Tabletop Game / Beast: The Primordial

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Welcome to the Lair.

A Storytelling Game of Endless Appetite.

Beast: the Primordial is the tenth game line in the New World of Darkness, and the first to be released since it changed its name to Chronicles of Darkness. You play a Beast, sometimes also known as the Children or Begotten. An embodiment of humanity's primal nightmares, your soul has been replaced by a primordial nightmare monster known as a Horror possessed of a deep-seated hunger. However, your hunger needn't manifest as direct hunger - it can be something like hoarding, or making someone understand they're prey. You must manage your hunger with care, choosing whether to satiate yourself and become more focused, or go hungry and become more dangerous. However, if you don't fulfill your hunger, your Horror will rampage through the collective dreamscape, disrupting people's lives and inducing intense nightmares, which will cause Heroes to awaken, hunt you down, and try to kill you.

One of the most notable features in this game is how Crossover-friendly it is: all previous entries in the New World of Darkness were built with the possibility of being compatible, but Beast is the first explicitly designed to encourage it, giving the Begotten an entire set of powers known as "kinship" specifically designed to make them interact with other supernatural templates and dedicating an entire section of the book to explaining how they would interact with the protagonists of the other gamelines: the Begotten believe all supernatural beings (except Demons) are related to them, and as such treat them as kin.

The 99% complete public preview can be found here. It was released as part of the Kickstarter for a deluxe edition, which was fully funded in under a day. It went through multiple re-writing before the final version was released.

A supplement, titled Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes was later released. As suggested by the title, this book focused primarly on Heroes, the Beast's opponents, providing more informations about them and various sample characters. It also added a new type of antagonist, the Insatiable, best-described as the Beasts' Evil Counterparts.

This game contains examples of:

  • Amplifier Artifact: All Beasts have kinship powers, which include the ability to enhance the powers of other supernaturals.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Beasts are embodiments of primal human nightmares, descended from the very first primal nightmares. This creates an odd connection to Changeling: The Dreaming, whose main characters are embodiments of primal human dreams. The specific kind of fear determines a Beast's primary splat, their Family — the corebook Families are Anakim (Powerlessness), Eshmaki (Darkness), Makara (Depths), Namtaru (Revulsion) and Ugallu (Skies).
    • The Insatiable are less anthropomorphic Personifications of primordial elements; Fire (Molten Earth), Ice (Frozen Hell), Earth (Clashing Faults), Water (Primordial Sea) and Space (Void).
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Beasts can work towards an Inheritance, one of three "end-game goals", all based on leaving their vestigial humanity behind and becoming something more... monstrous.
    • The Retreat is closest to the letter of this trope; a Beast pursuing this Inheritance literally divorces themselves from humanity and the mortal world, retreating into the Primeval Dream and discarding their human identity to become what's called an Unfettered; a free-roaming ephemeral being, a Soul without a human consciousness or the need for a fleshy body. This is an involuntary Inheritance; a Beast can be forced to become an Unfettered, as all it takes to become one is for the Shell to die whilst the Soul is separate. In game-terms? Any Beast who dies at Satiety 10 becomes an Unfettered. That's it. That's all it takes.
    • The Merger is when a Beast decides they want to truly embrace the physical world, desiring it so badly that they force their Soul into their body and contain it in its totality. Such a fusion is inherently imperfect and unbalanced; the Beast's Soul is crushed and constrained, squashing all that's left of their humanity and warping their body, leaving behind nothing but a physical monster that exists only to pursue their Hunger in the simplest, basest form.
    • Finally, the Beast Incarnate requires mastering a Beast's "Story", turning it from a mere Legend about how a Beast terrorizes humanity until slain by a Hero into a Myth about a true monster. Only the strongest of Beasts, those who can effortlessly slay Heroes and reduce them to mere footnotes in their Myth, can become an Incarnate; though divorced from their former humanity to the point of losing their Life trait, they otherwise retain all of their human knowledge and self, becoming a true fusion of mortal essence and monstrous Soul
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Once a Beast understands what makes another monster scary, they can develop a Nightmare to induce such scares themselves. This can work on a number of levels: what makes vampires scary, what makes a particular type of vampire scary, or what makes this particular vampire scary.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: The Birthright (Family-based innate power) of the Anakim allows them to smash aside any sort of physical obstacle once per scene. It doesn't matter what it is; a hastily erected wooden barricade, a concrete bunker wall, if the Anakim wants through, she's going through.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The inversion of this — ugliness equals evil — is invoked with the Namtaru. The Gorgons are defined by their ability to inspire revulsion, their presence inducing others to recoil in instinctive fear. It's also subverted, in that Gorgons still have free will and can choose their actions; the example character is a dedicated nurse who does the job nobody else wants and stays by the side of people who look to be Dying Alone otherwise (she doesn't hurt them herself). And regularly kicking the snot out of a different monster that preys on the elderly where she works.
