on adding chambers.


It is also possible for a Beast to build a Chamber based on Integrity loss that she had nothing to do with. As described in Chapter Three, if a character loses Integrity due to witnessing the supernatural, it creates a Chamber in the local hive that the Beast can add to her Lair, provided she can learn the context in which it occurred.

This rule is, of course, designed to give Beasts a concrete reason to go looking for other supernatural creatures and learn their stories. Beasts don’t need to learn the deep, dark secrets involved, of course. If someone lost Integrity during a mage’s bloodletting ritual, the Beast doesn’t need to know the political ramifications that would have ensured if the local Consilium hadn’t looked the other way for this particular ritual, since the perpetrating mage is a supporter of the faction that is trying to stay in power. All she needs to know is that it was a bloodletting ritual. Of course, now that she knows, is there anything she can do to help?
Fuck this game.

So what's different?


Heroes Exist Even When Off-Camera
Heroes have to be active even when the action isn’t focused on them. This requires a bit of work for the Storyteller, but it’s necessary to represent the degree of focus that Heroes exhibit. When a Hero has a target, he devotes himself to that target because to him, his existence is predicated upon being the champion that slays the Beast. That means that although the action in the game is going to remain with the players’ characters, you as Storyteller need have at least some idea what the Hero is doing.

We touch on some techniques that’ll help make this feasible without overwhelming the players. Showing ripples can help. Peeling back the curtain is invaluable. Naming everyone can make even minor actions seem important. But ultimately, your best bet is to define Heroes by their actions. If Joey is a hacker, he hacks. It’s your job to bring that into play. He should dox the Beast’s friends and family. He should uncover lost data that can tie disparate threads together. However, since the Hero isn’t a protagonist, show those ripples in all their glory. Don’t hesitate to explore how an effect came from a cause, and let the players’ characters stumble upon that information. A Hero defines his life by his relationship to the Beast, but that life happens even when the Beast isn’t looking. If the Hero seems to only exist when on-camera, he’ll feel shallow and boring.
The section on why Heroes create conspiracy theories is mostly unaltered from here because back when Heroes were made they needed internal justification for the changes in their lives.


The Blame Game
The bad Heroes, the absolute worst, don’t even blame the Beast. They draw in their friends, their families, and everyone around them to blame for what goes wrong. If the Beast’s Hunger has her seduce the Hero’s wife, the abhorrent Hero finds a reason to blame his wife, or his children, or his boss, or anybody but himself or the most likely target for his ire. He must always weave conspiracy because, even if he kills the Beast, the job isn’t done. Monsters will always be here, he tells himself, so he keeps a dossier on all potential monsters.

His manifesto, be it in blogs, online videos, a book kept under his bed, or scrawled on the walls in the blood of his targets, should be convoluted, sickening, and patently false. But it should circle around to support his original premise, that world perspective that started him down the rabbit hole. It’s never his fault. The job is never done. He is the Hero. Everyone who disagrees is a potential monster to be slain.
I reiterate, the kickstarter version of the game vilified abuse victims for their responses to abuse.

There's also this sidebar in the section on how to get player characters to work together


Kissing Cousins
Sometimes, camaraderie isn’t the only thing that keeps a group together. Sometimes a little drama, a little internal conflict, keeps momentum and keeps people poking at sores. It’s difficult to drive a story with just weirdness and negativity, but that can be the difference between a purely positive but boring relationship, and a story with real teeth.

To take advantage of this idea, you’ll need the players to collude and agree to come up with some destructive relationships and run with them. This is important, because the players have to work together to not reject these pitches out of hand. If a player says, “All right, so, you come in. How about Layli’s character and mine are in the broom closet together, and you hear a little moaning and a little banging?” Layli can say no of course; she doesn’t have to give her character’s consent here at all and shouldn’t feel pressured to do so. On the other hand, she should at least consider the possibility, since that’s the nature of this style of chronicle, and it could cause ripples that drive family action for numerous chapters to come.
Have them fuck.

So that's it, almost. There's still one more bit of the book to cover. The sample adventure.

Spoiler Alert: It's not good.

Up Next: We put this wounded beast down.

The Morning After

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

The Morning After
No, this isn't the gnawing regret one has when you realized that you've spent almost a year hate-reviewing a terrible game. It's the name of the sample adventure put forth by Onyx Path. Yes it has some meaning within the context of the adventure but it doesn't come full circle until the end.


The Begotten of the French Quarter in New Orleans all know one another. They don’t all belong to the same brood, but they do their best to make sure the Quarter stays friendly. That means being courteous to one another, being polite to the local supernatural population (especially vampires), and helping each other clean up, when necessary.

The Apex in the Quarter is Esmee Childress, an Ugallu on the verge of becoming the Beast Incarnate. Everyone knows Esmee, and while she’s difficult to get along with sometimes, she’s a good friend to have when things go bad. But as she’s leaving her Legend behind and forging a Myth, she’s on the verge of doing something that will change the Quarter irrevocably, invite scrutiny from all over the country, and sour relations between the Children and the Kindred forever.

The characters have the chance to prevent Esmee’s plans from coming to fruition, but do they want to? Do they support her intentions and ambitions, even if it means ruining their homes? If they do stop her, are they prepared to have such a powerful enemy? And in the midst of all this, a group of Heroes casts about blindly for a monster to slay. They’re on Esmee’s trail, but Esmee is happy to distract them with younger Beasts (read: the characters) until she’s ready to party.

The game suggests running this as a part of a long term chronicle with the characters already established as residents and players in the French Quarter. Which is extremely limiting. They can be visitors but they take hefty penalties on investigation rolls for being newcomers, and the entire point of the adventure is that there are going to be far reaching and long lasting consequences for the Beasts of the French Quarter as a whole, and not having people with a stake in that fight will lead to a game where the players don't really give two fucks about what happens once they're done and just want to watch the fireworks.

In addition to Esmee, who is basically a plot device wearing a skin suit, there are two Hero NPCs that are relevant to the story. Allain Bourmand is an underground concert promoter who has been newly awoken to his Hero nature, mostly because Esmee fucked with him for this explicit purpose. Rhonda Blank is a Beat Cop who found out that her Detective Mother was killed by a Beast who wanted her position in the force and ended up killing him. She's not great at detective work and isn't exactly the best Officer, but she wants to be. Which makes her the character you want to sympathize with most in this story. Except the game wants you to murder her.

Esmee Comes Calling
Esmee shows up at one of the players homes or place of work and chats for a while, shares some rum, and leaves. The players can roll to talk her up and figure out what's going on but all they can figure out right now is that she's planning something, and that she's ludicrously powerful.

Explosion on the Water
Some time after Esmee leaves, there's an explosion near the riverfront. If the characters can get to him in time they can try to question him before he dies.


“Paid…she paid me. Make this. Came back.” The man isn’t making sense, and you can’t stop the bleeding. He’s against the back wall, a bloody smear leading down to his prone body. The wail from approaching sirens mingles with the cry from a riverboat, and he shifts slightly. “She took it. It’s not here no more.” You glance around the ruined shop, but how will you figure out what was taken?
Of course the only way they'd get there in time is if they decided to follow Esmee after she left their place, because yeah, she was here a minute before the place went up. If the players are knowlegeable about New Orleans they might recognize that this guy is Stephen Olmos, who's ex EoD and sometimes works with the police department. If they have a mage who can heal him or a vampire who can embrace him they'll find out that Esmee had him build two bombs loaded with a potent toxin capable of killing anyone near the blast site. If they investigate the shop they'll find identifying personal effects of the place where Esmee met the characters, but they can't be sure they found them all.

Rhonda Blank approaches the characters at their home or business in the french quarter, accompanied by a few uniformed police officers. This scene isn't much else than a way to get Rhoda on the scent of the Beast party so she can use Loremaster to put Anathema on them. If they perform particularly poorly in the opposed roll they let slip that they were at the shop so she has even more reason to think they're behind everything.

Trace Chemicals
Somehow the party needs to find out that Olmos had a supplier. Either from Olmos himself, or some streetwise rolls. This is Ghist, another one of the named NPCs that is a supernatural OF SOME KIND THAT ISN'T SPECIFIED AND IS SUPER COOL AND AWESOME AND WILLING TO ENTER INTO A FAMILY TIES CONDITION WITH THE BEAST AND GIVES THEM SPECIAL NIGHTMARE POWERS AND goddamn shut up. Anyways they find out that Ghist gave Esmee the poison that sill murder a bunch of people. If they're particularly adept at talking to Ghist they'll(BECAUSE NO GENDER IS SET FOR THIS CHARACTER WHO'S SO AMAZING AND GREAT) maybe tell the players about the fact that they've had dreams about the concert venue where Esmee is planning her big thing.

Concert Promotion
As they're leaving Ghist's place they find a bunch of fliers advertising for an underground concert. The Genre and Band are left ambiguous so you can pick whatever will get the players more likely to care and attend. They can interrogate the flunkies who are putting up the fliers, or just ask around about the concert. Which might let them find out about Allain, and that the concert is happening illegally because there's no way that Allian has permission to use the space.

Rhonda attacks the players in a back alleyway. Allain doesn't participate but he does lend Rhoda some of his swayed followers and is watching from a nearby rooftop with binoculars. The players should have no reason to find him unless they're hyper paranoid and spread out to search for him immediately. This is meant to be a slaughter of Rhonda's followers by the player party and probably the death of Rhonda herself, if she gets away she'll put anathema on someone else and try again the next night, either way the party has bodies to hide and if they don't the cops will definitely find out about them.

Meeting with Esmee
At some point during this whole affair the party is meant to confront Esmee about what they've figured out.


Esmee will answer the characters’ questions, provided they’re respectful. Some likely questions and answers include:

What’s going to happen at the concert? Esmee is happy to reveal that the concert is a trap for Allain and his flunkies; she intends to kill him, publically, and then take her leave of the city. She doesn’t reveal that she’s near her Inheritance (partially because she’s excited about it and doesn’t want to jinx it, and partially because she sees it as her business), but if the characters pry, she reveals that she’s “on the verge of transformation.” A character can realize what she means if the player makes an Intelligence + Occult roll (see below).

Why did you lead Heroes to us? Esmee says she figured a brood of Beasts could handle a little attention from a Hero, and anyway she’s going to kill him soon. If they mention Rhonda, she apologizes and says she didn’t know about her (which is true). If they press the issue, she offers to kill Rhonda herself and will indeed do it that night, in whatever dramatic manner you wish.

Why did you kill Olmos? Esmee was concerned that Olmos would talk to someone, and she was also hungry at the time.

What about the French Quarter? If the characters raise the point that her plan is going to damage the Quarter, she claims the damage will be minimal. If they point out that explosions and poisons tend to have unpredictable effects and are likely to bring to mind “terrorism” more than “unholy monster,” she takes their point and agrees to leave the explosives and gas out.

Who gets your store? Esmee had been planning on burning her little mask store down, but if one of the characters wants it, she’ll sign over the deed.

This is the only time the players have to point out to Esmee that her plan is pretty fucking stupid. Mainly that killing a bunch of people and poisoning them isn't going to cement her legacy so much as remind people of a Terrorist Attack. Also the players can't really stop Esmee, she's got Lair 8, she will murder them. The only way to 'stop' her is to kill Allain first, which will just piss her off.



Cheers erupt as the band takes the stage for their encore. They’ve only done a few songs, of course — when you don’t have permission to use the space, you can’t linger. But the crowd seems to be enjoying the music, the drugs, and the overpriced beer. That’s when Esmee appears.

She walks past the musicians and shoves the lead singer. He goes flying off the stage and collides with a wall with a wet thud. She grabs the mic and her voice flows like spiced rum. “Allain? Where you at, sweetie?”

This isn't set up to be a massive brawl unless that's what the players want. This is the denoument as Esmee gets everything she ever wanted and flies away. If Rhonda is still alive and the players don't stop her, she might injure Esmee, or distract her long enough for Allian to do so, which ruins her plans.


If the characters haven’t talked to Esmee or have failed to convince her to leave the explosions out of it, she steps on stage and calls Allain out. Allain rouses his troops and draws a pistol, but Esmee activates the bombs. Anyone standing near them suffers nine levels of lethal damage, and the area immediately takes on the Noxious Gas Tilt (as the Lair Trait; p. 106). Esmee uses it to impose her other Lair Traits (she doesn’t impose Downpour, though; she wants everyone to see her). Using Wings of Shadow, she leaps high in the air, and then dives straight down and lands on Allain, crushing him. With the crowd in a panic, she takes to the air, gives a cry that shatters windows for blocks, and flies out over the river.

The Storm
If the characters have talked to Esmee and convinced her that the explosives are unnecessary, she still takes the stage but calls upon her Storm-Lashed Atavism and strikes Allain with a lightning bolt, killing him. She then uses the Atavism to call up winds, doing minor damage to the area, and takes flight, again becoming the Beast Incarnate.

So yeah she's had the power to one-shot kill him for years but wanted an audience and to murder a bunch of people in the process instead.

Remember that one of the themes of this adventure is "Do the players even have the right to stop Esmee?" I think the answer at this point is 'Fucking yes she's a psychopath like all Beasts are.'

And now the party's over, so it's THE MORNING AFTER .

Except with more cops, and probably Werewolves, and angry vampires, and mages, and VASCU, and Task Force Valkyrie, and the Quarter just lost it's Apex. Basically the point is that if the player characters are actually residents of the French Quarter they're in deep shit and that was the intent all along.

This is apparently the ideal Beast story, the players are just living their lives, someone comes in and fucks it up for them, they deal with it, then go back to watching TV.

That said, the book is now done. It's over. I no longer have to read the Beast Core Book ever again. That isn't to say that we're done with Beast yet, after all, Halloween is coming up. And what's Halloween without some scary stories?

Well, maybe not 'scary', more 'a whole bunch of justification that Beasts are actually terrible people in every conceivable way'.

Up Next: Gaslighting.

