Beast: The Primordial
|Beast: The Primordial|
|RPG published by
White Wolf / Onyx Path
|Rule System||Storytelling System|
|Authors||Matthew McFarland, Dave Brooksaw, Jim Fisher, Emily Griggs, Andrew Heston, David A. Hill Jr, Dana Hughes, Renee Ritchie, Travis Stout, Peter Woodworth, and Sam Young|
Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
Beast: The Primordal is one of the newer games to come out for the New World of Darkness, and probably the one most scorned on /tg/. You are a Beast, a living embodiment of humanity's deepest and darkest fears, driven by an inescapable need to sate your Hunger, a manifestation of fear. You may be driven by the urge to Ruin or Dominate, but you cannot help but Feed. Of course, where a Beast lurks, Heroes inevitably arise, driven to slay the Thing lurking in the Dark...
Sounds awesome, right? A chance to both completely blow off the supernatural wangst that bedevils almost all of the other WoD lines (except Geist: The Sin-Eaters and maybe Demon: The Descent) and revel in being the bad guy you truly are: what could possibly wreck that idea?
Then the preview edition came out, and the problems began to show themselves.
For a start, you don't get any shapeshifting powers at all. That's right, you have a "Beast's soul", but not a Beast's body - even your Atavisms are completely invisible to normalfags, even when you're squeezing through a too-tight space, ripping them apart with claws or breathing fire (unless you decided to drop your Lair (the fancy domain thing that is tied to you) on top of their asses. Though, if that happens, subtlety has gone right out the window). This fact alone got /tg/ mocking the game as appealing to Otherkin: one of the mercifully rare, but not non-existent, branches of nutjob that heavily overlaps with the furry fandom, except that even other furries think they're out of their minds. It would have been bad enough, but coming in the wake of Demon: The Descent, which gave excellent modular rules for building a demonic form, fans were expecting a similar level of cool shapeshifting powers in a game that was advertised as "be the beast that haunts humanity's soul".
Next, though the intended flavor of the game was "screw the Heroes, they're really nothing but nutjobs who think they're the Good Guys and insist you're the Bad Guys", the writing of it came off as so sneering and condescending that not only did hordes of people start defending the Heroes (no thanks to that screwy "if you Critical Fail on your Rampage check, you spawn a Hero" rule), but /tg/ began writing Beasts off as otherkin fodder. The "special people with the souls of mythical creatures, picked on and bullied by the normies who just don't understand" (with the latter part going so far as to equate them with persecuted minority groups): that's what /tg/ saw and derided, in a repeat of Changeling: The Dreaming, mixed with an alarming amount of juvenile revenge fantasies. It didn't help that the author openly mocked the people who argued in favor of making Heroes less unsympathetic.
But, in a surprising show of self-awareness, Onyx Path actually took the time to respond to the criticisms and began an immediate rewrite of the book to address them, rewriting large portions of the book to be relatively more neutral in tone, though in many cases these rewrites either failed to address the original issues or were exactly the same as the original. And in at least a few cases, "optional interpretations" trying to shoehorn in the original depiction of Beasts were added in an attempt to circumvent the rewrite.
In some cases, the rewrite actually made the issues with Beast worse by attempting to give the Beasts the moral high ground. "They're merely teaching people important lessons through fear, honestly!" is a common refrain through the book, because apparently the only way for someone to become wise is to be constantly scared shitless by nightmare monsters. That that's almost the exact same justification the Night Lords used, it didn't give them the moral high ground either. And Jigsaw, of the iconic Saw franchise - which looks like one of the foremost Beast's inspirations - may be liked by many a maniac admirers but hardly anyone sane argues him not a villain.
The methods of dealing with Hunger suggested by the book ranged from the ludicrously petty to the outright murderous, and the addition of the "Family Dinner" mechanic in which a Beast could sate its hunger just by watching another supernatural being hunt or feed made the double-edged sword that Hunger could have been completely irrelevant.