  • Being Good Sucks: Beasts cannot avoid their need to feed. Even the weakest of Beasts, those who cling most strongly to their human origins, have a choice: either deliberately find someone and scare them, as appropriate for their Hunger, once per week, or else cause nightmares in random people, which will potentially create some loony who will happily maim, kill and burn innocent bystanders to find and kill them. The "best" Beasts are those who accept their Hunger and find a way to sate it that minimizes the harm they cause, as several sample characters mentioned in the corebook show.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: An obvious motif for the Namtaru Family (who are Fear of Revulsion, after all), but can potentially be applied to any Beast.
  • Black and White Insanity: Why the Heroes aren't the protagonists; they will happily throw logic into the iron maiden if they have to justify their actions somehow, and they always justify their actions. This is the big difference between Heroes and Hunters, and why hunters hate and loathe Heroes; a hunter can be a fanatic, but they can still draw distinct lines in the sand that they will not cross, and accept the idea that maybe there are extenuating circumstances, that maybe this particular "monster" doesn't deserve to die. Heroes will not — indeed, cannot — do either.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Beasts are made to view seeding fear and apprehension as a good thing, so that humanity can rise above it. One outsider view from a vampire talks about how the relationship between two Beasts seems to go from flirtation to engagement to one killing the other's sister over the course of the month, and they still seem to be relatively cordial. That said, this is subverted with some beasts, who are honest with themselves about what they are doing.
  • Breaking Speech: Certainly used by some Beasts, but amusingly enough, many Beasts' lists of Nightmares will read like one, with names like "Everyone Hates You," "You Deserve This," and "Everything You Do is Worthless."
  • Broken Aesop: The main book's explicit assertion that the Begotten are not evil is supported by the assertion that they (at least, those who take up any justification for it) terrorize, hurt, and/or kill people For Their Own Good, and/or because their behavior was Asking For It. Unfortunate Implications is putting it lightly. (The text on the Eshmaki, for instance, cites the example of throwing societal "elites" off of balconies or cutting their brakes, to remind them "luck cuts both ways.") While called out in a few places, like the sidebar on page 64, terrorizing humanity is generally characterized as a grim but noble duty, certainly undeserving of human retaliation.
    • The book also points out that Heroes are automatically cast as the "good guys" in the conventional hero-versus-monster story because the narrative is inherently sloped in their favor... in a book whose narrative inherently slopes in the favor of the Begotten in justifying their behavior.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • A Beast whose Satiety reaches 10 sees her Horror falling asleep, causing her to lose all her abilities and become functionally human. The process is reversable by awakening the Horror again, though.
    • Beasts with the Incarnate Inheritance get the ability to turn Heroes back into regular mortals.
  • Byronic Hero: This is what Heroes can be at their best; deeply flawed people doomed to a terrible but glorious fate.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Deconstructed. All Begotten know they're the villains of the tale, the monsters Heroes hunt, and to be frank, it's fun being the bad guy...but they don't really have a choice, and that "evil" can be directed to positive ends. Not to mention, they're actually a lot more respectful of the good guys than the designated good guys are of them...and the good guys are psychotic Knights Templar more often than not.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played with. On the one hand, it is evil, because Children need nightmares and violence to remain sane...and by feeding those Hungers, most are trying to pose less of a danger to their human friends, and they're actually quite ambivalent about their roles as the villains of the story. Indeed, some fifteen game lines later based on being the "creature," White Wolf has arguably come back around to the concept that started it all: "Monsters we are, lest monsters we become."
  • Death from Above: This is one of the secondary fears that defines the Ugallu family; the fear that something from the skies above is stalking you and can snatch you up at any moment.