The Primordial Feast: Part 1

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

The Primordial Feast: Part 1

The Primordial Feast is the fiction anthology that was one of the Stretch Goal rewards for the Kickstarter. There are some good stories in here that portray beasts as every bit the Monsters they actually are, but that isn’t where the book starts.

It Gets Easier


She was trembling as the key scratched at the lock. Twenty-five years, all leading up to this moment, two and a half decades of confusion, fear, rejection, and finally — finally — understanding.

It could have come sooner, she knew that much. It just hadn’t been time. She hadn’t been ready yet; things had to be perfect before she could truly get the satisfaction she needed from tonight. So much of her time had been carefully curating things and arranging them just so. No fumbling first attempts, no learning curve. No, it couldn’t happen until she knew exactly what she was doing, until she could squeeze every last drop of absolution from this moment. The maddening itch had been growing in her mind for years, yearning for her to scratch it. At this point, it was more a scab to finally be picked and rid of, a moment of bittersweet pain and so, so much relief.

She could hear her cursing outside, as the key wouldn’t turn, and then the clatter of a dropped phone. The door finally swung upon, and her target entered, distracted as she searched for cracks on the screen until the door creaked shut and darkness swallowed the entryway.

Clara watched the initial fear of an old, familiar dream seize her mother as she realized the blackness was too thick to see through. It was one that had plagued her for years before she recognized it for what it was, one she learned quickly to recognize. The visceral fear as she walked darkened, inscrutable landscapes was something she remembered well, betrayed by eyes that were useless in such absolute dark.

The story opens up on Clara hiding in her mother's house waiting to terrorize and attack her. Clara brushes her hair, scrapes her nails across the walls, and otherwise makes spooky scary noises. When her mother tries the wall switch only to find that the electricity has been cut, Clara ambushes her and shoves her into the coat closet and locks the door. She eventually lures her mother into the kitchen and slams her face into the china cabinet door.


“What do you want!”

There was an undeniable note of terror in the other woman’s voice now, a shrillness that sent a delightful shiver down Clara’s spine. She was feeling better every moment her prey felt worse, and the echoing laughter grew louder as she allowed herself a moment to truly enjoy the experience.

Her laughter abruptly died as her mother turned and fled the room again, arms outstretched to try to avoid obstacles. With a capering leap, Clara took the shorter route to what she assumed was her mother’s ultimate goal of the staircase. The stumbling sounds of her progress confirmed her suspicion. As she crossed in front of the hall that led to the stairs, Clara knelt and stuck a leg out to neatly trip the woman, who fell with a cry. Standing over her before the front door, Clara grinned down as her mother turned into a sobbing wreck, curled about herself, and begged to be left alone. Little more than a looming silhouette, she crouched over her mother’s form and reached out, hands closing around her collar, and remained silent for a long moment, as the shrieks grew louder. They reached their highest pitch as eyes and teeth glinted in the darkness and hot breath hovered inches from her face; when her ears began to ring, Clara shifted her grip, pulling the fabric to secure a choke and holding it until the woman went limp.

We cut to a short time later when she's turning the power back on and opening up the door to reveal her boyfriend Aiden, who is also a beast, a 6+ foot tall Anakim so that he can lug her mother upstairs and put her in the bedroom.


“What, exactly, did you do to her again?”

“Nothing yet. Not really.” She followed a step or two behind as he hefted the unconscious body with disarming ease and began up the stairs. “Just...used atmosphere to my advantage. The heavy stuff comes later.”

Her companion smiled over his shoulder at her, oddly proud.
It's pretty safe to say that some of the stories in here have stuff that's more fucked up than anything in the core book.

Anyways, Clara carves "HOW DID YOU SLEEP!?" into the mirror with a knife, and then her and her boyfriend have some small talk that makes it very very clear that they're fucking before going home and not having sex because both of them are too tired, and Clara Dreams.


Normally she woke at that point, but tonight the dream continued. Voices floated up from the dark, agitated and loud, the half-remembered amalgam of a hundred fights between her parents. The shrill pitch of her mother always drowned out her father’s almost desperate tone, pleading with her to calm down, to be rational. Eventually the words resolved into an entire scene, one she had witnessed from a doorway, her mother pacing and her father sitting at the table, telling her again that they could find someone who could help. Bless his heart; her father had tried so hard. He had never condemned her the way her mother had, never ceased to acknowledge she existed, and never tried to force into something she wasn’t — at least not beyond sending her to a dozen or so psychiatrists. She had terrified them all one by one, and eventually he stopped making appointments, refusing to believe that the only solution would be to have her committed.

For his sake, she had begun to learn to be more careful and discreet when she hunted, and for his role in protecting her, he had never earned her ire.
Which seems to imply that she underwent her devouring at a very young age. Or that this was written back when the default assumption was that Beasts were born what they are and thus 'changed' at a much younger age on the average.

She wakes up, heads downstairs, and their roommate Erin walks in from her night out on the town, because she's a Vampire you see. Erin hits on Clara, Clara tosses a pot of hot coffee in her face in retaliation because apparently that's very much against the rules they had set forth or something. Well more specifically, Clara's okay with her trying but she's going to react the same way every time. Aiden comes down to break things up because he's a Anakim Tyrant and keeping people in line is what he likes to do. Regardless, apparently Erin has some role in Clara's master plan, then goes downstairs into her secret Vampire Lair to sleep away the day. Clara gets a phone call from her father who wants to meet her for breakfast and to talk about soemthing.

Aiden drives her to the diner and drops her off with a kiss. Her father inquires as to what she's doing with a man who looks as old as he is, she says "he's not" and neglects to mention that he's instead much older. Her father got a call from her Mom about the attack last night, curious if Clara was involved in some way. Clara is insistent that her mom just dreamed the whole thing up and comes just short of spontaneously climaxing playing the victim for her father.


“You weren’t anywhere near that house last night, were you?”

His voice held both hope and resignation, as if he was prepared for either answer but holding out hope for the better of the two options.

“She really blames me for this? I haven’t said a word to the woman since she took everything from you and we left. That was when I was…twelve?”

“Ten,” he quietly, pointlessly corrected.

“Oh. I’m sorry. It must have just felt like an extra two years got tacked on. You know how time flies when you’re having fun? Yeah, it stretches out when everything’s gone to hell.”


“How the hell do I catch the blame for this? Please, tell me how that makes sense.”

“Clara, I know how you can be...”

Her eyes flashed at him, hands tightening into fists. “You ‘know how I can be’? What’s that supposed to mean?”

He was obviously trying to dance around it, to find polite words and neutral phrasing. "I know how toxic that environment was for you. Which is why I took you out of it. But you never made it easy on us — me or your mother — with the way you like to...get even.”

“So you really think that after fifteen years of having absolutely no contact with her, I suddenly decided one day to go back and... carve a message in her mirror? What the hell does that accomplish?”

“Maybe you wanted to go back home.”

“Home? That house, that was never home. The tiny two-bedroom place we stayed in for a while right after she took the house and half your paycheck in alimony? That was more my home than that house ever was.”

She's staying angry and intense to "hide her giddiness" and goes on to explain that her mother started referring to her as "the demon child" and "that thing" rather than her daughter, and again this happened at the age of 10, so she changed super young and her mother still wasn't strictly wrong.

Anyways, Clara gives Erin some of her blood for the "Mother's Milk" thing and Erin manages to seduce/put to sleep her mother's boyfriend who's waiting for her at a restaurant. Erin raises a fuss because he's old and dumpy but Clara scares her into compliance. The three of them drag him back to her mother's place, dump him in a chair, and kill the electricity. At which point Erin peaces out because she wants no part of what comes next, but Clara wants Aiden to stay.

Her mother comes home, Clara gaslights her a little more before the two of them decide it's time to go and pull her into Clara's lair.


The darkness lifted just enough, and instead of the man and woman that had been torturing her, there were two unspeakable things, one enormous, hulking, musclebound humanoid, and next to it simply a void. It roiled with motion at the edges, but beyond that was simply a dark place, its shape and size ever-shifting. The only constant about it were to two gleaming pricks of light deep in the shapeless horror, focused intently on one thing. The words, cold and poisoned, reached her somehow, though if she was hearing them or simply knowing they were intended was unclear.

Hello, mother.


You were right, you know. Right all along.
She tried to stifle her shriek and continue to press on, hoping she could escape the cramped room and find a way out. No matter where she looked or where she went, the dark cloud was always at the edge of her vision, seemingly inescapable. The smoky form could easily navigate the thin spaces between the shelves, and when she stepped into an intersection it was there, filling up any other venue of escape.

You were so sure I was a monster, mother. I just wanted to let you see the truth, at least once.

There was a roar from behind them, and heavy footsteps. Bookshelves began to go flying as Aiden joined the chase.

Are you happy you were right?

She took off again, and Clara watched her go. There would be no escape from the library. She’d claimed it as hers after getting locked in one night after closing and terrorizing the night janitor. The living room had been a childhood acquaintance’s, taken after scaring three girls to tears at a sleepover.


The door suddenly appeared at the end of a row of books, and with a rough sob and tears running down her cheeks, her mother staggered toward it. Clara paced her easily, staying just steps behind as they travelled the Burrow out of the library Chamber. It was a city street with fewer and fewer street lamps lit on it, growing darker as they led to the core of Clara’s Lair. There wasn’t so much a door leading to it as arriving meant an abrupt loss of footing in the dark. Without a floor, her mother tumbled down with a cry as she fell forever.

Welcome home. Clara relaxed in the unfathomable dark, comfortable in the embrace of the all-encompassing black. Wait for the pressure to crush you bit by bit. And be glad that he didn’t get the chance.

She waited a few more moments, grimly determined, until she could feel Aiden just outside her Heart. When she turned her attention to him he gave a grave nod, and she finally lashed out to strike the final blow. There was a dry snap, the sharp note of a voice suddenly cut off, and a low growl from the two Horrors sated by the final judgment rendered.
You know, this is very good and evocative writing, and describes what's happening very well visually. But the content is ludicrously fucked up. A woman murdered her mother for the fact that she called her out for what she was, a monster that replaced her daughter at a young age.

Anyways, a week or so goes by, mom's boyfriend has been arrested for her mother's disappearance and likely murder. But then her Dad calls.


“Clara, my face?”

She shrank from the disappointment in his voice, curling up on the couch.


He was quiet for a long time on the other end, the next thing she heard was a sob poorly masked by a cough and the sound of him wiping at his face.

“I still loved her, you know. At least the way I remembered her.”

“Dad, I—”


There was cold finality in his voice, and she was quiet until he spoke again.

“Nothing else after this. This is the last time I help you.”

She nodded before remembering he couldn’t see her, and swallowed hard before she answered.

“Yeah. Thank you.”


Three short beeps and that was it. Aiden came to sit behind her, pulling her into his lap with little resistance. He understood enough about the unexpected consequences when things escalated, and how little her mind would assuage the sudden guilt now that her Horror was likely sleeping.

“It gets easier.” His arms tightened around her, and he ran a comforting hand through her hair. “Everything gets easier with time.”

So yes, this is a good story, but if you want to put your best foot forward and say "Hey these are guys you want to play in a roleplaying game!" then you probably shouldn't open with 30 pages of torture/murder/revenge fantasy of a girl against her mother.

Mountain Devil's Trill
In Port Townsend an Eshmaki is seeding the local area with nightmares.


Henry Duvall, 51, CPA, slept like a baby in the honeymoon cottage next to the newest and youngest Mrs. Duvall. He dreamt of that pleasant assignation a week or two ago, the third such in which he required his even younger personal assistant to bend over his desk for easiest access during a “working lunch break” taken behind the locked door of his office. She was crying — he liked it when she cried, it made her shake silently in ways that were even more enjoyable than just his ability to have her any time he wanted her, because she needed that job, needed it desperately. Her ex was never on time with the child support payments and her kid needed food, clothes, and medicine, and oh, that desperation and those tears did make everything so much better. But there was something wrong this time — something terribly, terribly wrong, something grabbing hold of him, something hard and sharp and strong that clamped down tight and pulled. He fell backward, fountaining blood down his thighs, all over his chest and belly, trying to gather up what was left of himself while that thing he hadn’t known she had, hadn’t even suspected, chewed and chewed and chewed
By dream castrating a power-assurance rapist, sure.

Anyways, as he's shadow-floating home, his Makara friend rebukes him for not feeding better. "Hungry. You are hungry and you need to eat something more substantial than the castration fears of middle-aged assholes.You know it, I know it, so for fuck’s sake just go into town and find some douchecanoe who deserves it. I promise I’ll help you hide the body." Our heroes everyone. The Eshmaki mentions that something "smells off" about the dream and it isn't just his hunger.

The next morning we find out that the Makara is Sonny Tselihye and the Eshmaki is Kevin Ashmun-McCray. They're also roomates and I'm pretty sure they're also gay. We find out that Kevin's been hungry because his normal hunting grounds are currently in the middle of a Forest Fire and he needs some crunching bone and blood. Sonny says that Rush week is happening in Seattle soon and that's a good way to find someone worthy of killing. Kevin responds that "Being a frat boy isn't a prima faca case for being an asshole. Neither is being a tourist or owning an Escalade." Which... seems a little bit self-defeating when being a frat boy is what turned someone into an acceptable target in the main book. But at least it's trying to be self aware. Anyways they go out onto the deck to try and wake up in the cold air and Sonny begins to smell whatever it is Kevin's smelling, and they suggest bringing in the "old man" who apparently initiated Kevin and Sonny in Beast things because soemtimes threats aren't really threats, like Kevin wasn't a threat or something.

Then Kevin's music student pulls up, because you see he's a Orchestra conductor and he also teaches his star pupil violin student on the side. Anyways, his student Samantha's in a tiff about something, generally being mopey and angry and nothing like the "cheerful ball of various energies" that she normally is. When she reponds to his good-natured ribbing with tears, he's eventually able to coax out of her the cause of her distress. Her father is out of prison and despite the restraining order against him he probably knows where they are and Samantha doesn't want to move again for the sixth time because she's got friends and school and is generally doing well. But he called her Aunt in Bellingham and her mom is pretty sure he knows where they are. Samantha is sent on her way and Kevin pulls up the fire map and lo and behold the fires are in a line from Bellingham to where Samantha lives isn't that super convenient.