Combined with openly dismissing all non-asshole Heroes as too boring to be of interest (despite sympathetic villains being a good thing), compelling all other supernaturals (except Demons for some reason) to be friendly towards Beasts despite several in-character reasons for them to oppose each other, and generally trivializing any harm a Beast might cause to others in fulfilling its Hunger, /tg/ has quickly come to the conclusion that it is by far the worst of the Chronicles of Darkness books.
Later on, it was discovered that author Matt McFarland was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl and was quietly let go from Onyx Path. Following further accusations of sexual harassment in 2019 involving the abuse of his position as a senior writer, Onyx Path stripped McFarland of his remaining assignments with them and publically condemned his actions.
When you look at all the above stuff about Beasts being entitled to indulging their Hungers, the people are trying to stop them are evil bigots and that they're actually doing their victims a favor in the light of said accusation...well, it starts sounding an awful lot like the sort of thing a registered sex offender would say in an attempt to justify his actions. If BtP makes any success, it will not be because of him, but in spite of him.
- 1 Family
- 2 Hunger
- 3 Powers
- 4 Allies
- 5 Heroes
- 6 The Insatiable
- 7 Inheritances
- 8 Attempts to fix
- 9 In short
To condense down what each family group of beast "souls" are, there are seven different families of monsters (which again are each an abstract conceptual basis to come up with your own style of monsters, although in practice some of them tend to fit specific stereotypical monsters far more than others). Each Horror is the nightmare manifested, a primal fear given shape, and the Beast is always the first inflicted upon by this nightmare, and are no longer troubled by it. These families are then mixed with seven hungers to help build your own monster.
Giants, ogres, and the powerful primordials of an earthy disposition. The fear that makes up your soul is the fear of powerlessness. Something that you will likely never allow to happen to you again. These are not your BFG friends, because even the nicest ones feed on the fear of powerlessness and dominate their opponents. As for their powers, expect strength, presence and for a fight in their lairs to become a titanic struggle. Like Attack on Titan where you're the Titan and your enemy forgot their jet pack and cables.
Lurkers, dwellers in the dark places, and sometimes capable of breathing fire or shredding opponents. Eshmaki are the beasts of the fear of darkness and the things that go bump in the night. Because they have conquered their fear, they never feel alone, though they might be. Did I mention you can be a dragon with this? Maybe one day you can use your incarnate powers to rule the world as force of change... Or just make a really, really good thief and/or killer. After all, what's to stop a dragon except a knight? And knights are just more tinned food.
Nightmares of the Other. The youngest Family, "only" dating back to the dawn of civilization and the xenophobia it fostered. This is where you find stuff like Doppelgangers, the Pod People, The Thing (from the John Carpenter film), Lacrymoles and various other monsters that can be called almost but not quite human. Ironically, they're the most humanlike of the Families despite their schtick of being the perpeutal outsiders.
For those wanting to say they are the Kraken, Leviathan, or any other sea monster. The Makara are the beasts of the fear of the depths. At its simplest this translates to a fear of drowning, but can easily be extrapolated further into overwhelming knowledge or circumstance. They tend to have the more lethal kinds of lairs. Drop one into reality and watch the world face a natural disaster level threat.
Those that believe in beauty being skin deep might have been referring to these things. Probably before being horribly fossilised. Namtaru are the fear of revulsion, and have Gorgons, insectoid terrors, and various other fuck-ugly things in their background. They can inflict a single condition once per scene, but they also are potentially some of the easiest people to hide evidence. After all, a statue can't expose you if you're simply a talented stone carver.
Nightmares of Confinement. They embody fears of being kidnapped, imprisoned, and otherwise held against one's will. After an especially unwise brood attempted to re-enact the Rape of the Sabine Women on a band of Heroes, the entire Family got saddled with an Anathema which causes them to be followed with an air of menace that makes people think any Captor they encounter is "out to get them". Naturally, they try to avoid brutalizing or raping their "prisoners" now, which probably causes some problems with the fact that, lore-wise, they're actually cursed to be compulsive rapists, though. Don't really end up mapping easily to a popular monster archetype like the others, so they mostly end up being giant spiders, living prisons, or unseen jailors. Could probably work for folks wanting to be Jigsaw or Leatherface-style slashers...but wouldn't it be easier to just play as a Slasher in that case?