  • Designated Hero: Invoked In-Universe for the Heroes. Being based on the fact that, A: the heroes of mythology can easily be constructed as violent, self-centered assholes anyway, and B: the purpose of the game is to flip the narrative, then naturally Heroes are pretty much nothing of the sort. What really ticks Beasts off about this trope is the fact that they, at least, can try to challenge the role that "the Story" attempts to force upon them, but Heroes will never try and do that.
  • Designated Villain: In-Universe, the Beasts themselves. They know from the beginning that they're pure evil, creatures created to terrorize humanity and ultimately be killed. Needless to say, they're not very happy about this, although they do eventually come to a certain acceptance of it, and still they don't intend to die just because everyone else says they should.
  • Eldritch Location: Beasts are intimately tied to places called Lairs, locations within their nightmare soul where their monstrous self can rest and hunt. A Lair is a physical place Beasts can visit, and multiple Beasts can share the same Lair. They are built around a Heart for the center, further defined by Aspects, and potentially house places of significance called Chambers. However, a Lair is also a Beast's power stat; the more developed a Lair is, the stronger a Beast is. Lairs actually exist outside of the physical world, but can symbolically be connected to the physical world and can be entered anywhere with a strong enough physical connection. One example was using a pool to enter a Lair that appears as a dark ocean beating against a beach of black sand.
  • Emotion Eater:
    • Beasts need to feed their Horrors with a steady diet of nightmares, with their particular Hunger being what they focus on.
    • In fact, Heroes themselves technically have one; once they have fallen into the role, they can't leave. They simply can't restore Willpower effectively unless they're willing to embrace their Legend - the Hero archetype they try to live up to - and in fact going without living up to their Legend for a day leads to horrific nightmares that just keep getting worse and worse, compelling them to get back out there and resume hunting monsters.
  • Enemy Mine: Though Heroes are often a danger to everyone they come across, be it human or Beast, they have a willingness to try and join forces with other supernaturals they come across, with varying degrees of success. That's not to say they won't try and fight another supernatural as practice, but if it isn't a Beast, it's a potential ally, or resource. That said, they will never accept or request the help of a Beast.
    • Vampires aren't propositioned to any real degree, mostly from Vampires policing themselves heavily and Heroes tending not to be able to tell a Vampire from a normal human.
    • Werewolves can't stand Heroes, due to the fact that Heroes can't get along with others, nor work as a team, nor even accept when something is their fault, everything that a pack does not need.
    • Mages and Heroes are surprisingly similar in terms of stubbornness, and can make for allies or grant magic weapons if convinced a certain Beast is a danger. However, unless the Mage was already related to the Beast in some way, they generally don't meet, and they can just as easily turn on a Hero if they plan to attack a Beast the Mage is studying.
    • Hunters, surprisingly, aren't generally keen on working with Heroes, sometimes equating them to Slashers; those who do work with them inevitably attempt to take the Hero down in disgust, or become as bad as the things they hunt and must be taken out by other Hunters.
    • Changelings are a calculated risk for Heroes to approach. A Changeling skilled in dream combat is a great ally to have, but could become just as big a threat if they refuse and join the Beast.
    • Prometheans baffle Heroes, more from their quest to become humans than anything else; to a Hero, a Promethean is better than human in any conceivable way (which should probably tell you how disconnected Heroes are from reality). Relations inevitably degrade when Disquiet settles in though...
    • Sin-Eaters tend to see Heroes as not entirely safe to be around, which should tell you something given that they're generally able to avoid actually dying. However, a Geist who died at the hands of a Beast can be very motivated to join in such a union.
    • Mummies don't really care for a Hero's quest, an opinion Heroes reciprocate, though Heroes are heavily interested in gaining a Mummy's magic, especially the ability to come back from the dead. Mummies feel that a Hero would be the absolute last person they'd give that kind of power to.
    • Demons may not get along with Beasts, but they have just as little interest in helping a Hero along. They may provide some aid in exchange for a Hero's signature, which the Hero is generally okay with, seeing it as a Heroic Sacrifice for the greater good. Angels also often make use of Heroes for the sake of the God Machine, which Heroes are just as open to.