Yes we're in for more parental murder escapism, how did you know?

That night in their dreams Kevin and Sonny notice that the primordial dream-hills around their city are on fire which is probably bad so Sonny agrees to go find the old man and leaves Kevin at home to lay low because kevin's got a reconstructed knee for some reason that I can't really be bothered to remember but it is important that he has one.

The next day Sonny is gone by the time Kevin wakes up, and Kevin goes about getting ready to teach more students at his home when he gets a phone call from Samantha's father who wants to arrange a "Parent Teacher Conference".


“I know who you are, Mr. Palladino, and I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

“No? Really?” Something crashed outside — it sounded like the garbage bins out back — and Kevin reflexively reached for the window to make sure it was locked, then crossed to do the same for the front door and the patio doors.

“She’s keeping my kid from me, you know. The bitch cut and ran as soon as she could, got the court to declare me dangerous to her and the kid.”

Kevin pulled the sturdiest of his canes out of the rack — hardwood cored in titanium — and took the stairs down toward the lower floor to check the back and the music room doors. “Mr. Palladino, I don’t know your wife that well. I don’t know you at all. But I do know Samantha, and I will do nothing at all to endanger her, or to help you violate any orders against you, or force her to see you if that’s not what she wants. She’s a wonderful girl, Mr. Palladino.” The back door was locked with the key and the deadbolt, and Kevin crossed into the music room, reaching for the light switch. “She’s grown up to be a wonderful girl without you in her li—”A hand closed around his wrist and, before he could even begin to react, his bad leg was crumbling under the force of a heavy, well-aimed blow and the hardwood floor was rushing up to meet his face. The phone skittered out of his hand as he hit hard, every pascal of air driven out of his lungs by the force of impact, a hand knotting in his hair and slamming his head into the floor once, twice, a knee pressed into his lower back pinning him down. He tried to struggle, to get his feet back under him, to set some kind of leverage, and was rewarded with a coughing, rumbling laugh, like a piece of industrial machinery rolling over and a stench of boiling oil and searing blood so thick it made his head spin even harder.

“You’re tougher than you look. I’ll give you that.” The weight came off his back and he lifted his head just in time to get a good look at the boot coming at his face.

Anyways, Kevin wakes up in an abandoned Ranger Station high up in the mountains, with Palladino doing his best torture/captor impression, trying to get Kevin to spill on where his wife and daughter are so he can kill them, because they are his. Kevin lets on that he knows "what" Palladino is, and that the Old Man can help him, but Kevin doesn't want help.


“Hurt? I’m not hurting.” Nicholas rose, a smile spreading across his face that had nothing to do with any of the emotions usually associated. “And I’m not alone.” He tapped his temple. “I’ve got all I need right here. I know what I need to do and I know how to do it. I can find the people who have to fucking burn any damn time I want. And now I have a pretty good idea where Lindie and the brat are so I can finally give them what’s been coming to them. I’m a little bit sorry they dragged you into it. You seem like a pretty decent guy for a—”
Around this time is when Kevin manages to break free of his bonds and smashes a lamp, chair, and oven into Palladino's face before running away.

Also that last word was almost 100% going to be "Fag".

Kevin runs higher up the mountain as best as his knee can allow, to where the snow and damp wood should keep the fires at bay, of course they don't, because Palladino is a fire giant. Kevin also laments that "This isn't what his fire is for" because it's for punishing the guilty and blah blah blah. Anyways, it starts snowing with an unseasonable blizzard which is enough for Kevin to impose his lair on the mountain and merge with his Horror, which gives him the advantage over Palladino and gives him the ultimatum of going to go Learn with the "Old Man" and leaving his family alone, or he dies here. Palladino spits at him, and Kevin's Horror gets a good meal.

Oh, and Sonny helps him hide the body.

Death With Dignity
Ed wakes up in the back seat of a car, properly hogtied with a noose around his neck, and begins promptly struggling to get free. His horror, the great Fire bird, tries to help. He also tries to guilt the driver into letting him go since kidnapping is a crime before he realizes that he can't break free of the ropes because they're wrapped in leaves from Rock Creek Park and he can't break anything from there and that it definitely wasn't that way not even a few hours ago, meaning that his captor is a Hero.

The driver makes a hard turn which tosses Ed into the footwell face first and makes it nearly impossible for him to move, as the door near his head opens up he manages to squeak out a strangled "I'm sorry charlie" before the knife comes down... and cuts his noose (come on, the story just started, what did you think?)


“Big talk, Eddie,” the woman said. “So much for punishing me.”

His vision returned. She lit a cigarette. The soft red glow illuminated her face.

He knew that voice. Even through sight blurred by aching eyes and hot tears, he could recognize her.


She was as tall as ever, a full head above him. She looked stronger, tougher. There was an aura of glory around her, a heaviness on Ed’s soul that he felt as he looked at her. It was a feeling he had experienced before, and one he had helped snuff out.

Ed had become used to looks of scorn, fear, and hatred. Sometimes he even welcomed them. That wasn’t how Mary saw him. She looked at him with pity, and he wasn’t sure how to feel.

There's then a flashback of Eddie as a kid with his best friend Charlie, who've run away from their class trip to Rock Creek Park. Charlie's sister, Mary, was supposed to be watching them. Ed had been having nightmares about a burning forest for weeks, that always ended with a bird descending on him. Coincidentally Charlie wanted to go see the mouth of the River nearby, and all of the trees and branches are looking awfully familiar to Ed. I'm reasonably certain that Ed didn't start the fire, but there's a huge forest fire nonetheless. And it's a lot smokier than his dreams, and the fire actually hurts.


His left hand swept across flames. Ed yelped and fell to the ground. He gagged on his dry throat. His head spun. He looked up at the sky. He saw light through the smoke and a dark shadow above him. He couldn’t make out its shape or size, but he knew who it was. The bird had arrived to snatch him up. The nightmare was ending.

He lifted his burnt hand to the sky. “Come on. Come and get me.”

Charlie called out for him. He sounded closer now.

“Just let ‘em take us, Charlie.”

Ed felt a sharp kick to his shoulder. The pain was a dull ache compared to his burned hand but the surprise was enough to make him sit up.

“We’re going back,” Charlie said. “Best chance we’ve got.”

Ed tried to say that they were close to the road, that they were going to burn no matter where they were, that it was all just a dream anyway and the bird was going to get them, but it came out slurred and quiet. Charlie said something in response, but he couldn’t hear him over the sound of a tree tipping over beside them. The tree careened forward and its branches caught in the burning canopies of smaller trees. The flames spat embers on the brush around them.

Charlie ran faster. Ed tried to keep up, stumbling over patches of dead leaves and branches. Charlie’s grip slipped every time he fell over, until all he was holding onto was his wrist. Ed steadied his footing but an upturned root caught his ankle. He fell on the ground face first. A new pain bloomed from his nose. He looked up to see an emerald blaze fall towards him.

“Ed!” Charlie dove over him. The burning wood rolled down Charlie’s back and Ed saw his face contort into a silent scream.

A trunk hit the back of Charlie’s head. Ed felt the entire weight of Charlie’s body on top of him. He didn’t feel him breathing. The fire tore through the back of Charlie’s shirt and spread over his corpse. Ed pushed him off and the world went black. Then he was awake again, rising into the air. He was on a stretcher attached by cable to a helicopter. Two paramedics were with him. They pumped clean air into his body. Everything hurt.

They reached the helicopter and one of the paramedics motioned to the pilot. They flew away from the smoldering forest. Ed hoped that Charlie was on board somewhere, but after they wheeled him out into the hospital, all that he saw come out of the helicopter were body bags.
that's... genuinely disturbing, made moreso by the fact that Ed isn't a beast yet.

Mary leads Ed into a diner at knifepoint, playing the part of the ditsy girlfriend to a T. They seat on opposite sides of a booth and Mary orders him his favorite, a Burger with extra Lettuce. Ed tries to reason with her, explaining that he had changed, but she had changed also, that this wasn't her. That she was different and going through the motions of something bigger than herself.


“I believe you,” Mary said. Ed saw the bloodlust in her eyes vanish. The Great Fire Bird felt his surprise. It flew back to him and perched on his shoulders.

“Something is wrong with us,” she said, “and I’ve been trying to stop it.”

The Great Fire Bird screeched into Ed’s ear.
She deceives! The great and awful light spreads within her! She seeks to snuff out our fire!

Mary reached out for Ed’s hand. “But now I know how.”

Attack! Kill! Hide! Flee! Run!

“You don’t have to do this,” Ed said. “You…we can walk away from this.”

Their hands clasped. “I don’t think I can,” she said. “And you just won’t.”

Mary’s grip tightened as he tried to pull away and the Hero’s look crept into her gaze. “I can’t walk away but I can end this. It’s all so simple, Eddie.”

Mary continues that Eddie's always been a Firebird, and she should have known, if she had known then she wouldn't have let Charlie run off with him into the forest, if only she had stopped them then Charlie would still be alive. Ed tells her that that isn't true at all. Mary responds that she's been tracking him for months and that he's killed at least two people that she knows of. He says that they were guilty and needed to be punished, and that he was Hungry. Mary asks him if he was hungry when Charlie died. Ed says that isn't true and that he loved both of them like family.

Ed then inquires as to why she's doing all this, why she didn't just kill him in the car. Mary says it's cause he can only die in Rock Creek Park, where his fire has seeped into the trees. Edward points out that if that were true then he would have moved away years ago, and that it's all part of the Heroic Narrative and tries desperately to get her to stop. But she insists and finishes eating before leading him back out to the car.

There's another flashback, though a much more recent one. Ed and his brood are going out for a 'family meal' to celebrate his new job. There's a squatter in a building that someone wants gone and they're going to scare her off.


He stepped out of the moonlight. His eyes adjusted to the darkness and he saw their target. She kept her eyes on him, even though he was over a foot taller than she was. She was in rumpled, soiled clothes covered by a winter jacket made for an adult man. Her curled black hair was flat and matted with grease.

She couldn’t have been older than thirteen.

Oh well.

He grasped her shoulders and pulled her close. “Look at me!”

She saw him. Not the twenty-something grasping her, but the Beast within, the Great Fire Bird that spread fire among the fields and brought blessing and doom in equal measure. She felt its blazing glory and Ed saw the girl’s flesh singe. The warmth was overflowing. It was time to pull back now. He’d tell her to run. Ruth didn’t need to do anything direct to feed, so she’d just block the girl’s path. Morgan would probably scream one last threat at her and Anatoly would make sure she kept far away.

“Run,” he said, “Run away and never come back.”

The girl threw herself off the landing. Her neck twisted the wrong way when she hit the floor, and then she was still. Ed felt three things in succession: the instant feeling of being comfortably full, the Great Fire Bird falling asleep, and then numbing fear.

“I told you to stop!” Ruth said.

“I...” Ed began.

“Cop cars on the move!” Anatoly yelled. “Let’s book it!”

Ruth grabbed Ed and pulled him out of the warehouse. The girl’s corpse never left his sight until they were well beyond the warehouse door. The rest of the brood didn’t say a word to him on the ride back to town. For now, he was the only human among monsters.

We rejoin Ed and Mary driving to Rock Creek Park.


All they had to talk about was each other. Mary told Ed about the failed semester at college and the nightmares that came after. She told him about seeing monsters, and all the horrible things they did. She told him about changing that, about repairing lives, finding lost objects, and comforting the abused, all while she lost her apartment and her father died of cancer. She told him about the nightmare that pushed her over the edge. A girl fell to her death, pushed by a bird made of fire.

Ed told her about his last nightmare, about the bird of fire that ate his soul and made a nest in the empty space. He told her of the creatures he had known and the worlds he had seen. He told her about feasts and famines. He told her about the duty that the Dark Mother tasked his people with and everything else Ruth had tried to teach him. He told Mary about what she had told him when they were out of their broodmates’ earshot; about the cycle of Beast and Hero and how it wasn’t always that way. Ruth said that with enough time and understanding they could shift the tide back to a better time, when no one had to die.

No minds changed and no reconciliation occurred.
Have I mentioned that some of these stories have really good writing? Because some of these stories have really good writing.

Mary stops the car at the entrance to the park and tries to escort him out at shotgun point, Ed refuses and tries to get her to stop. But they're interrupted by Ed's Brood's car pulling up. Ed runs into the forest and the Brood start going to town terrorizing and trying to kill Mary, all while Ed is trying to get them to stop. Eventually she trips and twists her knee, and Ed swoops in (literally) to try and talk some reason into her


Mary hunched over her left knee. She had a firm grip on it, like she was trying to hold it together. Her eyes shut tight. “Well?” she asked. “What are you going to do?”

Anatoly yelled, “You see what happens when you screw with my family?” He wasn’t anywhere near them, and that gave Ed great relief.

“I’m going to save you,” Ed said. “We’re going to go home, and we are never going to see each other again.”

More trees fell. Ed helped Mary up.

“But you’re going to promise me, Mary, that you’re not going to kill anyone. That you’re going to keep helping people, no matter what. Because it works, it really works, no matter what you’re telling yourself.”

She looked at him as both man and prey. “Can you promise me that, Eddie?”

He saw her, standing alone and afraid in a forest that had no place for her. A trespasser. The Great Fire Bird hungered. Ed shut his eyes to block out the sharp pains of starvation. He heard Mary pick up her shotgun. The sound of falling trees was around them now.

“I can’t,” he said.

A pause. “Then I can’t either.”

She fired. His shoulder burst apart. Ed shrieked and it echoed through the trees like a birdcall. He kneeled on the forest bed, panting and sweating. He hadn’t bled since he was Devoured, and the hot blood darkening his shirt seemed to make up for lost time. He heard Mary reload.