Monsters of the air that represent everything from harpies to dragons (again), to great birds like the majestic Phoenix or Roc. They are the fear of exposure (literally or metaphorically), and too few people ever look up. Flight is something that falls among the realms of ease for these creatures. What's terrifying is their birthright ability to breach through facades. That means no glamour or special obfuscation can escape these eyes. It only inflicts a condition, but sometimes that's all it takes.
Your Beast's Hunger is what defines the kind of dark monstrous things you need to do to keep your Horror happy and full. There is always the feeding on flesh and blood but sometimes a beast can satisfy their craving in other ways. Feeding your Beast is what gives you power, and how full your beast is is the satiety stat. High satiety gives you a lot of power to fuel your awesome abilities like unleashing your dragon breath or using your titanic strength to kick a vampire through a skyscraper, and also passively enhances your Nightmares. However, high satiety has risks attached. Your Horror could become gluttonous or picky, refusing to feed on anything other than rare and high quality heists or stimulations. A Collector might not be satisfied until you have Fort Knox gold, for example. At maximum Satiety, the Horror goes into a food coma, leaving the mortal body kind of helpless in the mortal world (and since it takes some pretty heinous shit to reach that point, the now-mortal Beast will have a lot of enemies waiting to take advantage of his weakness).
By contrast, not feeding your beast enough means your Horror rampages through the dreamscape more often. At its minimum, you take lethal damage every day you don't feed and your Horror starts attacking the same dreams more than once. This leads to Heroes showing up and cause extreme problems, especially since you're probably not equipped to deal with the murderous glory hounds after the kill of their lives- but on the other hand it makes your Atavisms stronger, among other stuff. Walking the middle road between keeping your beast from rampaging and not having it become a glutton is manageable, but also has risks of its own. You gain none of the benefits for being at either extreme, and Heroes will find it easy to saddle you with Anathemas.
In practice, it's best to rapidly ping-pong between high and low satiety without hitting either the minimum or maximum so you gain the benefits of either extreme without needing to suffer the drawbacks for long.
There are seven Hungers. When combined with the seven families this creates 49 types of Beasts, so even Beasts of the same Family can be widely different (but in practice, several Hungers and Families overlap with each other or aren't well-defined enough to be distinguishable). These Hungers are:
The Hunger for the Hoard. Simply put, the Collectors like to obtain all sorts of stuff. Not because of what it's worth to them, but for what it's worth to others. Anakim Collectors prefer trophies that show off their own strength such as things taken from Heroes or mementos from worthy enemies, Eshmaki Collectors like to terrify the owner before taking things, Makara Collectors prefer ancient relics for their worth and to learn more about the world, Namtaru Collectors collect what seem to be items of great beauty, but look too close and the horror sets in like the stench, insects everywhere or the ground being filthy; other Natamu like to vandalize valuable things. Ugallu Collectors are magpies, or at least close to them: they look down at the world looking for something they like, mainly hidden objects, and if they find something that catches their fancy they swoop down, grab it and fly up to their out-of-reach lairs.
Hunger for Transgression. The tempters to the Nemeses' punishers, they push people to break their own moral codes, then gain Satiety when the transgressor feels guilty or ashamed about giving into their vices. They can't take the easy way out of using mind control though, the victim has to make the choice to transgress of their own will.
The Hunger for Punishment. The boogeymen of the Beasts, delivering retribution upon transgressors big and small. Anakim Nemeses solve violence with more violence, going after violent criminals and serving the dish best served cold. Eshmaki Nemeses work by reminding the perpetrator of a crime long forgotten of what they did, stalk them and drive the criminal to paranoia by (reasonably) making them think that there's a monster out to get them. Makara Nemeses protect certain places. Those who break these codes (transgressing somewhere where they shouldn't or killing animals somewhere) will face the wrath of such a Beast, but because of the nature of their Hunger these Beasts will require support from broodmates to help them feed regularly. Namtaru Nemeses tend to be scorned, and repay those who pick on those like them. Bullies, abusive spouses and other cruelty coming from hate will face one of them sooner or later. The Ugallu Nemeses punish secret crimes and other transgressions that are difficult to prove: hypocrisy, deceiving romantic partners, falsely professing belief in a religion and so on. These Beasts too like to torment their prey days or weeks before striking, making the retribution all the better.