  • Enemy Within: Played with. The monster part of your soul doesn't hate you, and reconciling with it allows a Beast to finally be comfortable in their own skin, but if it starts to starve in the real world it will start to ravage the dream one to stay alive. This attracts Heroes.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Though it depends on how evil a Beast is in practice, one thing that most Beasts prioritize is the concept of Family, be it other Beasts, their supernatural cousins, or even the normal human family they are a part of. One way of royally pissing a Beast off is to deliberately harm them, which is a tactic some Heroes indulge in whether or not said family member is a Beast.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Zigzagged: Probably not precisely "evil", but Beasts regard both themselves and the protagonists of other gamelines as an extended clan, to the point where Beasts have some powers actively meant for interaction with other supernaturals (with some exceptions), held under the general line of "Kinship". However, just because someone's family doesn't mean you'll get along. In fact, this is how Beasts do with their "cousins":
    • Vampires: Relationships tend to be tense, since A: Vampires tend to place a lot of importance on trying to hold onto the delusion they're still human, B: Beasts can be competitors over precious prey or influence, and C: Vampires are naturally arrogant and manipulative, which doesn't tend to sit well with Beasts. Still, of all the splats, Vampires can best understand the aching, burning Hunger that drives Beasts, and this breeds understanding between the two.
    • Werewolves: Though Uratha can get competitive over who's the better hunter, their urge to hunt means that there's almost no difference between Werewolves and Predator Beasts, making them one of the most common allies if they can put their egos aside.
    • Mages: Though pride can be a dividing line between the two, since Beasts are "rogue elements" in Mage eyes, they can form a fairly strong bond. At the very least, Banishers remind Beasts far too much of Heroes for them to not step in if one emerges.
    • Prometheans: The Created puzzle Beasts, but there's no real hostility between the two, particularly since Beasts are immune to Disquiet. Prometheans on the Refinement of Silver can even study the Children as a way to discover how they differ from humans, whereas exploitative Beasts can take advantage of the Disquiet Prometheans make. Beasts can often become violently protective of the Prometheans they form Kinships with, and their Lairs are safe places for Prometheans to stay within.
    • Hunters: Hunters stride too closely to Heroes for Beasts to like them much, and are usually too human to form Kinships, though it isn't impossible, particularly for Hunters whose Endowments are drawn from their bloodline, such as the Lucifuge. Hunters don't typically like Beasts either, but can still pull an Enemy Mine against a greater threat and Heroes are far too extreme for any sane Hunter to team up with. Disturbingly, Slashers do not have the aforementioned limitations on forming Kinships.
    • Changelings: Beasts see plenty of kinship between themselves and the Lost, though the fact that Changelings are made rather than born fascinates them. In return, the Lost tend to be leery of Beasts, especially because of how they sow nightmares in their wake, though as Beasts tend to stand on equal footing with the Gentry, even shaping the Hedge by their very presence, they may overlook this fact for an alliance.
    • Sin-Eaters: Many Beasts wonder if Sin-Eaters aren't some long-lost Family that has managed to claw its way out of the Underworld. Despite some misgivings, Beasts and Sin Eaters see many ideals in one another that can bring a fruitful working relationship.
    • Mummies: Similarly to Sin-Eaters, Beasts wonder at how close the link is between themselves and the Arisen, suspecting that the Arisen may actually be a lost Family that has been artificially enslaved since the dawn of humanity. Their relatively similar dichotomy between their souls and bodies can also form the basis of strong relations, even if the Arisen are generally and willfully ignorant of other supernaturals.
    • Demons: The exception. Unchained do not trigger Kinship, which really freaks the Beasts out, and Demons are disturbed by how pacts automatically fail with the Children. Both parties are able to sense each other through whatever disguises they have, and though a Demon may see a Beast as a more-trustworthy-than-average asset, these relationships never last without significant work. Demons are not kin.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Heroes vs. Beasts. Yes, Beasts are living nightmares who are well aware that they're monsters — even a Beast often instinctively thinks of herself as the villain by nature, however much he tries to minimize the harm he causes. However, Heroes are just as dangerous; the phrase "gibbering, gore-spattered maniacs whose obsessive quest to destroy the Beast twists their minds and makes them dangerous to everyone around them" is used to describe the worst of them. In fact, Beasts are actually the morally superior side in most cases, because to them, it isn't personal; Heroes are attempting to stop a self-admitted monster from spreading nightmares across everywhere.