The rest of Ed's brood catches up with her, and by the time Ed's aware of his surroundings again Anatoly is already shoulders-deep in his new snack.

We catch up with Ed and Ruth on the shores of the lake near Rock Creek Park. Ruth is worried about him because he's been acting strange since the attack, particularly because he's been gorging himself in an effort to put the Firebird to sleep. He's angry that he wasn't able to save Mary, but Ruth said he did what he could. He asks Ruth to take him to the underworld, because that's where Ghosts go, and because there are some ghosts there he wants to find. Well specifically she wants him to take his horror there, because he's going to undergo the retreat.


He looked at her with a flat expression. Ruth’s eyes widened. “Ed.”

“I couldn’t promise Mary anything. I didn’t kill anyone else this time, but I came close.”

“Ed, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I cut a man. I cut him for sneaking into his job at night, because I knew it’d get me a step closer to putting it to bed. I cut his ankles and made him crawl for help.”

She reached for his hand.

“I didn’t feel guilty, Ruth. Not about that. Not about that night. Not about anything.”

She held his hand tight. He squeezed her hand and smiled sadly. “When you were first showing me around, showing me who I was, we’d meet these Beasts who’d kill people without even stopping to blink,” he said. “That’s what it was like, Ruth. For a moment, I understood what it was like to be them. And that’s why I need to go.”

She starts crying, he hugs her, and then they both walk together into the forest so that he can return to the heart of his lair.

This is a good story, one of the better ones. But it just underscores the fact that Beasts are terrible people. This kind of character dynamic makes for a good story but there's no way in hell I would want to play something this soul wrenching in a tabletop setting.

But that's the first three stories in the book, there are six more. And the next one is... weird.

Up Next: I'm reasonably certain this isn't how Sin-Eaters work

The Primordial Feast: Part 2

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

The Primordial Feast: Part 2


This story opens with a kid named Jesse, drawn by a strange sound like someone banging on one of the steel doors in his college's art building.


“Is it jammed?” Jesse asked. From the other side he thought he could hear voices, maybe a man and a woman, it was hard to tell through the thick darkroom door. He repeated the question, louder this time, but if there was any particular response he didn’t hear one, just more indistinct talking. Jesse shivered, and with a sense of growing confusion realized the handle was cold in his hand. Had it been that way when he grabbed it? He felt like he would have noticed that. It was cold outside, but the heat was on in the building.
He let go, turned to walk away—
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, fine.” Jesse turned back, grabbed the handle and put his shoulder to the door. There was a moment’s resistance, but then the door flung open and Jesse stumbled after it into the darkened room. At first he figured the dim red light was simply par for the course in a darkroom, until he saw what was emitting it, and had just enough time to wonder who had put up torches in a classroom before the many things that were one was upon him. The door slammed shut as Jesse began screaming.
It ends as you can expect.

We rejoin the story with our POV Beast character, Sam, eating lunch with her friends at the cafeteria, Sam has a stalker of some kind. A supernatural creature that she's never smelled before, and while she first chalked it up to novelty, it is clear that she's been following her. Her horror, a Sphinx apparently, has gotten bored 'gnawing on the mystery' and wants to just go over there and shake her secrets loose. Sam isn't too keen on that idea, and plans on hitting up a bar later to find a nice dumb frat boy to quiet it down. But she is going to talk to her stalker very soon.

The POV switches to said stalker, a Sin-Eater named Becca. Who's looking over old college yearbooks while the ghost of her boyfriend Tom watches the Simpsons. She's looking over yearbooks because she's found pictures of Sam in them, looking very much the same, and going back at least 10 years. Sam's been good at staying under the radar, not being in any club photos or group shots, but she's been in the background in a few photos. She's relatively new to her Sin-Eater powers, and as such was pretty grateful for a campus that seemed relatively free of ghosts, but after she was a few of them flocking away from Sam she got curious. And one of the ghosts she talked to referred to Sam as "The Monster" so Becca thinks she's responsible for it. Her reverie is interrupted by an envelope being shoved under her door that has "STALKER" written on it. Tom thinks it might be boobytrapped but, well, it's an envelope. So Becca opens it, and inside is a request to meet. "Think it’s time we talked. Lunch tomorrow, 1 PM @Ike Hall? You know where I sit." Tom wants to accompiany her there, but Becca doesn't want to expose him to danger, besides, she won't be alone.

The meeting goes about as you would expect considering it's basically an RPG trope at this point. "What are you?" "No what are you?" etc etc. We find out that Bella and her boyfriend were killed in a car crash, but she was brought back by "The Angel" and now they keep ghosts and humans from messing with each other. Sam expresses that "this is my place, you know? I like it here. This school, this town. I don’t let anyone mess with it." Which i guess is about as positive an emotion as you can get out of a Beast. Becca asks Sam that if she's been here for twenty years than she must know about the locks under the art building and the gateway.

Cut to said gateway.


“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

The two women were standing in the basement hallway where Jesse had died only a few weeks earlier, staring at the last door he’d opened. The college had reopened the room in the week after the “tragic accident,” but now that the two women were close enough to it, no supernatural senses were required to feel the otherworldly chill emanating from the room. Sam stood across the hall from the door, hands on her hips and a disgusted, almost offended expression on her face. “You didn’t sense this before?” Becca asked.

“No! I mean, I haven’t been here in,” Sam paused to do some math. “Well, let’s call it a while. I got bored of art, figured I’d give it a break for a few years. Fuck!” She slammed her hand into the wall hard enough that Becca winced. “I’m getting sloppy.”

“Not to twist the knife,” Becca began cautiously, “but this is way, way older than a few years.” She pointed at the door, and then gestured around them. “This has been here since before all of this was built. Now something’s breaking and it’s coming apart.”
I don't hate the writing in this story, it's kind of charming even, but it doesn't really do anything besides be an almost scooby-doo adventure with a Sin-Eater and a Beast.


“Yeah, well, this? This is news to me.” Sam felt an absurd urge to attack the door itself and reined it in. She was already hungry. She hadn’t had a proper feeding since she noticed Becca following her around, and the bad mood that accompanied a lean time was only getting worse. “Seriously. I haven’t got a fucking clue what’s going on here, but I’m going to find out, believe me.” She felt the blood running down her palms and a feral smile crossed her face. “Nobody hunts here but me.”

“I don’t think anyone is hunting,” Becca said. Seeing Sam’s sideways look, she explained. “I mean, yes, whatever’s down here killed that guy. But I don’t think it’s a person, or even a thing. I think this place is hunting.”

“What, like … an Amityville thing?”

“Well, Amityville was a hoax,” Becca corrected reflexively, “but yeah, if it was real, I’d say something like that.” She put a hand out toward the door, feeling the chill intensify as she got closer. Even the gate under the old hanging tree back home hadn’t been this powerful, and that had set her heart racing just passing by. This gate, whatever it was, felt like standing too close to the bass speaker at a concert — a constant, low-level thrumming in her bones. “I did get some research done before I ran across you,” Becca said, pulling her hand back. Her fingertips looked bleached, as if she’d plunged them into a snow bank. “You know this was the site of the college founder’s original residence? I mean, it was the president’s house until the ‘50s, then it burned down and they had another building in mind for the president’s residence, so they put the new art building on top of it.”

“So, what, are you saying people died in the fire or something?”

“No, not like that. That might cause a haunting, but not this.”

“Was he like some sort of weird occultist or something?”

Becca frowned, considering. “Maybe? I don’t know how you’d create something like this on purpose. This is a real Avernian Gate — a gate to the Underworld –— but it’s been modified, somehow.” Becca gestured vaguely at the doorway, trying to find the right words. “Most gates are locked, one way or the other. Otherwise, people would just wander in and out of the Underworld, living or dead. That’s true here too. As strong as this gate is, believe it or not it’s still locked. Well, mostly.”
Or even maybe Buffy-ish. It's just not really treating the subject matter as dire or serious, it's just happening. And also Becca may have killed someone the previous night, but the game doesn't mention it.

Becca performs a little mock seance to summon a spirit to inquire more about the door and what might be beyond it. Though the appearance of the smoke-creature does startle them enough for Sam to pull out her claws and Becca to reflexively merge with her Geist into some kind of metal-angel thing. The gist of the conversation that ensues is that there is a spirit bound behind the door known as the "Devourer" that has been put there by the "Keeper", and only the Keeper may pass, the Keeper has also been away for a long time as it's obvious that the door hasn't been properly opened in a while. And without the Keeper, the Devourer has gotten hungry and forced the door open a few times like a "Fucked up venus flytrap". Becca has no idea how to get inside, but Sam uses her beastly powers to rip the door off it's hinges, which is to say it disappears once she rips at it long enough.


“Damn.” To Sam, the large, vaulted chamber looked like a man-cave designed by Aleister Crowley — tall shelves stacked with books, black candles burning in elaborate brass candelabras, rich carpets the color of pooled blood spread across the floor, even some overstuffed chairs with suspiciously textured leather. A fire blazed in the hearth, though no heat emanated from it, just waves of bitter cold.
The Devourer might once have matched the room better or so said the tatters of its suit, but it had bloated past human proportions, swollen skin bursting out through straining seams. Its face was a puffy mess of flesh devoid of any recognizable features aside from its wide, slobbering maw, which had distended to stretch almost the entire way around its head. What sheltered form of immortality it had grasped at had come at a steep cost. At the sound of their intrusion, it raised itself up on ponderous legs and gurgled at them, waving its fleshy hands in an unmistakable gesture of outrage and surprise.
Sam leaps at the devourer and cuts deep into it's arm, poisoning it, but it backhands her into a wall shattering half her face.

Becca decides that while she's never destroyed a spirit before, that this one probably deserves it, and then completely no-sells his punch to her face before ripping out his beating demonic heart and crushing it, because she's a Sin-Eater and killing ghosts is what they do. Becca suggests they leave before the place collapses, or does whatever happens when you destroy an evil devouring death-god. and they do so.


“I’ll come back and check on it later,” Becca said. Her skin was losing its metallic sheen, and fortunately, whatever sort of ectoplasm passed for the thing’s blood and tissue had evaporated on crossing through the gateway. In a moment, she looked herself again, just an unremarkable college girl. She paused. “Do… do you want to check it with me?”

“What, are we a team now?” Sam asked. She meant it to be sarcastic, but to her surprise, it came out straight, and to her greater surprise, she found she didn’t mind. She’d just learned there was a whole side to her campus she didn’t know, for one, and for another she’d started to admire the fearless girl who thought herself shy. Becca was blushing; about to apologize it away, but Sam squeezed her hand to stop her. “I’d like that.”

“Really?” Becca smiled. “I thought you had this territorial thing going on.”

“Well,” Sam said, “territory’s not just the place. It’s the people.” They made their way slowly up the stairs, arms around each other’s shoulders.
So yeah, like I said, very "Buffy". It's nothing serious, nothing new is expressed, but it's not fawning over how awesome beasts are Either so I'll give it a pass.

The Shepherd's lesson
Meanwhile I can barely bring myself to read this one again.


Zhuangzi, the great Taoist philosopher, once dreamed he was a butterfly, lazily fluttering about his garden on a spring evening. Upon waking, he couldn’t tell if he was a man who dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was a man. That story never used to bother me before I learned that dreams are real. I don’t have the luxury of doubt. I struggle with my own version of his dilemma with one big exception. Zhuangzi dreamed of something beautiful, and I dreamed of a monster.
Ugh. Just Ugh.


I felt the Hunger rear up in my bones, my head, and my heart. Under all the noise, I heard the monster Start to hiss and growl. I thought with all these people around, that I’d be okay. Yet again, I’m wrong. Breaking into a cold sweat, I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the growing sense of fear that swelled within me. All these people, all so close. I hadn’t been to a show in so long. Not since I realized the truth about what I am. Not since the monster. Too many people all crowded in. Too close, too real. How stupid of me to come here.
Anyways the Beast in question is there with her friend Colin, who's a werewolf. She's apparently part of his pack and has never seen another Beast. But then she notices that the lead singer of the band is a Beast of some kind, with seaweed in her hair and what not. And they lock eyes. There's some talk from Colin about how the band is so much better in person and that the audience is watching with almost rapt attention. So they try to get backstage to talk to "Bec", the bouncer stops them because that's what bouncers do.


“Just tell Bec that I’m here. She wants to see me. I guarantee you.”

The bouncer scoffed. “Sure she does.”

“Open the door,” I said. I also screamed it, the sound reverberating around the man from all angles. Reaching into his mind, I unfurled my wings and bared my teeth. I was everywhere. His face contorted and his whole body shook for a moment. Sweat began to pour down his forehead.

I reached past him and grabbed the doorknob. At the first hint of movement, he slunk away into the corner, his palms flat against the walls, his mouth still hanging open. The other patrons went about their business unware of my actions.

It seemed like a simple conversation to them.

Dinner is served. I hadn’t intended on feeding. I just needed to get past him. The Hunger abating as ferociously as it had arrived, I breathed a slow, contented sigh. The monster’s desperate craving sublimated into a newly strengthened sense of focus. “Thank you,” I said. The bouncer, gasping for air like a waterlogged swimmer, held his head in his hands and dropped to his knees. Colin following behind me, I walked through the door. We moved down a hallway decorated with faded old playbills on the walls. A single, uncovered light bulb hung from the ceiling and quietly buzzed.
There's something about this writing style that just bothers me. I'm not sure why.


“Excuse me, Bec? I need to talk to you,” I said.

“I was wondering if I’d get to see you,” she said. “Come in.”

Bec dismissed her bandmates, who left through the rear entrance to smoke and stow gear in the van. She motioned to a ratty couch. “Please, sit down.”

“My name is Sally. This is Colin.”

“Nice to meet you. Did you enjoy the show?”

“Fantastic,” I said, trying not to gush too much, “but I think you know the real reason I’m here.”

“I do,” said Bec, beaming for a moment. “You’re family.”