The Hunger for Prey. Not as straightforward as you'd think: while some Beasts do kill their prey it's more about besting the prey than to outright eat it. Anakim Predators prefer to chase their prey down, uncaring about who sees them. Eshmaki like to hurt their prey in subtle ways: either physically or psychologically: for them it's about stalking rather than hurting. Makara Predators prefer to use traps, tricks and bait to lure others to their doom, when the prey falls for it the Beast considers it a job well done. Namtaru Predators tend to do bizarre (and often violent) things with their prey: drink blood from various cuts on their body, lap the sweat from their foreheads or leave a nasty, but not lasting, mark. Ugallu Predators prefer to plan, plot and scheme, picking their prey carefully. But when that's done the Beast strikes swiftly, brutally and efficiently.
The Hunger for Ruin. The most destructive of the Hungers, these Beasts live to destroy, pure and simple. They only go for non-living targets though, because those who target people Hunger for Prey, not Ruin. Anakim Ravagers like to smash first and think later, forcing them to live lives on the road lest they be found out quickly. Eshmaki Ravagers like to break things in the most guarded of places, ruining only their target and nothing else to prove their skill and scare people. Makara Ravagers make the damage they do look like forces of nature, reminding people they are not safe from the fury of nature. Namtaru Ravagers prefer to pollute instead of destroying. Their horror sets in the moment people think themselves to be safe only for them to realize the depth of the damage. These Beasts don't just burn the fields, they also salt the earth. Ugallu Ravagers strike suddenly and precisely, destroying what they need to feed and move on. They are like the drone strikes of the Beasts, terrifying people of the open sky.
The Hunger for Power. Tyrants want to assert their power over others, making people feel small and helpless. Anakim Tyrants like to see people be defeated, Eshmaki Tyrants relish the hunt and give their prey a sporting chance, Makara Tyrants prefer to make people feel like the malevolent forces they face are being guided by some kind of intelligence, Namtaru Tyrants scare people by being impossibly monstrous looking and Ugallu Tyrants make people feel they're being watched all the time, driving them to paranoia.
Hunger for Secrets. These Beasts like nothing more than to expose or uncover the secrets that others want to keep hidden. Depending on Satiety, this can mean anything from catching a coworker who got out of work by feigning illness to exposing a vast conspiracy.
The powers granted by your Horror and the most conventional of powers. All Atavisms are linked to a particular Family: the core five have five each and the two new ones each have three. Any Beast can learn any Atavism, as long as it matches with their Horror's identity. Atavisms become more powerful when used in a locations that resonates with the Beast's Lair, allowing the use of a more powerful version of the Atavism by spending a point of Willpower instead of Satiety (but this can be done only once a turn). Aside from this optional effect all Atavisms have a more potent variant that is used if the Beast has low Satiety. A starting character starts with two Atavisms, one of which has to be from a Beast's own Family. It can learn all the others too: all non-Family Atavisms are simply one XP more expensive.
Nightmares invoke the fears commonly found in nightmares: "nobody likes you", "something's chasing you", "you're covered in bugs", and so on. (A notable exception is "Behold, My True Form!", in which you can scare people to death with your presence alone).
They require either eye contact or physical contact, followed by the Beast speaking a few words. Lasting for one Scene, Nightmares provide powerful negative modifiers on targets that give the Beast an edge when dealing with them. Nightmares come in three forms: the regular one, an additional effect gained if the Beast has 7 or more Satiety, and one that is activated by spending Satiety (if your Satiety drops to 6 or lower because of this you still get the high Satiety effect). Because all Nightmare rolls involve rolling a Beast's current Satiety, this means that at high Satiety you're easily looking at dice pools of 10+.