  • Fallen Hero: The post-revision version of Beast posits that, in the modern day, most Heroes have "fallen" from the original ideal. Where once they were brave and wise individuals going into the dark places and finding the wisdom lurking behind the shadow of the unknown, now they've become vainglorious broken individuals who believe that they, not the wisdom they bring, are what society truly needs.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Beasts do not like Hunters, since there is little difference between a "hunter" and a "hero" in the minds of the Begotten (when, in fact, a Hero is the person a hunter is afraid of becoming).
    • They're also not fond of the Unchained, seeing them as "pod people" who look like them, but aren't. It doesn't help the two are utterly incompatible in kinship or pacts, nor that a Beast or Demon identifying the other puts Frightened Conditions on at least one of them, leading to meetings between Beasts and Demons that are often violent. The two can work together, but not without significant work and trust on both parts.
    • Heroes, naturally, attract all of a Beast's hate and scorn. It's partly because, like Beasts, Heroes are forced into the role that "the Story" says they should fit, but unlike Beasts, Heroes get the "good role" and never ever question it. It's mostly because Heroes are obsessive, violent maniacs who relentlessly seek Beasts to kill them; that doesn't tend to engender very positive feelings, after all. The revised version has softened this up - Heroes receive a measure of scorn from Beasts, but they also receive a measure of pity. They've both been called into a transcendent human narrative of fear and enlightenment, but the Heroes have lost the plot and made it all about being the shiniest light in the darkness.
    • Hunters and Heroes don't like each other much. Heroes think of Hunters as getting their priorities wrong at best, and as being just disposable Cannon Fodder at worst. In return, Hunters think that Heroes are grandstanding, arrogant idiots, and so zealous that they should never be trusted lest they become like them.
    • Averted in that Heroes are willing to work with any of the other supernatural races if they can, though that doesn't stop them from trying the other supernaturals as target practice. However, most other supernaturals don't return the sentiment. Werewolves in particular find Heroes insufferable and Mummies, although eagerly courted for their help, are pretty much united behind the idea that Heroes are the very last people they would ever want to see being able to use their magic. Especially the Rite of Return.
  • Furry Fandom: It hasn't gone unnoticed that the background of at least the draft version is very similar to the philosophies of a small subsect of furries called "Otherkin", who believe they are the souls of mythical beings that have been trapped in human bodies. A particularly vehement Vocal Minority has used the term derisively when referring to the game.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Nemesis Makara are known to prefer taking the snot out of polluters.
  • Genius Bruiser: Anakim are the reborn myths of Giants, and they have unabashedly physical abilities reliant on raw strength. The reborn ancient myths of giants (like the Cyclopes and the sorcerer Utgard-Loki), which also means they embody raw intelligence and intuition as well; one of their core Atavisms is Mimir's Wisdom, which gives them a perfect memory and Living Lie Detector powers at higher Satiety, and Super Intelligence at lower levels.
  • Genre Savvy: Beasts know how their myths are supposed to work, just like Heroes, but they can twist it to their advantage.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: The Atavism "Siren's Treacherous Song", if activated through expending Satiety.
  • Healing Factor:
    • Beasts can heal themselves at an accelerated rate if they can retreat to their Lair and are willing to spend Satiety points to do so. They get quite a deal; one point of Satiety can completely heal every last point of Bashing damage they have, a few points of Lethal damage, or a single dot of Aggravated damage — no other Splat can heal Aggravated damage so easily.
    • Heroes, meanwhile, have a permanently active healing factor. It's not as spectacular as, say, a werewolf's, but it makes them capable of recovering much, much faster than any normal human. They're also immune to all mundane illnesses and never need medical attention; their injuries always close up on their own and heal perfectly without any need for surgical intervention.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: At least in the backer draft, the game heavily plays up the connection between Beasts and various real-world marginalized groups; the unfortunate implications that come with this trope (especially given the nature of Beasts) have led the developers to revise this for the final edition.
  • Hellgate:
    • There are places where other beings can enter a Beast's Lair, due to their symbolic resonance with the Lair.
    • Lairs themselves can be Hellgates, as one of their potential powers is hosting doorways to otherworlds like the Astral, Shadow, Arcadia or Underworld.