“You’ve been alone this whole time?” She asked. “I met Colin pretty soon after it all happened, but I’ve never met someone like us.”

Bec nodded. “I’m sorry. Some of it is instinctual, but it must have been overwhelming to cope with all that by yourself.”

Colin said, “I tried to help Sally the best I could, but I don’t understand how any of it works.”

“I’m sure you played a greater role than you realize,” said Bec. “The Uratha and the Begotten are both descended from the Dark Mother. We’re cousins, you might say.”

“How did you know what I am?” he asked.

“I’ve met your kind before.”

Again, this story isn't treading any new ground, the problem is more that it's retreading stuff that the core book has told us repeatedly and still talking down to us like we're children.


“Feeding must have been a problem,” she said. She studied me intently. Like a bug on a pin? No, like a fine painting hanging on a museum’s wall. That was it.

I finally caught what she said, and a wave of vertigo hit me. All the memories of the things I did to feed the monster. “I’ve done things I’m not proud of.”

“You shouldn’t feel guilty. People need to feel that kind of fear from time to time, or they get too complacent. You said you use the word ‘monster’ to describe what we are. Do you know where that term comes from?”

“No,” I said.

“It’s derived from a Latin word meaning ‘warning’. That’s what we do. We warn them of all the dangers in the world. We teach them what to fear because that knowledge saves lives. It shaped civilization.”

“But we hurt people.”

She cleared her throat. “Back when I first realized the truth, I was lucky enough to find Victor. He helped me figure this stuff out. Let me ask you what he always asked me when I would doubt. What does a shepherd do?”

“Guides the flock?” I’d never really been around sheep, so I was guessing.

“That’s what I said, too. Yes, but how does he do it?” I could see in her eyes that she had a specific answer in mind, but I didn’t know what.

“I don’t know. I guess he shows the sheep the right path to take?”

“Wrong. A shepherd shows the flock where it shouldn’t go. If a sheep tries to stray of the path the shepherd shoos the wayward animal back to where it needs to be.”

“For its own good,” added Colin. “That lamb would be doomed out in the wilderness.” He seemed like this made sense to him. It was a little unnerving.

“Exactly,” said Bec, smiling at him. “We are what they need. You can’t simply tell them because they don’t understand the words. Not really. Oh, they’ll know, but what they need is to feel. Deep in their hearts. Deep enough that they’ll never forget or rationalize it away.”

“How do you do that?” I asked.

“You terrify them. You put so much fear in them that it creates a watershed moment. The kind that divides their lives into ‘before’ and ‘after’.” Her eyes

“You mean traumatize them,” said Colin, crossing his arms. “That’s pretty cold.”

“It’s necessary,” she replied. “People need this. They long for it. Why do paying customers watch horror movies or ride rollercoasters?”

The rest of the story continues like you'd expect a story that needs to hit some bulletpoints to explain concepts. They find out there's a Evil Beast hunting Bec but Bec has a plan to kill him. So Sally volunteers herself and Colin to help. They go to the Primordial Dream which is like the Shadow where the Beasts merge with their Horrors. They go to Bec's Lair where they face the Shadow but Bec dies and undergoes the Retreat. Just imagine that except in more florid language that glorifies how awesome Beasts are.

Bigger Bites
This story is presented in segments labeled with "X Years ago" progressing from 15 years ago to present day. And focuses on two characters, Robin and Wendy, with Robin being the POV character.

Fifteen years ago, Robin is at a new school, studying Titus Andronicus to apply to the school play, in lieu of eating due to a billing issue with her dad's bank. The hunger is making it difficult to focus. She's interrupted and distracted by the appearance of Wendy who has Cataracts.


I cleared my throat and shifted on the bench a little. “Well, I was going for the role of Titus, who—”

“But you’re a girl,” she said.

I shrugged. “My dad taught me to always go for the best roles. Even if you don’t fit the role, directors like actors who show off with the heavy parts. Besides,” I said, grinning, “I feed on the shock of the audience.”

She was grinning too. “Yeah, I could see that being really cool. Walk out on stage, everyone’s wondering who you’re supposed to be, then you shock them all as you do…whatever it is Titus does. That’d be cool to see.”

“Yeah, well,” I said, distracted by a slight growl in my stomach. “I guess; I should get back to memorizing it then.”

She frowned. “Aren’t actors supposed to practice their lines out loud?”

“Well, yeah, but I don’t know where I can do that, and I don’t want to look crazy, reading to myself” I said, shifting back to read.

The girl stood up. “Well, c’mon then, I know a place that should work.”

I felt a little warm. “Nah, you don’t need to.”

“A trade then,” she said. “You give me a performance; I give you half of my lunch.”

My stomach roared at that. Traitor.

“Is that a yes?”

There was something disarming about this chick. It usually takes me a month or two to make friends. But even with her poking and prodding, I felt at ease with her. Hell, I was kind of intrigued at her sticking around despite my being a jerk. Not a lot of people just go up and start talking to strangers.

“I guess I can be blackmailed into it,” I groaned. I stood up and followed her into the school.
So basic Junior High stuff.

Twelve years ago.


“You are not enough,” the wolf said, the cavern turning it into a chorus of spiteful growls.

I didn’t have breath to waste on an argument. Instead, I pulled myself inches ahead through the water, shivering in cold pain as I tugged on the ribbon at my fingertips. The tunnel continued to curve ahead of me, and I wanted to say I wasn’t anywhere near the end. But I wouldn’t. I always made my way to the wolf’s jaws inevitably, but tonight, it was going to be my choice.

“Your promise is already betraying you,” the wolf snarled. “If an immortal hand could not free the world for two, what hope can your failing form give us?”

I fumbled the ribbon in between my fingertips for a long time, slowly wrapping it around and around until I was decently tangled up in it. I dragged my head up, and took a breath just in time for the water to surge up. I gagged and sputtered, and I swore frost was spreading over my lungs as I gulped quick, small breaths. I went for another deep inhale, and pulled myself forward, cringing as I tore up my belly along the sharp rocks. I reminded myself of the wolf chewing on me night after night after night, my throat crunched, my femurs stabbing out, my rib cage collapsing. That thought filled me, and I screamed as I threw my other arm onto the ribbon.

I knew why it was happening. The wolf was trying to escape the ribbons and the cavern, but it wasn’t strong enough. All it had to eat were scraps, the unwilling, the unaccepting-people who were nothing but empty calories. It kept drawing me in, but like an audience, it kept eating faces I wore, and never the real me. If it kept going like that, it would stay trapped forever. The wolf didn’t get the idea, though, and so it would keep gnawing on me every night. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I wasn’t going to let the wolf keep drawing me back in night after night until it finally realized it wasn’t filling itself. I would not let it control me like that.

“Bright as your defiance is, you are bound as deeply as I. Your flesh binds you to the world that bars your dream. Your fate is sealed.”

I started fidgeting the ribbon around my other fingers. I could barely get them to twitch. I wasn’t going to stop until the wolf was free. I wasn’t going to stop until I was free.

The wolf laughed, long and loud, genuinely pleased. It sounded cracked, like faint faith grated a throat used to cynicism.

“Fulfill the oaths, then. Become all that I am and free yourself from this cycle.”

I tore the ribbon apart, anticipating the inevitable. The great wolf who had been stalking me for the whole year finally lunged and snapped me up. I could feel my bones lance sharp and hot out of me with each bite, before I plummeted down its throat. We opened the eyes of my body and looked frantically around my bedroom, and I felt the truth as the Hunger raced through my bones — my nightmare was always who I was. It was my soul. I was its body. We were one.

So Robin is now a beast, and surprising no one so is Wendy.

Nine years ago.

Robin and Wendy are performing a sting operation on a Professor who's forcing female students to sleep with him to fix their grades, with Wendy serving as the bait.


“So, what exactly did you have in mind for letting me make up my test grades, professor?” Wendy said with a perfect tremble. A little nervous, a little depressed, flat enough for resignation, but strong enough for false hope. What I’d do to convince her to take to the stage.

“Well, business is a serious major, Wendy,” Mr. Prescott said, his dark voice flowing with a layer of velvet I’d never heard before. “Quite frankly, to give you a chance to continue on at this point in the semester would involve me breaking some rules.” That was creepily effective on a lot of emotionally manipulative levels.

“So, I can’t just work hard over the weekend on re-taking the tests?” Wendy whined slightly, some lost fight with fake panic.

“Well, I know one way you can work hard to make up for this,” he nearly whispered. A second later, there was a bump and scrunch, and some uncomfortably silenced sounds. That was as much of a cue as I needed.

The wolf within reared back, and I broke through the door with my elbow. I spun in and took a shot before the teacher could even turn around. The Polaroid slid out neat and easy, and I shook it as I bounced around the edge of the office to the stammers of Mr. Prescott. Yep, that was his red-sleeved hand at Wendy’s crotch, and his chiseled face smashed against hers all right. A wave of nausea rolled through me, making my muscles itch all over and the ache in my bones pulse.

“So, not only hacking, cyber-stalking, and academic discrimination against female students, but sexual assault too,” I growled, waving the picture up in the air as he stammered and shambled away from Wendy. “I think such atrocities should be shown to the world, don’t you?”

“Absolutely,” Wendy said with devastating sensuality as she rolled of the desk and strutted over to the front door. “Let’s start an exhibition here. Pin that one up on the shelves, I think that’ll look nice.” She smiled brightly at Prescott, and I swore he was staring into Heaven’s judgmental light as he fixed his eyes on her.

I stole his attention back by sweeping my arm across a bookshelf with such force that the pages flew apart from their covers. He jumped and yelled, like that would make a difference this late at night I placed one Polaroid there, and then reached into my bag and started sticking up the photos we stole from him of each lesbian he had raped.
Oh and he rapes lesbians... Prescott charges Robin, who kicks him across the room into his desk, or at least what would have been his desk if Wendy hadn't brought their lair in causing him to smash through one of the weaker walls in her tower. Wendy gives him an ultimatum to "make up for this" or she'll let Robin break his back. He tries to attack Wendy, wolf-robin hurls him back into the real world, and they leave into the primordial dream. Wendy chews out Robin for breaking parts of her lair since "that hurts, you know." and then Wendy kisses her, because they're also lesbians.

You know I really do like the way this story ends but it really hits some tired notes on the way there.

Five years ago.

Wendy and Robin are at a hotel where they were going to have some kind of Women's Awareness conference, but Robin obliterated half the parking lot earlier that night in a pique of hunger. She sits around and watches as the owner of the hotel talks about the damage and how there's no evidence of who did it while Robin feeds until her Horror falls into slumber, and then she starts sobbing.


Half an hour later, Wendy started rubbing my back stiffly. She hadn’t forgiven me yet, and she wasn’t quite sure why I was so shaken. She wanted answers for why I did it, why it hurt me now, and why I didn’t think about how she would feel. She wanted to know why I was selfish.

But her hands still went up and down my back, and she didn’t say anything. That was her punishment-to let me choke on self-loathing as she saw to our relationship first where I had not, and to burn as she showed me the flaw behind that feeling still playing second to the despair binding me.

“My bones still ache,” I said, sniffling. “No matter what I do, no matter how I fill myself, I still can’t stop it. I just hurt all the time, down to the soul, and even when it falls asleep, I still hurt. I’m broken, and I don’t even know why or how.”

Her hands stopped, for a second. Then she pulled me onto her lap and held me, resting her cheek on my head, stroking my hair with her fingers. I felt her bitterness at that answer. I felt her hatred for how I hadn’t trusted her when she told me that we would find out how to fix that together. I felt her disappointment that I placed my problem over her plans for our larger work tonight. I could feel her every dark emotion about this.

But I tasted her sympathy for my confusion. I smelled her compassion for my pain. I could hear her acceptance of my self-loathing. I knew her caring for every loss I had coursing in my veins. Wendy had hope for my growth the way prophets had hope in their gods, and she was dedicated to making us work.

“We’ll find a way,” she said simply, saving everything else for when I was more composed. “If it takes another decade or ten, we’ll make you whole.”

In that moment, I believed in her love more than anything, and I hated that my bones ached with emptiness.

Two Years Ago.

Robin is being taunted by a Vampire who's invaded her dreams. He tells her that she's a 'higher form of life' and needs to feed off of lesser things. And that the last time she's felt whole was when she accidentally destroyed Wendy's tower. Which... is hilariously convenient and weird. How does he know all this and how is he telling her this. He then states that he's been stalking her for 13 years and in love with her for 7 and is telling her this as a goodbye gift and that he's done with her now but that she was loved and... I do not understand why this section exists other than to shove the plot along in a very janky way.

One Year Ago.

Robin is sitting on the bench near her old middle school while her Horror gnaws on the chambers of one of her Broodmates. Wendy shows up and confronts her, asking her what the hell she's doing.


She knelt down and dug her talons into my wrists. “How could you beat the crap out of Mike and wreck his chambers? I thought you gave up on that vampire’s bullshit, that we were going to find an actual answer, that—”

“I found an Incarnation,” I said quietly.

She stopped, blood draining from her face.

“During the show in Vegas, I met a dragon named Shen-Lung. Not like us, not a nightmare in flesh. He was a nightmare made flesh. Incarnate. I heard he was there from some travelers a few months ago; the show was to check it out. He hunted me down, and I could just feel it. Even as I ran, he was...whole. Complete. When I escaped him, he caught up and I asked him about it. He told me it felt like an aching emptiness, bone deep, before he achieved it, how he finally felt when he Incarnated, and I knew — I knew — I had to try it. And Wendy, it’s true. The myths of Incarnation are true, and they’re what I’ve been missing. I feel it, I know it.”

Wendy asks for the key to their apartment back, unless she wants to come back, to make it up to Mike and the brood.


I really wanted to. My bones didn’t hurt, but looking at her face, contorted and lost, it didn’t matter. She was right, Mike would forgive me, and from there so would everyone he knew. It would take Wendy time, but I could go with her and continue acting for her events, fighting bigotry and having fun, and slowly make up for everything.

