Thursday, March 31, 2016

Character Creation: Beast: The Primordial

Michelle is out of town, I finished a writing assignment today, and for some stupid reason I'm still awake, so let's do this.

(Yes, I'm aware it's only 8:30. Shut up. I'm old.)

Oh, hey! Whole reason I'm doing Beast is that it was just released, so you can buy it!

The Game: Beast: The Primordial
The Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
Degree of Familiarity: Very yes. I, um, created it. I mean, Beast, not the larger World Chronicles of Darkness setting, obviously.
Books Required: Technically just the one, though the Chronicles of Darkness core doesn't hurt.

Well, I wish I had my hard copy yet, but I don't, so here we go.

I've actually been thinking about this off and on for a long time, now. I've never actually played Beast (which isn't so surprising; I've never played curse the darkness or Chill as a player, either, and the only reason I've played Demon was because I talked +Matthew Karafa into running a playtest), but if I did play, I'd hands-down want to play a Makara. Saying that the ocean is "evocative" is hardly an earthshattering statement, but the ocean is also fucking terrifying. It's endless and ancient and if there were anywhere on Earth that monsters would live, it'd be there.

As for a theme song, I've actually got one. It's one I've wanted to use for a long time.

The song is pretty aggressive, but if you listen to it, it's about protecting someone who would hurt themself otherwise. It's framed as someone have a seizure, but it gets weirder and kind of meta from there.

Anyway, starting at Step One: Character Concept. I know I want a Makara, but that's actually a later step. I just watched He Never Died, which is fucking fantastic Beast inspiration. I don't need someone quite as cut off as Jack (hard to play in a group, though lord knows we've seen people try), but I do want to play someone kind of socially awkward. I don't mean "socially awkward as an excuse for being creepy," I mean "largely introverted and uncomfortable around people." The monster in the undersea cave, happy to sleep and, like, occasionally reach up and grab boats.

But what does that means for him as a person? I think (drawing inspiration a little from Dexter, since I just rewatched the first season and it's not a terrible inspiration for Beast, either), I want Stan (for 'tis his name) to have a technical job. Police, though? I don't think so. County board of health? Yeah, actually.

Stan is in his mid-30s, thin, tanned, spiky black hair that never quite calms down. He shaved his head once and it got him too much attention. He likes to be in the background and avoids contact with this co-workers, but it's not that he doesn't like them, it's just that he's really an aquatic nightmare from beyond time, and he's afraid they won't have anything to talk about.

I should think about Devouring, too, even though it'll technically come up later. I think Stan was always shy and introverted. He likes swimming at night, even though he knows it's dangerous (this chronicle would really only work near an ocean). One night, he was floating along, and felt something brush beneath him. He thought it was a shark, but then another man surfaced. They got to talking, and then kissing and petting, and Stan, plucking up every bit of courage he had, asked the other man (Jaime) back to his place.

That night, Jaime's Horror Devoured Stan. Stan dreamt of the ocean, and feeling the monster below, but instead of Jaime surfacing, it was an immense sea-serpent, something with the smooth skin of a cephalopod and the body of a snake. It coiled around him, and took him down. He thrashed and the sea-serpent swelled and burst into a million tinier creatures, and they swarmed on him, eating him down to the bone.

He awoke to find Jaime curled around him. They had much to discuss. Turns out Jaime is a Predator (not sure about Stan's Hunger yet), and he can't always control it. Sometimes he feeds on tourists and swimmers. This horrifies Stan; Stan likes people, he's just not especially good with them. He loves Jaime, but he doesn't want anyone getting killed. He takes it upon himself to help talk, or pull, Jaime down when he gets too desperate.

I'm meant to do Aspirations at this point, so sure. Let's say Stan's two short-term Aspirations are "get his own lab space" (he's pressed for space, but the more important lab, downtown, has a bigger facility where everyone has their own office) and "come out to his parents" (they know he doesn't date much, and he's pretty sure they wouldn't care, but he's never had the conversation). His long-term Aspiration I think is pretty obvious; "find a way to help Jaime control himself."