  • Hope Crusher: This is the true Hunger for Ruin: A Ravager doesn't just want to destroy, they want to remind you that there is no such thing as perfect safety or stability. Can be heroic subversions, though: One example Ravager mostly eats by throwing bricks through the windows of rich people, and "sense of ruined stability" could easily be "Villainous Breakdown from a thwarted Diabolical Mastermind."
  • Horror Hunger: Your character's personal measure of Integrity for this line is Satiety, representing how well you have fulfilled a particular Hunger, and which can vary wildly during a game session. Hungers serve as the secondary splat for the game — the corebook Hungers are Power, Punishment, Prey, Hoard and Ruin.
  • Interspecies Romance: Somewhat; though Beasts prey on humans and have a different flavor blood from them to Vampires, they are still born from humans, largely have the same identities as them and can form the same romances as normal people can. Some even work to help their loved ones open up their own "inner beast" so they can join in on the Brood, which offers a connection between Beasts' souls. It's rather romantic, in an odd way.
  • It's All About Me: The driving force behind a Hero, and why they are not "the good guys" the way that Hunters technically are, is because the very foundation of their reason to hunt is because they have fallen into the delusion that the world is a story in which they are the protagonist. Subsequently, they are virtually incapable of working together with their own kind; their sheer ego leads to constant squabbling and jockeying over bruised pride, the right to claim the glory of the kill, etc. Furthermore, they look down on normal humans and consider them fundamentally unimportant - if the Hero is The Hero, than everyone else around them is some kind of Spear Carrier. This particularly sours Hero/Hunter relationships, since Heroes literally see hunters as nothing more than Cannon Fodder and too prone to getting caught in "minor sidequests". In fact, a good comparison to the Hero mentality is Lex Luthor and his "justifications" for fighting Superman — the real reason Luthor fights Superman isn't because Supes is "selfish" or "ruins humanity" (as Luthor claims), but a combination of projection of Luthor's self-hatred & delusions of powerlessness mixed with sheer ego. Heroes hate Beasts not so much because Beasts are "evil" as because, when they saw the Beast's Soul, they saw — and rejected — the reflection it cast of the Hero's own soul.
  • Light Is Not Good: An example of the "Heroes" who hunt Beasts brought up in the Gen Con 2014 panel is...Gaston. In the corebook, it's explicitly stated that those who become Heroes are broken, degraded individuals; the kind of weak-souled person whose self-image is so frail that they psychologically need to attribute all their failings to some great enemy rather than accept their own faults, a need that leads to them latching obsessively onto the Beast as a convenient target for this purpose. Mechanically, to become a Hero, you need to have an Integrity score of 4 or less (the human average is 7), emphasizing how only the clearly unstable become Heroes.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Inverted. If you can somehow destroy a Lair, you will severely hurt or even kill the Beasts who are tied to it.
  • Medusa: The nickname for the Namtaru family is "Gorgons", and Medusa herself is the iconic Namtaru due to her mythical ability to turn a viewer into stone from sheer horror at her ugliness.
  • Mind Rape: The mental powers of Beasts fall into a category called Nightmares. For obvious reasons.
  • Moral Myopia: This is one of the mental problems that bedevils Heroes and helps emphasize the Designated aspect of that title. Beasts realize that their feeding hurts people, accepts that it's natural that this will provoke people, and can choose to find less harmful ways of feeding it. Heroes don't care what happens to anyone else so long as they get to kill the Beast. Heroes can send unwitting Cannon Fodder to their doom against the Beast without a qualm, effortlessly rationalizing it as "my men would gladly die for me", set off explosions and fire and chemical leaks in populated areas as a "necessary sacrifice", and murder people who stand in their way because "they're agents of the Beast". The idea that they might be responsible for their own problems is unthinkable to them.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: The game calls back to legends of the Mother of Monsters, known by many names around the world. According to the Beasts, not only is the Dark Mother the first Beast, she is the first monster, ancestor to the majority of the creatures of the World of Darkness. (This ties into Vampire: The Requiem, which also has a Mother of Monsters figure.)