I almost could have swallowed that.

I handed her the key. I had tasted a larger world, and I couldn’t go back.

There weren’t any other words between us. I’m not clear when she left. One second she was there, and then only the aching emptiness. I got up, trying to think of who wouldn’t have heard the news, who I could devour before the walls started coming up.

Titus had lied to me. When you didn’t have any tears left to shed, there was no laughter. Only the Hunger remained.
And now we leave behind all the dumb heady lgbt stuff that Beast says it is, and we delve into what Beast actually is.


Robin has been invited to Wendy's heart, though she doesn't know why, and has taken her up on the offer. She finds Wendy in her heart, and offers Robin an ultimatum. Wendy is offering herself up as one final sacrifice for Robin's incarnation if she'll leave everyone else alone. The rest of the Beasts in the Hive are worried, apparently everyone cares about Wendy and Robin's relationship and wants them to get back together, but Robin isn't buying it.


I glared at her. “No.”

“This isn’t a discussion, Robin. It’s a jury council.”

She put a gun in my other hand. I was stunned, and she guided the barrel to her forehead in that moment.

“What are you doing?”

She was maddeningly calm. “It’s judgment day. I can’t abide you hurting family for your pain, and this is my punishment for you. You can stop everything you’re doing, or you can get everything you want. But you’re going to stop hurting family like you did Mike and the others.”

I couldn’t stop shaking. I was frozen to the spot. If I overpowered her and ran, she would punish me the only way she thought would work. I saw that in her eyes. But I didn’t want to choose between the two.

My bones ripped at me, splinters of pain and confusion racing through my thoughts, my blood, my being. I felt like ribbons were binding my heart, my throat, my hands, my feet so tightly I would be crushed by them if I didn’t get out. I couldn’t choose. It wasn’t right, I should just be able to take and win and be, I shouldn’t have to be bound to this!

My stomach roared, and my bones joined in a chorus. Their song pierced me, hot and angry, want so intense it threatened to devour itself and I could only scream in fury, only hide in myself by curling up and closing anything that might get in.

The gun went off.

I watched as she fell, her head splitting like lightning, and I fell to the floor as my world broke apart. I fell and I drowned and I died. I screamed, and cried, and rolled through oblivion, trying to kill this moment, trying to wake up, trying to find comfort, trying to escape these endless tunnels. I only found darker ones.

“I think she got the idea,” said a young boy with a nasal voice. “Can I go now?”

I rolled over and blinked my eyes clear.

There was a scrawny, awkward kid sitting where Wendy had lain dead, sticking bits of skull back over his brain as blood raced back inside. And near the stairs, there was Wendy, tired as hell, but alive.

Wendy glared at the boy. “Yes, vampire, now get out of my city. If I see you again, there won’t be a scrap of you left to find, understand me?”

Yeah... turns out this was all a ruse to make Robin see the error of her ways and come back to the family! Cause obviously she feels terrible after all that happened!


Her words clicked in my head, and I felt frail. I hurt all over. I curled up on the altar, and I rutted through how helpless I felt.

You are not enough.

I was so close. The chase for Incarnation had been hard, but each soul I wrecked made the world that much vaster, and at the same time brought me closer to satisfaction.

What hope can your failing form offer? Your promise is already failing.

I was so close. I could almost reach out and grab it if I wanted to. However, I couldn’t reach past her. She was too wide a chasm for that.

Your flesh binds you to the world that bars your dream.

I didn’t want to give up. I was so close. I felt like I could stop hurting. I felt like I could be something in this world, if I could just overcome this one obstacle. If I just wasn’t bound up like this.

“Hey, Wendy?”

She stopped near the stairs. “Yeah?”

Fulfill your oaths. Become all that you are and free yourself from this cycle.

I hesitated, gripping the gun.

“Thanks for feeding me.”
I already told you this wasn't that kind of Beast story.

Next time: The last three stories

The Primordial Feast: Part 3

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

The Primordial Feast: Part 3

Family Reunion
Stephanie is at her local coffee shop, getting a venti iced coffee with an extra shot of espresso. She didn't sleep well last night. And as she sits in her corner, drinking, she notices a woman. Specifically she notices her again, the same woman who's been there every day for a while. She doesn't order anything, just sits there and reads "The new you", to the point that she could have finished reading it three times over by now. When Stephanie looks at her watch the ticking of the second hand makes her sick to her stomach, so she stuffs her watch in her bag, and leaves as fast as she can.


“I think Sparks — I mean, Stephanie — is starting to notice me,” said Nadia, straddling a chair backwards in the dining nook. The glass of the closed window muffled the cacophony from the garage below the apartment, and it faded to white noise from long familiarity for the three throngmates.

Corazón shoveled a huge mouthful of canned beef stew into her mouth and then talked around it. “It's okay, you can call her whatever you want. Not like she's here to argue.”

“No, the point is to call her whatever she wants.” Nadia looked down at the table, hunched over the chair's back. “She gets to choose her own name now.”


“Anyway,” Nadia continued, “she ordered a really big coffee with extra espresso.”

“Mm-hmm.” Cora gestured at the two Prometheans with her spoon. “That means—”

“No, don't tell me,” Prin interrupted, adopting a thinking pose with one hand on hir chin. “I know what it means. It means…” They waited. She's in a bad mood. She didn't sleep well.” Hir raised eyebrows turned it into a question.
Apparently Stephanie is, or was, a Promethan who completed her journey and became human. Prin is treating the whole affair like an experiment, studying Stephanie to see how Nadia and hir can also complete their journies. Corazon, on the other hand, is a beast. Nadia and Corazon want to be a part of Stephanie's life "Humans need friends too" but Prin doesn't want her to be caught up in their disquiet and show up at their door with a Molotov.


“Thank you all for being here tonight,” said the woman at the microphone. “As you know, we've gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of one of our finest officers, Detective Kelly Anderson. Let's give her a round of applause!”

Kelly stood in front of the room, smiling, as they all clapped.

“We've put together a slide show to showcase all of Detective Anderson's wonderful achievements,” said the emcee, gesturing to a projector screen. A flickering picture appeared there, like a still photo from an old home movie, of a bruised and beaten college student's corpse. “Take this aggravated assault and murder case, for example, which she never solved!”

Another round of applause. Kelly wasn't smiling anymore.

The picture changed. Now, a woman and her son lay side by side in matching coffins. “And this double homicide, the perpetrator of which was never caught despite the hate group that claimed credit!”

Everyone cheered. Kelly opened her mouth to protest, but the sudden glint from the emcee's badge seemed to warn her off, saying you have no voice here. You don't matter.

“And this next one — oh, who am I kidding,” said the woman, grinning now in the fitful light of the projector. “Why don't we be honest with ourselves? Detective Anderson isn't worth the paper her resignation will be printed on!”

The applause became laughter, filling the room. The glint wasn't coming from the emcee's badge anymore, but from her teeth, which seemed to elongate more and more the longer Kelly looked. “Why don't you just die?” the emcee roared, taking a step forward as a huge, hairy brute burst from beneath her skin, foaming at the mouth. “Then your murder can go unsolved, you pathetic has-been!”

Kelly screamed.
Detective Anderson is a Hero, in case it wasn't obvious.

The next morning, Nadia's at the coffee shop watching Stephanie again. Stephanie looks worse than ever, dark circles under her eyes and that vacant stare of an extremely tired person. Eventually Nadia's concern for her friend overcomes her desire for anonymity so she approaches her.


Nadia hovered, hoping to be noticed without speaking, but no such luck. “Hi,” she said eventually.

Stephanie looked up, pushing her bangs away from her face. “Um. Hi.” She smiled belatedly. “Can I help you with something?”

“No, not at all,” said Nadia, and then paused. “I mean, yes.”

“Oh,” Stephanie said, her smile bemused now. “Well, what is it?”

“It's…” Nadia cast around desperately. Her hand came up, still holding the book. “It's this book,” she said hastily. “I don't understand it. I thought you might.”

Stephanie's expression changed several times, but Nadia couldn't identify anything in it. Then Stephanie said, “Sorry, I'm pretty out of it, I haven't been sleeping much. I don't think I can help you.”

“Is something wrong?” said Nadia.

“Nah, not really.” Stephanie shrugged, then chuckled. “Just some bad dreams, that's all.”

Nadia didn't see what was so funny about that. “Bad dreams? Like what?”

“Like, bad dreams, I dunno. Something about a clock? Or was it…” Stephanie looked down at herself, her chest, her arms, turning her hands over as though they were unfamiliar. She took a long sip of coffee, rested her forehead in her hand for a moment, and then glanced sidelong at the Promethean. “Look, I have to go.”

“Oh. You do?”

Stephanie stood up and clutched the cup to herself like a security blanket, or a weapon. “Yeah, I do,” she snapped. She brushed past Nadia and went out the door.

Nadia rushes home and confronts Corazon. It turns out Cora has been intentionally starving her horror so that it will visit Stephanie in her dreams and try to make her remember her old life.


Cora sprawled on her back across the hood, her long hair splayed out over the shiny painted surface like corkscrew graffiti, and dropped the wrench with a clunk. “Maybe she's just remembering stuff.”

“No! She can't!” Prin glanced between them in alarm. “It'll ruin everything!”

“Who says?” Cora challenged hir. “Who says she shouldn't remember?”

“I say,” Prin's jaw clenched. “If it is you, you'd better stop.”

“Oh, you say. What the hell do you know? When was the last time you were human?” She cupped a hand next to her ear. “What's that I hear? Never?”

The Promethean stepped close to tower over her. “I may not be human,” sie hissed, “but I know more about you than you think. I know that thing that lives inside you won't rest until you've ripped the wool from her eyes and destroyed her life. I'm not going to let that happen. Do you hear me?”

“What life?” Cora bared her teeth in a sneer. “Bills by day, Netflix by night, no family, no friends — if you ask me, it's worth destroying.”

“Good thing I never asked you.”

Cora's hand shot up to grab Prin by the collar and pull hir down until she could smell hir breath, like tea and ashes. “She'd be better off here where she belongs and you know it,” she growled. “People are weak and miserable. She's not. She's one of us.”

“No,” said Nadia, stalking over to wrestle the two of them apart. “She's not like us anymore, Cora. I tried to talk to her, she practically ran away from me.”

“You talked to her?” Prin turned on her, aghast.

“Yes, and it was a mistake. Are you happy?” Nadia shoved hir back, sending hir stumbling. “You were right, we were wrong. Just the way you like it.”

“I don't —”

“We should leave.”

“What do you mean, leave?” said Cora.

Nadia gazed out at the setting sun. “Leave New York. Go far away. I think we need to…I think I need to let her go.”

“Like hell.” Cora slid off the hood and snatched up her wrench. “None of us is going anywhere.”

The Prometheans watched her storm out of the garage. They watched the sun go down. They wondered whether she was right, and whether they could afford her being wrong.
It turns out that putting the cheerleaders of inhumanity together with people who aspire to be everything that humanity represents is an incredibly bad idea. Particularly when said Beast has a hunger for destruction and wants to destroy her happy life simply because she has a happy life.

In the meantime, Kelly Anderson's heroic tracking has led her to Stephanie, she makes it sound like there's a murder investigation going on, but subtly lets drop a question on if Stephanie's been having nightmares before moving on to a more legitimate sounding line of inquiry. The hero has the Beast's target, and she knows the Beast will be there again. She circles the block a few time to make sure that she isn't being followed and pulls into a spot just down from Kelly's building to wait.

In Cora's apartment, she's struggling to sleep. As she drifts off she becomes aware of her horror trying to wrench control of Stephanie's dreams.


Through the eyes of her Horror, things were not as they should have been. She wasn't in her Lair, but instead stalking a grand concert hall with high vaulted ceilings that vanished into darkness above. Up on stage, a frail little shape sat at the piano, playing to a metronome's beat. The music sounded feeble and tinny by comparison to the monstrous ticking of the metronome, pounding like the rhythmic fall of a judge's gavel. She passed empty row after empty row. She silently climbed the stairs to mount the stage. She raised one razor-sharp claw, ready to tear the false flesh from the pianist's bones to reveal what was really underneath.
Cora thinks back, she hasn't fed since Sparks left them, it just wasn't the same without her there. The way she delighted at the expanded understanding of human terror. She was theirs and they shouldn't have to give her up. Cora doesn't want to forget, and she's going to go see if Sparks doesn't have to forget. Though she's going to at least try to do it without her horror getting in the way.

I'm just going to quote this whole section.


Something alive prowled the shadow of a spindly city tree, but only for a moment. That shadow was the door that led Cora into the pitch black of a bedroom, two stories above the street where the tree's sad dead leaves scraped the pavement in their windborne quests. She was the presence of the darkness. She was everywhere, she filled the room. The darkness said, "Sparks! Sparks, wake up."

The woman in the bed stirred and opened her eyes, then clutched her blanket close to her chest. "Who's there?"

"It's me, Cora." The voice sounded affable, but the darkness was total. "We were friends, once. We can be friends again."

Stephanie's eyes darted back and forth across the room, seeking a figure, a target, something to run from. Nothing. "W-where are you?"

"Just calm down and think back. You remember last year, don't you? When we went to Coney Island, and you made me take you on the Ferris wheel, and we got stuck at the top and Nadia tried to climb it? And we got thrown out?" The voice laughed. "You remember, right?"

"What?" Stephanie didn't dare get out of bed, but she reached toward the bedside table with one hand, fumbling around. "I dunno what you're talking about, leave me alone!"

"We never should've left you alone in the first place," said the darkness. "Your name's not Stephanie, it's Sparks. You're not even human! You're a machine, a living machine who can think and feel and loves pancakes, don't you remember me?"

"No! Get outta here before I call the cops!" Stephanie's hand found the lamp. She groped for the switch.