Your home sweet home in the Primordial Dream, this is where your Horror "lives" when it's not out giving people nightmares. Lair is also the name of your power stat: it's your supernatural tolerance trait, once you have more than five dots in Lair you can increase your traits beyond the normal maximum, etc. Lairs are composed of chambers (the dream-mirrors of places where somebody got scared so bad it left an impression on the Primordial Dream; you can open a gateway from a chamber to the place the chamber is based on to enter and and exit the Lair) and burrows (connections between chambers). The first and most important part of your Lair is the Heart. Your heart can't be used to warp to the real world as it's based on you and not a physical location, but that's a good thing on account of if somebody destroys your heart you get instakilled. From there you add chambers, connect them with burrows, and choose your Lair Traits, the shit that makes your lair deadly to anyone who isn't you. Lair traits are environmental Tilts divided into minor (a raging blizzard, poor lighting, a sticky floor) and major (anyone who stays for too long becomes a pillar of salt, bottomless pits) categories; at least one of your lair traits has to be minor. If one of the tilts is already present in the real world, you can bring up to (Lair) other traits along for the ride for free. (Every WoD splat has its super-murder cheese combo, and this is the one for Beast: turn off the lights or run into a maze, then activate all your major traits and sit in the dark while your enemies die horribly in your magical pocket universe that kills in minutes and leaves no evidence.)
All the chambers in an area are called the Hive, which is where your Horror goes when it is out scarring people for life and whatnot. Generally, the nature of the Hive is influenced by its Apex- the meanest, scariest thing in the area, which need not be a Beast or even a supernatural. Their sway over the fears of humanity creates an additional trait in every chamber connected to the Hive, but unlike other Traits you don't get free immunity to it. Depending on the trait, this can be either mildly annoying or a good reason to move your brood somewhere else.
You can cut your Lair and its Chambers off from the Hive if you like, but that means your Horror is going to keep fucking up the same people again and again, which will either attract or create a Hero to bust your ass.
Beasts consider themselves to be part of an extended family originating from the being they call "The Dark Mother", and claim that all other supernatural beings are basically their distant cousins who just don't know where they really come from. The only exception is the Unchained; not only do Beasts not claim kinship with the scions of the God-Machine, they actively hate them.
Naturally, some supernatural beings like the Uratha and the Arisen who already have their own origin stories don't buy it, but even then they're not normally the type to pass up free allies. As for when they come to blows...well, Beasts know that family members can still end up in fights with one another and see nothing wrong with making such fights lethal.
In crunch terms, this means that Beasts can detect other supernatural beings, disguise themselves as other supernaturals, gain Satiety by watching said supernatural beings "feed" (the aforementioned Family Dinner mechanic that torpedoes the whole issue of managing Hungers), empower other supernaturals to make their powers work better, create new Nightmares based on their kin's abilities, and even open Primordial Pathways from their Lairs to other spiritual dimensions (e.g. the Shadow and the Hedge).
It should be noted that the True Fae, Centimani, Slashers, and other fucked-up sorts are also recognized as Kin by Beasts. That...is probably not a good sign.
Birthrights, Obcasus Rites etc.
A Horrorspawn is a minion created from the Beast's Horror. Sometimes literally. Some Beasts even liken it to a child. That child, however, is a monster that requires a corpse to possess in order to vacate the Lair, mutating it till it becomes a copy of Junior. Depending on how the player stats their nightmare baby, the critter can acquire special traits to better fulfill whatever job it was made for. This can even include Atavisms and Nightmares known by their master, as well as assistance when feeding. However, there are downsides to spawning a sin against nature. For one, the more time spent with it means the more uncomfortable your friends, even fellow Beasts become when socializing with you. The spawn also needs to feed, making it more likely a Hero will awaken to investigate. And if you leave it alone for too long, it'll take on a life of its own (and several Chambers as well).
