Today we begin our look at the latest in Onyx Path’s Chronicles of Darkness core books, a game called Beast: the Primordial.
Here’s a quick look at their marketing blurb:
You are one of the Begotten, the living embodiment of a primal nightmare of humanity. Your soul, your Horror, is a monstrous creature – maybe something that humanity dreamed and wrote down and still speaks of in legends, or maybe some outlandish horror that no living person has ever seen.
You are a Beast, and you must feed. Your Hunger drives you, and your Hunger might damn you. Indulge too lightly and your Horror will take matters into its own hands, roaming the Primordial Dream for sustenance and awakening murderous hatred in spiritually weak individuals. Feed too deeply and too often, and you become sluggish, sacrificing the raw edge of Hunger for the languor of Satiety. You must decide how to grow your Legend – will you be the monster incarnate, the thing that all other monsters fear? Or are you doomed to die under a Hero’s sword?
Like a lot of the denizens of the Chronicles of Darkness, Beast assumes that you were once human, but were irrevocably changed by a harrowing experience.
The humans that become Beasts remember their mortal lives as being constantly under the effect of terrible nightmares. These were not simply bad dreams, but a glimpse of the things that existed in the Primordial Dream. These Horrors are the monsters of legend, and they have offered you a chance to become one of them and guide humanity to wisdom.
By agreeing to them, your soul was Devoured, and you awake not as a human, but as a Beast.
Being a Beast isn’t easy. As a creature that feeds on fear (and certain rarefied forms of fear at that,) you walk a tightrope between starvation and becoming overly full. Each of these states changes the way your powers work, and influence what options you have in terms of actions you can take.
Beasts believe that their role in the world is to serve as humanity’s teachers. Like the monsters in cautionary tales, the Beasts strike fear into humanity to hammer home lessons of solidarity, safety, common sense. Behaviors that have served mankind well enough to live this long.
This is not to say that the Beasts are benevolent. Instead their lessons are brutal, painful and traumatic. Their lessons are for humanity at large, not for single victims, after all.
Because of the Beast’s activities, mankind reacts in the form of heroes. These are unhinged individuals who
have developed a violent obsession to the idea of killing Beasts.
Beasts are nightmares made flesh, and this manifests in their powers as well. They have the inherent ability to create Nightmare, calling upon primal fears to terrorize and harm their victims. These take the form of daymares that can physically injure those experiencing them.
Beasts also manifest Atavisms, where a Beast is able to bring out a fraction of their Horror’s nature to the real world. This can be a manifestation on the Beast’s body or their surroundings, and is often very disconcerting to victims of such… assuming they survive the experience.
Overall, Beast: the Primordial paints an interesting picture and an admittedly creepy premise. Much like Demons, Beasts are NOT nice people, and while they might couch the benefits of their existence to humanity (via the wisdom and teaching angle) there’s nothing to justify what they do.
Beasts are perhaps among the most monstrous of the Chronicles of Darkness line and already I can feel it hitting the very edge of my comfort zone. But let’s forge ahead and find out more about them in our next entry which will deal with Families and Hungers.