"Don't do that," the voice warned. "Please, Sparks, listen! We used to stay up all night together watching old horror movies! You'd ask me what was supposed to be so scary and we'd eat hot dogs right out of the fridge and —"

Light flooded the room and chased the shadows out. The darkness vomited up a woman who stumbled back, squinting. Stephanie stared at her. “I don't know you,” she whispered.

“Yes, you do!”

Stephanie threw herself off the bed and bolted for the door. Cora's hand lashed out like a whip and seized her by the hair, yanking her back and dragging her toward the full-length mirror. “You don't believe me?” Cora sneered. “I'll show you what you really are! Look!”

In the mirror, Stephanie saw her reflection flicker and change. The lamplight shone dully on the gears and bolts that made up her body. The metallic casing of her skull, frozen in a vacant grin, held two LEDs where her eyes should have been. In the center of her chest, a chrome mechanism ticked out an artificial heartbeat, sickeningly regular. When she screamed, it sounded like an electronic squeal, like radio feedback. “Now do you remember?”

“No!” Stephanie struggled and kicked, but Cora's grip on her hair held fast. “No! Let go of me! Please, please…please stop…it's not me, it's not!”

“Fine.” Cora's face contorted in a scowl. “If that's the way it has to be.” She slammed Stephanie's head into the closet door. The woman collapsed in a heap, a trickle of blood smeared on the wood. Cora ran a finger through it. It was blood, not oil. Cora turned and flicked off the lamp, plunging the room into darkness once again. She crouched beside her erstwhile broodmate, and the room swam.

Prin and Nadia are running to Stephanie's apartment, since Nadia suspects some of what is going on. Once Prin realizes the severity of what's going on, she picks up Nadia, uses Pyros to elongate her legs, and takes off down the street, ignoring the horrified onlookers. At Steph's apartment, Nadia rips the door off it's hinges and rushes inside to find Stephanie unconscious and bleeding on the floor. They also realize that Cora has turned Steph's bedroom into a part of her lair, and force their way into the dream.

Elsewhere, Kelly wakes up, having dreamt of the hunt to come.


The tingling in her limbs meant that something was wreaking its havoc, and she knew she wouldn't be alone by the time she walked into that apartment. She'd heard the rumors about this neighborhood, seen the reports: weird incidents, nonsense complaints that couldn't be corroborated, one teenaged girl begging to be admitted to the hospital's psychiatric ward. The monster and its cohorts had shown their true colors one too many times around here, and now these people would get the chance to retaliate, thanks to their protector. The call to arms was her birthright, too. Just like her duty.
She notices Prin and Nadia breaking their way into Steph's apartment building, and the ruckus draws the attention of the members of the neighborhood, all woken from their sleep by Kelly's call to arms, and she rallies her miniature army to glorious combat against the monsters. And she leads them into Cora's lair through Steph's bedroom.

In Cora's lair, she's chasing Steph through a factory making hundreds of copies of faceless robot manikins. The monster is rending her flesh revealing the gears and circuitry underneath. "Cora watched her prey's flight, watched as the full horror dawned, threw her head back and howled at the sheer pleasure it brought her. But it wasn't enough. Sparks still didn't remember. The hunt was on." Meanwhile Nadia and Prin are in a dark subway station, every so often the N train rushes by but never stops. From the darkness ahead a mass of people and a uniformed police officer with a flashlight emerge.


“Oh, hell,” said Nadia.

“Maybe we can reason with them,” said Prin. “But given our track record with Cora's enemies, I doubt it.”

“Hold it right there!” the officer called out. “I know you're working for the monster. Surrender now or we will open fire.”

“Working for her?” Nadia called back. “Where you do people come up with this stuff?”

“This is your last warning,” said the officer.

“Prin,” Nadia murmured quietly, “get out of here. Go find Stephanie and Cora. I'll handle them.”

“Are you sure?” Prin glanced at her.

“Don't worry. I have a plan. I think.”

Prin's face was a mask of clear skepticism, but sie nodded and vanished as soon as sie reached the limits of Nadia's light. Nadia turned to give the crowd a smile. “Well, you came all this way, I wouldn't want to disappoint you.”

The officer — Anderson, Nadia saw now on her nametag as she came closer — smirked, hooking a finger around the trigger of her pistol. “You have no idea what your boss is in for,” she said. “You think I would come here with just any weapon? This Beast-killer has been in my family for generations. Every bullet in it has your master's name on it. Move aside and she'll be the only one.”

“Sure. I'll move aside.” Nadia stepped to the edge of the platform and dropped down. The third rail hummed. She didn't know whether electricity in the Lair would act like normal electricity, but she had no time for experimentation. Anderson and her posse cautiously peered over the edge to see what she was up to. She grinned up at them and stepped onto the third rail. The power of Pyros coursed through her, filling her nigh to bursting. “Come and get me,” she said through gritted teeth, her voice raw with fire, the industrial staples holding her mismatched parts together revealed as her light burned with blinding intensity and the tunnel filled with sparking current.

Anderson fired and hit the Promethean square in the chest. Seconds later, the bullet pushed itself out of her skin and clattered on the track. The policewoman gestured for her people to back off, and followed her own advice. “Find the monster!” she yelled.

Nadia yelled back without words, leaping up onto the platform. She landed swinging.
I really want to play Promethean now.

Prin reaches Cora's heart, a vast barren plain studded with rocky formations beneath a stormy black sky. Flashes of lightning provide the only illumination. Prin reaches Steph around the same time Cora does.


Stephanie flinched back, but Prin held on tight so sie could speak close to her ear. “It's all right! I'm here to help you!”

“What a hero,” said Cora.

Prin looked up to see the ghastly creature looming on top of the outcrop, silhouetted in a lightning strike. “Corazón!” sie shouted. “Stop this!”

“That's la Corazón to you.” The monster bared her teeth. “Destroyer of lies.”

“You want to talk about heroes?” Prin pointed back the way sie'd come. “There's one out there with a small army looking for you. You're lucky Nadia decided to keep them busy.” Sie reached up with a hand, as though sie could grasp Cora's from here. “You do still care about Nadia, don't you? I know you're in there somewhere.”

“This is what you never understood about me, Prin, even with all your poking and prodding.” She spread her arms. “What stands before you isn't 'the thing that lives inside Cora’. This is me. It's always me, it's always been me.”

“Fine,” Prin barked, dropping hir hand, “but leave Stephanie out of it! She fought hard for the life she has, don't take it away from her!”

“I just want her to remember!” The last word came out as a furious roar, exploding with a gale force that threatened to tear Stephanie out of Prin's grasp and send her flying. Prin flung hir arms around the human and rearranged hir Azothic radiance into a shield to shelter them both, glad it was too dark for her to see hir withered face.

“But she refuses,” Cora shouted down, as the storm smothered the echoes of her roar. “So I'm going to take her apart, clockwork piece by clockwork piece. And when I crush that chrome ticker of hers, she'll wake up and she'll know. She'll come home to us.”

“This isn't right!”

“Ask Nadia if she cares about what's right!” Cora's hideous features contorted with malice. “Look at you. You'll never be human. The way people feel isn't about right and wrong, Prin! It's about what's in your heart.”

“It's not your heart that concerns me,” said Prin, putting hirself firmly between Stephanie and the Beast. “It's your stomach. So if you're determined to do this, you'll have to get through me.”

The fight goes poorly for Prin, needless to say, the only reason she survives at all is because she's a Promethean, but her leg at least is broken.


“Stop!” called a voice over the rain.

Cora looked up. Detective Anderson stood not thirty feet away, leveling a heavy pistol and a flashlight at her. “You're not welcome here,” she snarled.

The officer didn't bother with banter or taunts. She pulled the trigger. Cora expected to laugh it off, but the bullet pierced her like an icy dart. Her muscles spasmed painfully. “What did you do?” she gasped.

“Nothing but my job,” said Kelly. She tensed to fire again, but something slammed into the back of her head and she collapsed, Probable Cause slipping from her grasp. Nadia appeared out of the gloom.

“Thanks,” said Cora, grinning.

“Don't thank me,” Nadia snapped. Her eyes fell on the pistol. She stepped over Kelly's inert body and picked it up.

“What are you doing?” Cora protested. “I thought you'd understand, of all people!”

“I understand just one thing.” Nadia slowly advanced, keeping the gun steady even while her voice shook with rage. “That cop said this weapon is a Beast-killer. That's all I need to know.”

“Nadia…” Prin smelled the rising bile of hir throngmate's Torment, drowned in her breathtaking passion, and fell silent. Sie was in no shape to pull Nadia out of this now. It was too late for Cora. Too late for the throng.

“You're going to kill me?” Cora's voice rose to a hysterical pitch. “Nadia, we're family! I just want us all together again!”

“I don't care what you want!” Nadia's eyes were wild in the lightning's white-hot light. “You think I don't miss her? You think I wouldn't give anything to have her back? You selfish bitch, you have no idea what she went through to get here, and I am sick and tired of your entitled, hypocritical bullshit! You are not one of us! You never were!”

“Nadia, wait —”

The gunshot was louder than the thunder, as was the one that followed, and the one after that. The Horror toppled in dreamlike slow motion. Nadia had nothing else to say. She stomped over to Stephanie and grabbed her wrist, pulling her roughly to her feet. The woman had no argument and offered no resistance, letting the Promethean yank her away into the darkness.

Prin and Cora are left alone in Cora's heart as it falls apart. "I didn't want to die like this, not looking like this, not with you here. You thought of me as human, just with a monster in side of me somewhere. It was the one illusion I kind of liked."

Back in the real world, Steph wakes up with Nadia watching over her, after she makes it very clear that she has no idea who Nadia is and never wants to see her again, Nadia leaves. But she notices that she's still bleeding, that there's a dent in her closet door, that the nightmare happened, at least in part.


The woman in the shadows wasn't a nightmare. She was real. She was real, and every time I turn off the light now I think I see her. I threw out my watch. I bought a nightlight. None of that got rid of the dreams, though. They're just different now. Not nightmares so much as distant pictures behind glass, and if I lie still for a while right when I wake up, I feel sad. Sometimes I wake up crying already.

I miss her. Somebody. I don't know who, but I wish she were here.

I really really like this story. I don't think I can state that enough, this is easily my favorite story in the book since it portrays the Beast as it actually is, a horrifying self centered monster.

Which is why I hate that it's immediately followed up by this.


“This place is a shithole.”

“A townie shithole.”

Dav and Galen aren’t wrong. The place in question is a townie bar, run by three generations of Stowes, frequented by three generations of Colebridge residents. Usually, we’d drink over at Jana’s place, or bring our booze to the park, but she’d wanted to come out tonight and this is where the cheap drinks are. That, and Jana’s hungry. She’s kicked back in her chair, eyeing the regulars at the bar the way some people eye a dessert tray. When she shifts, I feel her shoulder brush mine, even though we’re a foot apart.

Jason sits hunched over his beer, trying to make himself small as possible next to Jana’s bulk. He didn’t want to come out tonight, though I know he has to be hungry. Every time Jana’s laughter booms out across the bar, he flinches. Her laugh draws attention, and even though Jason and I are technically townies, too, he doesn’t want to be spotted. His family and mine have lived here a good three-quarters of a century, but small town bullshit means some last names are more important than others.

It's a basic beast story told all over again. Long and short of it is that Miranda loves Jason, they've been friends since high school, surprisingly they're both beasts. Miranda does something dumb, raises the ire of a Hero, the Hero targets Jason, the entire brood bands together and kills the Hero, also Dav and Galen are basically one character since they don't do anything separate from each other, except they're also gay.

Let's move on.

The Primordial Feast: Finale

posted by Kurieg Original SA post

The Primordial Feast: Finale


Three years ago, Sandhya wakes up with a start as she was roused from a dreamtime feeding session, her attempts to move as her horror would just end with her falling out of bed with a start. Is that what it's like? Is this what I do to them? The lights flick on, revealing her Mage friend Hal looking groggy as she is, but staring daggers at her.


“That was you.” He spat.

“…Wait…” She croaked, and coughed, trying to clear her throat.

He reached across the wall to the mantelpiece, still keeping his eyes on her. Like I could turn on him at any moment, she realized. His fingers found his wand among the mantle’s clutter.

She’d laughed when she’d first seen his wand. Made the obvious jokes. Double-entendres. She’d played with it yesterday, until he’d irritatedly snatched it back and put it up there. An instant of hurt pride, soon forgotten.

It was a lot less funny when he pointed it at her like a weapon.

“If I ever see you again. If you ever try anything like that again on me or mine—” His rage was cold, controlled.

“Hal… Wait… I don’t… I didn’t…”

“—I will end you.”

With that he teleports her out of his apartment and into the forest along with her things, and Sandhya Tembhekar resolves never to get involved with mages as long as she lives.

In the present day, Sandhya is working the aid station at a marathon, handing out water cups to the front runners. Ten minutes later an ambulance drives by as her Horror rumbles within her "Another leader humbled, another meal in her Horror's belly. It wasn't exactly lying in wait within a river to bite passing princes, but even nagas had to move with the times."

Two months later Sandhya stands outside the residence hall where Charles Foster's family retrieves his belongings. Charles was working with her at the Aid station, but he went missing the next day. He's the fourth student dead this year, the cops say that they're all ODs, but they keep showing up at the old Library. Sandhya has had her suspicions for a while, but by the time Charles' family came around she'd confirmed them. "She sat out there, long after the Fosters drove away, after the sun went down, thinking through her options, not liking any of them. I have to give him a chance, she decided."

That night she goes to the library herself, heading to an upper floor where she' knows she'll find her target. To her eyes he's just a short middle aged white man huddled in a heavy overcoat. To her horror he's a bent backed creature with round eyes, pallid skin, needles for fingers and wreathed in IV Lines.


“You’re back” He croaked.

“You’re getting careless, Vance. Someone’s going to notice you.”

The other Beast let out a single harsh laugh.

“They came in here. Looked right past me. The only one who knows is you, and it’s because we’re the same.”

Sandhya grimaced.