The designated antagonists of Beast: The Primordial. We say "designated" because despite the game's best efforts to make them look as terrible as possible, they are actually not that evil as CoD antagonists go. Far less so than the writers intended them to be, if their statements complaining about how people weren't supposed to sympathize with them are any indication. Gaston from Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast is considered the archetypal Hero... which is
a really surface level reading of the film if authors considered Gaston a Hero. fitting considering that Heroes think themselves the heroic main characters, but are just egotistical bastards, which is exactly what Gaston was in Beauty and the Beast, a self-righteous prick who thought himself infallible.
The basic premise is that while Beasts "dream deep", Heroes "dream wide" and skim the surface of the Primordial Dream, where they can detect the disturbances caused by Beast activity. Back in ancient times, they supposedly helped Beasts teach the lessons they embodied, but because of modern cultural narratives they're only concerned with killing Beasts now.
Given that the average Beast is a shameless monster that literally feeds on terror, you might assume that this technically makes them the good guys. But since Beasts can do no wrong as far as the writers are concerned, Heroes are instead murderous sociopaths who would gladly send a thousand people to their deaths as long as they can claim the glory of killing a Beast. The very idea of Heroes not being assholes is brought up only in a sidebar, where non-asshole Heroes are dismissed as being too dull to be worth discussing.
One of the example heroes provided is basically a nerdy, selfish neckbeard with delusions of grandeur, complete with trenchcoat, trilby, and unironically referring to people as "milady". Let that set the tone for how Beast views Heroes.
Anyway, Heroes can instinctively track Beasts (an ability that the book has no crunch for, instead suggesting that the Storyteller just say it happens when the plot calls for it) and impose Anathemas in combat, which are weaknesses that the Hero "discovers" that either constrain a Beast's behavior or make them easier to hurt in some way. Stuff like the single scale Smaug was missing on his belly, or taking bonus damage from the Hero's "Chosen Blade". As a Hero kills Beasts, they get more powers like built-in armor against attacks from a Beast or placing an Anathema by denouncing a Beast as evil to the Beast's face (and since the only way to interrupt it is to physically attack the Hero, it creates interesting challenges for Beasts if there are witnesses present).
Amazingly, the Heroes were portrayed as being even worse than they are in the old Kickstarter version despite their being explicitly created as the result of Beasts fucking with their dreams. They're described as having the personality of "a high school bully crossed with a rabid dog", and an entire section of their chapter is dedicated to a slang lexicon that sounds like it was invented by stereotypical frat boys. Several other chapters discussing them can similarly be boiled down to "Heroes are all evil lunatics because we say they are, never mind the fact that their only crime was being victimized by a Beast".
Between this and the Heroes' final depiction, the implications should speak for themselves.
Since Heroes were a bit of an impotent wet fart as antagonists go (and even setting aside the problems with how they're written, mechanically they're just not much of a challenge to the average beast), the Conquering Heroes sourcebook (ironically) introduced a second set of villains for the gameline. Descended not from the Dark Mother but her mate, the Primogenitor (and later retconned to be the result of proto-Horrors which never bothered to form a Lair and embody human fears before claiming a human's body), the Insatiable's transformation has rendered them utterly inhuman, imbued with fears from an even-more-primordial time when the planet was hostile to all life, and claiming to be the Beasts' truest kinsfolk. The Beasts dispute the claim, violently, partly because they feel no kinship to them like the other monsters, partly because they're a bunch of sick fucks and no one wants to be related to that, partly because they kill whenever they feed and never get full and partly because the Insatiable, rather than having Lairs of their own, typically try to invade the Beasts', draining their powers and trying to possess their bodies.
Did it work?
Well, on the one hand, they're definitely a cut above Heroes in terms of being a Beast character's natural enemies. On top of their power-stealing, and thus being natural predators-for-the-predators, they can force humans to do their bidding by driving them insane, a process called a "Schism," and turn into their giant monster shapes whenever they want rather than while in lairs. And they're divided by element-themed Moments rather than Families.