  • Mythology Gag: The sample Anakim Predator, Darius, blatantly references Dar-Us, a rogue Uratha from Night Horrors: Wolfsbane characterized by his brutal fighting style, with its emphasis on breaking an opponent's bones, and his mental degradation into a monster that lives to brutalize and slowly kill others.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Part of the theme of Anakim. Anakim are nightmares of hopelessness, of inferiority against superior power. The Anakim will never be weak or hopeless again, and will force the world to obey him - and thus inflict that nightmare on others.
  • Never My Fault: Heroes in general have problems with accepting their own faults and laying the blame for everything wrong with their lives on those around them. Indeed, this kind of attitude tends to mark a potential candidate to become a Hero in the first place. It's particularly pronounced with those Heroes created by Tyrants; laying all the blame for their failures on their underlings is a universal trait of theirs.
  • Noble Demon: Beasts can find beneficial methods for feeding their Horror, or at the very least find the least harmful way of indulging in them, and come down hard on those who abuse their family. "Family Dinner" also allows them to feed their Hunger by being entirely passive, and watching one of their cousins feeding their own respective "hunger", such as a Changeling gathering Glamour.
  • Not So Different: Beasts and Heroes are both living archetypes from the Primeval Dream that have manifested in the mortal world. Also, to humans, both are pretty monstrous; Beasts have to Feed, and this does hurt people, but Heroes are capable of any atrocity in the name of "the greater good". Furthermore, Heroes have personality...quirks... directly relating to the Hunger of the Beast that created them. Heroes born to oppose Tyrants become natural leaders who blame any and all failure on the efforts of the underlings that flock to them. Heroes born to oppose Collectors become insatiable kleptomaniacs, obsessed with collecting things — their hatred is born of the fact they want what the Beast has. Heroes born to oppose Predators become wild, frenzied fighters, easily misled into attacking innocent bystanders. Heroes born from the actions of a Nemesis become convinced of their own purity and disdainful towards their "sinful lessers". And a Hero created by a Ravager is a totally detached utilitarian; everything and everyone else is disposable to them.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons have been specifically cited as examples of Beasts that can be seen across the Families. You can probably think of why a draconic Beast could be an Anakim, Eshmaki, Makara or Ugallu within just a few seconds of reading this.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The Anakim Family is associated most strongly with the mythology of giants, ogres and Nordic trolls — great, big, ugly brutish behemoths that overpower everything in their wake. The Anakim nickname is thusly "the Giants".
  • Our Souls Are Different: The very premise of the game. A Beast has always been subtly "different", but it wasn't until their Homecoming when they "woke up". A Beast is a dual creature, at one and the same time a living nightmare, a monstrous astral entity, and a human being dwelling in the material world. Furthermore, the nightmare isn't just a monster, it's also the Lair the monster dwells in. Their powers work by forcing their spirit through into the world; Nightmares (which work better when Satiety is high) are ephemeral manifestations of their essence, whilst Atavisms (which work better when Satiety is low) physically reshape their body to more closely match their soul. Also, their soul and consciousness can function independently, as mentioned under Enemy Within; a Beast's soul will literally wander off to terrorize the dreamscape if the Beast doesn't Sate their Hunger.
    • A Beast's Lair is a physical manifestation of their own soul, and is a place where Beasts have a massive advantage, even allowing them to more completely transform into their true selves.
    • Interestingly, this trope is averted in relation to Changeling - Beasts have the same power to shape the Hedge with their presence as high Wyrd Changelings and even the Gentry themselves. Beasts even consider the Gentry to outright be Beasts, but with power and abilities that a Beast can only dream of discovering and having. This often leads Changelings to see some unfortunate implications when they look at Beasts - the desire of becoming a True Fae, the thing that Changelings hate and fear the most.
  • Perspective Flip: Of the heroic monster-slaying narrative. You're playing the monster the Heroes seek out, and as noted said Heroes aren't necessarily good. In fact, in the New World of Darkness, they're more likely to be either xenophobes, lunatics or arrogant glory-seekers.
  • Poke the Poodle: Beasts do have to cause fear (or at least be near those who are afraid) to survive, but it's emphasized that there's a lot of ways to do this, and it doesn't make a Beast necessarily a bad person. For example, one sample Ravager (driven by a Hunger for Ruin) embraces his monstrous nature and sates himself by... breaking the windows of rich people. Mildly Paranoia Fuel inducing, yeah, but hardly harmful. Another sates it by picking locks and collecting them, which he can do by having a job as a professional safecracker.