“We’re nothing alike. I feed in this world, and I leave them alive—”

“You’re in denial.” He snorted. “Still swallowing what your Devourer told you about lessons.” The last word was a mocking sing-song.

“She also said that if our Horrors fed in the Dream, the prey only suffered a nightmare. You’re killing them. Needlessly.”

“Safer this way. No one left alive to be a Hero and come after me like they came after her. You learned every lesson except the one that killed her.”

She took a deep breath, felt her Horror’s restlessness, irritated by the arrogance.

“Vance, please. You don’t have to kill them. A few roofies in a bar and you’ll be just as fed.”

“And open myself up to getting caught.”

One more try.


“It bothers you because you want to join me. Because you know that I’m right. We’re not teachers, Dr. Tembhekar, we’re not human. We’re monsters. And we’re alike more than that — your fangs are just like my fingers. We both exist to be the fire in their blood.”

She shook her head. He gestured out at the night skyline, streetlights glinting below them, lonely figures of those still up walking past.

“Stay tonight. Maybe we’ll catch a meal together. If we both feed, we can link our Lairs, become a brood. You wouldn’t have to be alone, clinging to the nonsense Erica taught you.”

She backed away a step, and shook her head again.

“I can’t do it, Vance. I still believe in our purpose.”

As she reached the stairwell she paused, shaking. Vance called back to her.

“When you accept what you are, I’ll be here.”

She descended, and felt a mixture of fear and resolve growing with every step.

Not one more.
As she plots out her next move she just hopes "he'd calmed down by now."

This story has a mixture of old and new beast in it, in that she was devoured but he kills to stop from "Making Heroes", I'm going to allow it because "Making Heroes" is probably one of the better points of real personal horror that Beast has.

That and Dave Brookshaw is an insane maniac.
Yes, this story was written by Dave Brookshaw.

Sandhya waits at the tube station in London, waiting for Hal. She took the train here then switched to the tube in an effort to hide her real origin in case the Mage was still angry at her. Fighting the urge at every stop to just go home and keep her head down, to hope that the problem solved itself. But after the final train pulls away with no Hal in sight she sighs and goes to leave out to the street. When she does she feels someone grab her arm firmly. Of course it's Hal, being secretive and unexpected as mages are wont to do. She asks to talk to him in private though he wants to stay in a public space. When he asks what she wanted to talk about she says that when he teleported her away he hurt her. And threatened to kill her, and she wants to know if he can actually do it.

Later they're at a diner with Halcyon(yes) masking their conversation to be something dull about work. He mentions that she looks "fed" and wonders how things are going for her. Since he hasn't heard anything 'big' through the grapevine but she's obviously doing well.


“I have to feed, Hal. My kind, we don’t have a choice about it. I’m a naga. I humble those who stand above the crowd. Now, I’ve arranged my life so I can eat a little, often. Athletes. Top-flight students. Bright young PhDs. Make them stumble a bit, prick their pride, and I can go another week or two.”

“You went back to university.”

“Finished my doctorate. I’m a postdoc now. Students everywhere, and reversals of success are not unusual. No one gets hurt. What happened to you is what happens if I don’t feed; the naga hunts for herself, but even then, it’s not fatal. Dangerous for me, but — and no offense — they get over it.”
I could mention high tension people who kill themselves after such a 'stumble' and that even her measured feeding method can still be dangerous, but the story makes it pretty obvious that she's justifying it to herself. Particularly since she also goes over the "other" option, where she can kill someone and go for months without feeding, but she doesn't. The problem is that someone does and she needs to stop him. Halcyon says he'll help and he'll meet her at her home. "What makes you think I'm ready to tell you where that is?" "What makes you think I don't already know?".

At her Flat, Sandhya tells him more about Vance. Mainly that he's the Apex of her area and he's got deals in place with all the local Vampires and Werewolves that means she can't attack him in the physical world. And since he's the Apex he'd kill her in a Horror to Horror fight. The way he feeds is by imposing his lair on an abandoned building and chasing his prey until they're exhausted, then injecting them with toxins that are a part of his lair which means they go away when the lair does. Leaving nothing but a dead body with injection marks. The way he feeds is costly but rewarding, making a vicious cycle. Sandhya wants his help to kill him since it's become obvious that Vance won't change his ways, preferably in a way that doesn't lead back to her since his allies might want to get revenge on his behalf. "Can you do it?" "Not alone. And not just with your help."

“Welcome to Marrakesh.” Teleportation is definitely a quick way to travel, if nothing else. "Vance's realm is urban and maze-like. We need someone who can navigate through that environment, who's immune to his tricks and traps. A contact of mine lives here, and she's uniquely qualified. Also, unlike many of the beings we might recruit, her kind can make the trip we're about to make." When Sandhya asks why she'll help them, Hal mentions that this woman has been hunting someone for the past twenty years and Hal knows where he is, He's known for five years, he's just been waiting for an appropriate time to use the leverage. "Keep your friends close, Sandhya, and always keep something to offer them if you need them in the future. We’re here." Their target is a woman in faded pants, a loose top and a headscarf, with large golden eyes. Najat.

And I'm just going to quote this next bit.


“I said I’d help. You don’t seem overjoyed.”

“No— It’s… Thank you, sincerely, but, I have to ask… What are you?”

Najat raised her eyebrows.

“Excuse me?”

Sandhya blushed, embarrassed, annoyed at Hal’s obviously enjoyment of catching her out.

“I can sense monsters, and people like Hal who are connected to the supernatural. Something about their souls, but you…”

“Oh! That must be because I don’t have one.” Najat said, matter-of-fact, and poured herself another cup.

“I don’t understand.”

Hal leaned back in his chair.

“Your kind are fueled by the basic fears of humanity.” He drawled. “What do you call it? ‘The Primordial Dream’? All the nightmares hidden beneath civilization, culture, and story. Najat here,” the mage nodded to their hostess, “doesn’t have a human soul. She’s got what some people call a Nahual instead.”

“I’m a cat,” Najat said.

Dave Brookshaw posted:

Yes, it was me who decided to raid the big backlog of obscure, unloved CofD creatures and settled on Changing Breeds. And I'd do it again, I tell you.
With this Dave Brookshaw resurrected a pain I put to rest a year ago and has become my sacred enemy (not really).


“You’ve got an animal’s soul? Like I have my Horror?”
“Deep in the human soul,” explained Hal “there’s a barrier, a boundary between humanity and the soul of the world, the animals, even the stars. Your Primordial Dream clusters around that boundary like… like rock pools after the tide’s gone out. The animal parts of the human race, where the monsters live. What you’re sensing is that Najat lacks that boundary. She’s a daughter of nature, in harmony with her animal nature. You’d find, if you tried, that your Nightmares slide right off her. And that’s how we’re going to bait him into our trap.”
And since Matt McFarland didn't say otherwise, Changing Breeds are completely immune to nightmares. I guess if Ferals have to exist in this world, them being the ultimate foils to the only thing worse than them is an acceptable niche.

The following day, Hal decides to give Sandhya the mage's perspective on things.


“Your motives. You said we’d address them later, and now’s later.”

She closed her eyes, thinking.

“He’s abusing his power. He kills the people he feeds from.”

“So we’re going to kill him in turn?” He did not sound satisfied.

“It’s not the way we behave. We have a responsibility, a purpose.”

“You’re doing this in service of some higher power?”

“The Mother put us here to teach people that — okay, what?”

He didn’t reply for a moment, choosing his words.

“Have you heard of Peter Childs?”

She frowned.

“He’s famous for something?”

“Reality TV star, went to prison recently for a massive drug binge. His behavior wasn’t just down to fortune; it was his fame that possessed him.”

“I’m not seeing the relevance.”

“His fame literally possessed him, Deeya. We don’t know how it got through into material reality, but the astral embodiment of his celebrity took him over. Drove him to greater and greater excesses, feeding off the notoriety. It’s gone now, exorcised, but his life is ruined.”

Her Horror shifted.

“I’m not possessed, Hal.”

“Technically, no.”

Technically?” Her voice rose, in warning. Hal shrugged.

“No, and neither is a Sin-Eater, but you are to Childs as they are to people ghosts take refuge in. ‘A higher purpose’? You, Vance, you’re both Goetia with delusions of grandeur. There’s no Primordial Mother, no higher purpose behind what you are. You’re the astral embodiment of a particular fear, no more, no less.”

He stopped, watching for her reaction. She tried to get hold of the rage steadily filling her, knuckles turning pale as she made fists. He spread his hands, conciliatory, but all she could think of was how fake the gesture looked.

“I am not saying this out of spite. I’m saying it out of concern. This man has breached your moral code, and for that you are going to punish him. That’s fine. That’s what all justice is, in the end. But when we do this tomorrow night, you owe it to yourself to be honest about it, and go in with a clear mind.”

“Get out.” She said, quietly.

“Take this advice, if you take nothing else. The best murders are premeditated.”
It's worth that Mage is the only game where premeditated murder is less of a sin than killing in the heat of the moment, because you get kind of fucked up in the head when you can change the laws of reality and losing control is a bad thing.

That night they meet up with Halcyon and his apprentices on the hill overlooking the town. They enter a prepared tent and all go to sleep after Hal links their minds. They wake up in the Temenos and begin walking through the memories of human history. They start off in a riot, continue through the French Revolution, the English Civil War, a realm made entirely of tall black gallows, all the while heading towards the Horror of the Proud Man Humbled, Sandhya's lair.

When they find it, Sandhya merges with it, and they wait for Halcyon's apprentices to finish their part of the spell.


Hal sat down. Najat paced back and forth behind him, keeping him between her and the water.

“You had to have an argument with her the day before we put ourselves at her mercy, didn’t you? It wasn’t tense enough for you.”

Hal gritted his teeth.

“I didn’t mean to.”

“No, you were just you. Look, you like her. It’s obvious you like her.”

“I like a lot of people.”

“Not that kind of like. Have you considered maybe she’d like you back if you didn’t score points off her all the time?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“You haven’t thought about it?” She repeated, disbelieving. “She’s perfect for you — nerdy, weird, can paralyze people by jabbing them, and best of all if you get too…” She paused, searching for the right word. “…Wizardly, her inner snake monster will murder you in your sleep.”

Halcyon didn’t respond. Najat turned to look at him.

“You already did, didn’t you?”

He glared down at her.

“I don’t want to talk about it”

The cat laughed.

“You did! You rode the snake!”
at least the Feral is clowning on the Beasts and Mages alike.

The apprentice lets Hal know that her spell is done and they're able to continue through the primordial dream. They leave Sandhya's lair through the last place that she fed, and in the split second that she's separated from her horror but not yet in control of it it tries to eat Hal ("We'll talk about it later.") But now that they're in a Chamber of the Hive, they'll be able to find the Apex's lair. As they get closer they can hear the whispering of the Omphalos, being brought closer to the Primordial dream by Hal and his assistants, meaning it's time to go to work.


Vance snarled, swiping the air with his claws. One passed uncomfortably close to where she actually stood, hidden by the illusion Hal had cast on their way in.

“Have you ever seen a cat catch a spider?” Hal asked, amused.

Najat, ignored while Vance focused on the humanoid prey, suddenly lunged, shifting into her hybrid form as she did so. Her claws stabbed into Vance’s back, and she opened a surprisingly wide mouth before biting, hard, down on his vulnerable neck.

Vance shrieked and jumped, trying to throw her off. Najat let go, black blood dripping from her claws and fangs, and grinned as he spun to face her. She jumped back as the Horror lunged, twisted to land on all fours with feline grace, and ran.

The Horror charged after her.

But Vance's Horror can't keep up, and Najat can see through all his tricks, eventually she actually manages to lead him (and all of them) Out of his lair and through the space between lairs, straight to where Hal wants him to be. They land in the midst of a great desert, winds and hot sands eroding away at their dream selves while Najat just kind of watches. Vance howls in pain while Sandhya is at least somewhat protected by Hal's spell.


“You said we aren’t human. That we’re monsters. Other people,” she looked at Hal, who seemed ashamed “have told me, at length, that we’re just dreams. The thing is, we’re both. We are the nightmares of the human soul; we exist to remind thinking beings that their Bright Dream is fragile. Everyone tells me that I’m an idiot to see a purpose in that…but they’re wrong.”

She crouched, feeling the pressure of Hal’s spell keeping her from going to him.

“This is what’s beyond the Dream. This is what denying your humanity looks like. Some beings belong here.” She looked at Najat, who had become fully human, smiling wearily at her. “But we don’t.”

“Let me go. Please let me go.” Vance begged.

“No. I won’t. You can’t open a Pathway from a desert; there’s nothing for you to use. This place will consume you. I’m told that normally, once it cuts you down to the bone and you can’t hold onto yourself any more, you wake up like our prey is meant to wake up. Scarred, maybe, but alive.”

“That’s not going to happen, though” Hal said, matter-of-fact.

“My friend here has bound you.” Sandhya could see the realization in Vance’s eyes. “And when it consumes you, you’ll die. But don’t worry, Aaron. It won’t get that far.”

She pitied him now, watching him writhe.

“Hal will stay here to make sure you don’t get free, but I’m going to wake up now. I’m going to come to your library, stand over your body… and I’m going to feed. You’re immune to poison, just like I am, but I don’t just bite people. I drown them.”

She stood up.

“Goodbye, Vance.”

The police find Vance's body and chalk it up to another overdose. Sandhya feeds by bringing the mighty low, and she just killed the former Apex. Her horror is happy, and for now isn't trying to bite Hal's head off. Things are mostly right with the world.

And that's it. And you can see after that last story why I was compelled to finish off this review with the fiction anthology.

If you haven't listened to it and you have the time you can listen to our Podcast Review of Beast now that it's technically not full of spoilers.
We also did a review of the Beast Kickstarter when that first came out (After we spend 2 hours talking about better games ).

I will probably review the Beast part of Dark Eras when that's finally released since being the one person who can stomach this game enough to hate review it is the superpower that I never actually wanted but this review is done. Get thee behind me Beast.

Oh Right.