On the other hand, their examples a "scary" unattractive gamer girl/Internet troll named "Null Snyper" who pushes her victims to suicide, a lava golem called "the Authority" (no relation to the WWE), and The Blind Man, who must be read about to be believed:
"The Blind Man's blotted clothing is as result of a thick trail of what resemble fish eggs progressively leaking from his navel, urethra, and anus. Particularly around his navel area, a coagulated mass of pink and black eggs comes forth when the Blind Man strains his abdominal muscles. Horrifyingly, the Blind Man has from time to time passed these eggs off as salmon roe or sturgeon caviar, as they bear a sour, fishy odor. Those who consume his “produce” have their fertility dramatically increased, and gradually produce their own eggs in a similar fashion to the Blind Man, the only difference being that mortal-produced eggs possess a coat of thin white fur. This invariably drives the afflicted unfortunates insane, as they cannot stop the egg production, resulting in self-destructive harm. The Blind Man believes that by participating in the birthing, they increase the speed at which the Primogenitor will be reborn." --Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes
Yes, it's basically saying that he pisses, shits, and cums fish eggs, and tricks people into eating them so they also piss, shit, and cum fish eggs. Truly a creation even /d/ would be hard-pressed to appreciate.
And that's just their fluff. Their crunch is an absolute clusterfuck since they use Satiety faster than they could possibly gain it- the only way they could use their own powers is by either Storyteller fiat or the presence of a virtually endless number of lesser Beasts they kill offscreen. It's obvious that an editor was never involved either, since their rules reference non-existent Tilts and are written so vaguely it's hard to tell what their powers actually do.
As previously stated, the Insatiable are divided among "Moments" rather than Families. A Moment represents different aspects and terrors drawn from moments in time outside written history. From the ice age to the vacuum of space. The book says they aren't limited to primordial eras, though. Giving an example of an Insatiable of Molten Earth projecting the feelings of violence and hatred for fellow human beings, while a Freezing Hell may cause people in the area to become obsessed with hoarding food and possessions in preparation for the apocalypse.
Earth elementals, cave shelters that collapse without warning, mountains crumbling before earthquakes. Essentially stone cold assholes that brutalize then devour their victims. They like everything being in caves, valleys, or underground, especially if it makes it easier to suffocate people.
ICE! ICE! MORE ICE! They're not just about the creatures under and over the ice, but the starvation and exposure animals go through in desperate search of food and warmth in an otherwise barren land of ice. Every FH is literally ice cold, from their touch to their blood temperature. They're the most likely to actually store their victims in ice boxes and freezers.
Your classic magma boys. They love fire, heat, and how billions of years ago the world was made of molten rock, waterfalls of molten lead, and molten hot pockets. As expected, they're hot tempered, violent, and very good at cooking in the kitchen. They're pyromaniacal sadists with a fetish for burns, kindling, and charred husks.
Believing their founder to have been a giant jellyfish, these guys like to think they're Makara but better. Much like a college teen, they suffer disproportionate amounts of anxiety, hate resting, and become paranoid as fuck. And, much like the classical college student, they will strike first at the nearest source of food to show dominance over the rest of their kind. They apparently feel the effects of hunger more keenly than their "siblings," and get violent when feeding.
The black sheep of black sheep, the Void are black holes, unknown distances, and the terror of infinity. They like Cthulhu, sci-fi, inter-dimensional conspiracies, and the idea of sucking people's brains out with bendy straws.
Inheritances are the "endgame" for a Beast, the result of how they reconcile their mortal lives with their Horror's Legend, the metaphysical framework that provides context to their existence.
This Inheritance happens when a Beast's lair is destroyed, either intentionally by the Beast or by someone else's actions. The Horror merges with the Beast, destroying any trace of self-awareness or humanity and devolving the Beast into a monster that exists only to feed.
Normally if a Beast dies, the Horror dies with it. But when a Beast dies while its Horror is slumbering, the Horror survives and continues to exist as an ephemeral being that continues to fuck with human dreams. Infamous because of its poor wording: if the right conditions are met (having your power stat at 10 and making your Horror get the Slumbering condition, then dying and getting enough successes) the Unfettered Horror becomes a rank 10 Ephemeral entity, one of the most powerful beings in all of Chronicles of Darkness.