  • Power of the Void: Void Insatiable...do not embody this. Rather, they embody fears of Alien Invasion and the fundamental hostility of the environments of alien planets and cosmological phenomenon. Such Insatiable have more to do with the methane seas of Titan and the sheer destructive power of gamma ray bursts than the cold, empty vacuum.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Part of what makes Heroes the true villains as opposed to Beasts is that they not only think that they are the protagonists, but also that this trope applies. One developer playtest describes a Hero sneaking into a PC's law firm and murdering one of her employees, instinctively writing them off as being "her evil minion", when there's no evidence the employee even know the PC is a Beast.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: All the monstrous denizens of the World of Darkness are prone to this, but Beasts have it particularly bad. Even when they first experience their Homecoming, they have to deal with the instinctive awareness of how wrong they are; they are monsters, and everything they have learned throughout their lives teaches them that monsters are evil. Even the nicest Beast is hurting someone when they feed. The basic moral adjustment a Beast comes to terms with is understanding that they terrify humanity, and it's only natural that Heroes are born to fight them as a result.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Most Beasts experience a series of nightmares wherein they're pursued by some great monster stalking them through the darkness. A key part of their Homecoming, the process of becoming a Beast, is accepting that this monster is them.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The point of Heroes. Whether dealing with a serial killer, petty vandal, or crusading lawyer, the only good Beast is a dead Beast as far as Heroes are concerned.
  • Vigilante Man: Nemeses, those Beasts with Hunger for Punishment.
  • Villain Has a Point: It's stated outright that, if only after some time to truly understand who they are, Beasts think that the "Hero Reaction" is only natural; they are living embodiments of fear and as such are forced to prey upon humanity. It's only right and fair that humanity would lash out to try and stop them if it can. That doesn't mean they're just going to roll over and die because someone says they ought to, or that they don't object to all being tarred with the same brush — they can try to minimize the harm they do; does the Collector who picks the pockets of stockbroker wizards or who steals from organized crime bosses really deserve to die for being of the same species as the Ravager who seduces people to her bed and then eats them? — it just means that they accept that somebody is going to want to kill them if they're too dangerous, and if that happens, they do deserve people rising up against them.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Atavism powers allow Beasts to transform themselves in various ways, akin to the Protean discipline or even the Uratha ability to shapeshift. However, a Beast cannot physically transform completely into their monstrous soul-self unless they are inside of their Lair. Thus preventing the obvious problem of "how the hell does The Masquerade still exist at all if the unholy combination of Smaug and Cthulhu can go waltzing around Times Square?" However, two of the three methods of "ascension" — the "Golconda equivalent" for Beasts — allow this. Firstly, there's the Merger, where a Beast allows their Soul to consume their body and reshape them permanently into a more accurate version of their true self, and then there's the Beast Incarnate, where a Beast has assimilated their Legend to the point that their "story" becomes about them and thus they can shapeshift at will.
  • Worthy Opponent: In contrast to Heroes, who are generally regarded as annoying, psychotic, or some combination of the two, hunters tend to be seen as this by Beasts; when push comes to shove, Beasts are creatures that need terror and fear in order to live, and it's humanity's right to defend itself. The fact that hunters tend to actually give a damn about collateral damage and turn on Heroes if they start sacrificing normal humans helps.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In-Universe, Heroes believe that the world is a classic "hero slays a monster" narrative story writ large. And that they are the protagonists of said story. They're technically right about the former, but it's the unshakable conviction in the latter idea (combined with their attendant belief in Protagonist-Centered Morality) that makes them little better than Slashers. The revised edition expands on this. The Heroes are correct, in that they are meant to be the Heroes of traditional monster-slaying narratives - the individuals who go into the darkness, defeat the fear that the Beast represents, and brings knowledge back to the people about what it all means. The problem is, due to certain shifts in the global narrative surrounding "heroes," they've come to believe that killing Beasts is all there is, and make it the only thing they really focus on.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: One subset of Beast powers are literally called Nightmares, and draw from common fears that haunt the human subconscious, especially in dreams. For instance, one sample Nightmare is called All Your Teeth Are Falling Out, and centers on making the target physically decrepit.
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