Step Two is, of course, Attributes. Clearly Social is tertiary, and I think Stan is a cerebral enough guy that Physical shouldn't be primary. There ya go. I'll put two each into Intelligence and Wits, and leave Resolve at 2. I'll put two into Stamina (swimmers, man) and one into Strength and Dexterity, and for Social, fuck it, I'll put it all into Composure. You can't rattle Stan, but he's not very imposing, either.

Step Three: Skills! Mental is probably going to wind up primary here. Well, actually, I know Social is tertiary, again, so I'll just go ahead and take one each in Animal Ken, Empath, Intimidation, and Subterfuge.

Yeah, gotta got Physical secondary. So: Three into Athletics, two into Brawl, two into Stealth makes seven.

Finally, Mental. Three into Academics, two into Medicine, three into Science, and one each into Crafts (I picture him enjoying pottery, for some reason), Computer, and Investigation. And then I get a free dot in Occult, 'cause I'm a fuckin' Beast.

Step Four: Specialties! Well, first off, I want "Diseases" in Medicine and "Pottery" in Crafts. Decisions, decisions. Do I take "Sea Life" in Animal Ken, or "Swimming" in Athletics? Nah. I think I shall take "Attentive" in Empathy. What can I say, he's a good listener.

Step Five: Beast Template! Well, I already know Family (Makara). Let's think about Hunger. How would Stan feed the Horror? Certainly not Power or Prey, and I don't see him as a Ravager. That leaves Hoard or Punishment. I think Hoard; he's not keyed in to people enough for Punishment. What does he Hoard, though? I like the idea of him stealing medical records, but let's broaden it to identity. Stan takes driver's licenses, passports, birth certificates, medical records, and so forth. If he really feels like feeding the serpent(s), he'll make it impossible for someone to prove they are who they say they are, and watch them struggle with that for a while.

Legend and Life is next. For Life, I'll take Introverted. It's kind of Stan's defining feature. For Legend, I'll take Unexpected. It's an example one, but I like it; the idea of Stan just kind of appearing - or busting out an Atavism suddenly - is a fun one.

Speaking of Atavisms, I get two, one of which needs to be from my Family. I know what I want here, though. I'll take Heart of the Ocean (I can swim like Aquaman!) and Infestation (and...burst into a thousand little snake-worm things!).

Nightmares, then. All Your Teeth Are Falling Out is perfect for Stan. You Are Alone is, too, though his dice pool won't be great unless his Satiety's high. Well, that's what Willpower is for.

Step Six: Merits. I get 10 dots to throw around, and I can sacrifice five for a dot of Lair if I so choose. Which I don't, I don't think.

Well, I know I want a dot of Resources; Stan's job pays well. I know I want a dot of Mentor for Jaime; he's a Makara as well and he's been doing this longer. I think I need Contacts or Status or something to reflect his job. He's a lab tech, so probably not Status. How about Professional Training? I could do that. Let's take two dots. My Asset Skills are Science and Medicine. That means I get 9-again on those Skills, which considering I'd probably be using them for extended actions isn't bad at all. I also get two free dots of Contacts, so I'll take Medical (duh) and Police.

That's four dots of Merits; I have six more. Hmm. I kind of like Sympathetic; it gives Stan a weird edge in social interactions if he's willing to set himself back a little. I'll also take Patient. That leaves me three more. Hmm. I'll take the three-dot version of Trained Observer.

Step Seven: Mostly this is just derived traits, but I gotta do the Satiety questions, too. Hmm.

Who are your kin? I don't see Stan as having a lot of non-Beast contact yet, just because he's so introverted. Satiety 2.

Does your belly fill easily? Since it's fairly easy for Stan to feed his Hunger (steal a wallet and he's there), I'll say yes. Satiety 3.

Are you a social predator? I'm gonna say no. The only other Beast Stan hangs with is Jaime, and they don't hunt together. Satiety 3.

How frequently do you show your true self? Not often. Stan prefers to fly under the radar. Satiety 4.

How drawn to your Lair are you? My Lair is only 1 dot, so I'm at Satiety 5. That means I started Sated. Yawn. Give me some reasons to bring out the squirmies, O Storyteller!

And that's actually it.