A more obscure form of Inheritance, where the Beast deliberately starves himself nearly to death while keeping the Horror cooped up in its Lair until the Horror tries to eat him out of desperation and fury. The Beast responds in kind, and after enough time eating each other the Beast and Horror both become half dream and half flesh. They remain connected to one another to some degree, but the Beast no longer has to appease the Horror's Hunger for it. However, both halves are also somewhat less powerful for it- the Beast can't use most Atavisms, the Horror can't use most Nightmares, and both of them draw from the same pool of Satiety. More importantly, the Horror gets to manifest outside of the Primordial Dream at will, and the Beast can't control what it does. And it'll probably be pissed at the Beast for trying to starve it.
Some Beasts really want to be human again, but since the Horror eats your soul when you become a Beast they need to get creative. To do this, they need both a new soul and some way to kill their Horror (most likely involving another supernatural or even a Hero). If they're successful, they become more or less human but can still use Nightmares and Birthrights. The catch? They can only regain Satiety by eating the flesh of other Beasts and can never become another type of supernatural due to pissing off the Dark Mother.
Some Beasts look at themselves and realize that they hate what they've become, but don't just commit suicide or seek Divergence or Erasure. Instead, they go a step further and seek revenge against the Dark Mother directly: they travel to the Bright Dream (better known as the Temenos to mages), study their effects on the world around them until they can craft an Anathema weapon against their Horror, and use said Anathema to bring it to a state of near-death. When this happens, they lose the ability to gain or use Satiety in any way but retain most of their powers and gain the ability to place Anathemas on other Beasts. From there they quickly go on to begin hunting other Beasts in the hope of hurting the Dark Mother as much as possible before they die.
The most complex Inheritance and the one that the game pushes as the "best" one. After reaching a certain amount of Lair, an aspiring Beast must do one of the following things:
- Subvert a Hero's narrative by thoroughly destroying the Hero before he/she can even retaliate
- Become the Apex of the local Hive and visit their hunger on other Beasts
- Spawn a Legend by feeding their Horror in a spectacularly grandiose manner.
By changing their Legend into a Myth, an Incarnate gains the following powers:
- They can transform into their Horror in the physical world, gaining a bunch of stuff like extra limbs, natural armor, and so on when they do so.
- They become immune to Anathemas and can in fact de-power Heroes just by touching them.
- They can enter the Primordial Dream at will.
- They can never become Ravenous or Slumbering, though they still retain the ability to use Satiety and can gain the benefits/drawbacks of high and low Satiety.
- Their Life and Legend is replaced by a Myth. However, if they lose control of their Myth, they lose all their Incarnate powers and anybody can place Anathemas on them. Good fucking luck with that when you remember all the shit they can pull.
Attempts to fix
Strangely enough, players have tried tying the splat with the "Inferno" blue book, since the splat shares a lot of terminology with said-book. This begs the weird comparison where Demon: the Descent v. Beasts is like the Demons vs Devils Blood War in D&D. Does it fix the splat? Depends on who you ask.
Another, less malefic option is that you play as a guardian protector Beast who stays his darker nature by being around those less villainous kin. This is done by abusing the shit out of the "Family Dinner" mechanic, which essentially allows a Beast to never go hungry so long as they watch kin feed, eg. Changelings harvesting glamour, mages doing oblations, Prometheans fucking power outlets, etc. And, to be honest, it's not a half-bad metaphor, that we are all of us more vulnerable to our darker impulses when we try going at life alone. But, when surrounded by friends who care about you, who will stick by you through thick and thin, you can become something truly indomitable.
Arguably the real NWoD/CoD equivalent of Changeling: The Dreaming, but written by a pervert who probably got beat up in school a lot. Also, this game should really be called "Abuser: The Gaslighting".
- FATAL and Friends' scathing review, which sums up everything wrong with Beast
- The review for Conquering Heroes, which brought us The Blind Man up there
- And the one for the Player's Guide
- In that it's a tonal mess, got some serious issues about "yeah but what do they do?", and seemingly not liked by anybody but the author(s).