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Beast Player's Guide $14.99
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Beast Player\'s Guide
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Beast Player's Guide
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Maxime L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2018 05:03:38

This is a fantastic book which expands on every aspect in the core game, and makes Beast a much better-rounded game. Absolutely recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beast Player's Guide
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Yurodivy K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2018 18:43:27

I’m on the boat of people who actually liked Beast, either in part or because I had checked out during the controversy surrounding it and only got to reading it well after the official print copy had been released. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Player’s Guide ever since I heard of its development early last year back when I started getting back into tabletop gaming.

It was promised this would open up in the game in entirely new ways. New Families, New Hungers, something called the Cults of the Dark Mother...and it delivered and then some. This book is only 166 pages but it feels so much longer. It is densely packed and there’s very little wasted space (which was one of my complaints with the Beast core.)

Aside from the obvious fancy new powers (there are Merits, Kinship Merits, Atavisms, Nightmares, and different sets of Birthrights) there’s a good number of new mechanics and subsystems introduced to flesh out the game and show the society and mentality of the Begotten better. Communion and Guidance are perhaps the unsung heroes here, being respectively states of closeness to the Dark Mother, giving the Begotten a deeply spiritual bent which I think enhances their culture quite a bit and makes them feel more distinct. Communion is your primary way of getting the newest addition for Beasts, the Obcasus Rites (which function similarly to Ceremonies or werewolf Rites,) while Guidance gives Beasts a way to refresh Willpower when they’ve run out, and is a prerequisite for gaining the Merit that lets you learn Obcasus Rites. The latter is a particularly interesting patch given Beasts tend to need Willpower pretty badly given it’s a secondary way to fuel Atavisms if they’re in an area afflicted with their own Lair Tilt-- but unlike vampires and werewolves, they have no Touchstones as an alternate way to fill up on Willpower.

While most splats get some sort of magic item subsystem to play around with, like Tokens, Talens, Gadgets, and so on and so forth, Beasts get something entirely different and in my opinion way more fun in its place. They can make smaller, more subservient versions of their Horror, called Horrorspawn, to do their bidding. These Horrorspawn can act as a general utility and make feeding rolls a bit easier, at the cost of taking some of your Satiety gain for themselves. Don’t worry, they can make good use of it-- they heal as Beasts and you have the option of giving them one or more of your own Atavisms to use, among another Dread Powers.

The new Families are the Inguma and Talassii, representing, respectively, fears of the other and fears of confinement, while the new Hungers are for Secrets and Transgression. These Hungers give players who might be a little uneasy about the more explicitly violent Hungers of predation and the like a way to play more heroic or comparatively benevolent Beasts (not that it was impossible to before, but both of these in my opinion give frequently thought-of ways to do so.) All of the above subsplat options provide some compelling options for players and are nearly worth the price of entry alone.

Along with the Cult subsystem (which must be bought into with a Merit, albeit one that most Beasts could easily access with its prerequisites of Occult or Politics 2-- you get a free dot of Occult, after all) a new mini-splat is introduced with the Herald. A Herald is a human who leads a Primordial Cult and has been empowered by its Beast leader with a rite giving them access to Advanced and Epic Merits, a Legend and Life rather than Vice and Virtue, and immunity to some of the Beast’s Lair Traits. Furthermore, the Herald will become a Beast should their Cult leader ever undergo Inheritance. Beware, however-- if your Herald undergoes a Breaking Point and gets a dramatic failure, they may become a Hero. Aside from that, Cults may help a Beast with their feeding rolls, help them to build a Legend so they may pave their way to Incarnation, or just be a simple support network for them.

Inheritance as an endgame stage in general has been greatly expanded upon, and new systems have been put into place to make it more practical by giving specific ways to build a Legend and lower the necessary Lair threshold to carry out the Incarnate form of Inheritance. In addition, new forms of Inheritance are introduced. These are the Divergence, the Erasure, and the Inversion. All three are rather messy and morbid, requiring an active decision to pursue on the Beast’s part, and players may find them unpleasant “bad end” scenarios. Of course, this means they’re absolutely perfect for Beast antagonists.

The Primordial Dream is fleshed out in much greater detail, giving rules for finding unclaimed Chambers while within the Dream, how to travel between Lairs that your own Lair is not connected to, what the Hive could look like, and perhaps most intriguing of all, what lies beyond the Mists that surround the Hive. The Day, the Cave, the Bright Dream, and the Mother’s Land are all given rules for finding and exploring (sharp-eyed fans of other games would recognize the Bright Dream as the Temenos and the Mother’s Land as the Anima Mundi.) The one disappointment is few story seeds are offered for the Mother’s Land, but that’s the sort of thing one would expect within a Storyteller’s Guide instead. I do hope we might get one someday even if I feel like Onyx Path will be primarily focusing on their other gamelines for a while.

This isn’t just a book for players. If anything, my biggest complaint is the book is too necessary and brings in things that should have been in the core in the first place, as I am adamantly of the opinion you should be able to run a full game from just the core-- other books are strictly optional. If you plan on running Beast I truly feel like this is a must-have. It’s reignited my passion for the game and the campaign I have been running.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beast Player's Guide
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Olivier d. N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/16/2018 15:16:31

Unlike many fans, I actually love Beast, but even I acknowledge it has flaws; among these were a lack of varied and actually powerful antagonists, and too little lore to stand of its own, giving little to do to your character besides feeding and fighting Heroes. Conquering Heroes eventually took care of the former, introducing actually compeling Heroes characters and bringing a new type of antagonists, the Insatiable, on the table. Now, this book has come to take care of the latter; and I got to say, it does a great job at it.

Whereas Conquering Heroes was about Heroes and antagonists in general, the Beast Player Guide is about Beasts, and fleshing them out in general. It gives us plenty on their perspective, showing how it feels to be a Beast, what problems they have to face, how they handle their condition. But it also gives them an actual culture, in particular regarding their relationship to the Dark Mother; one chapter gives us multiple factions all studying her in different ways, my favourite being the Anethaeum, a group of scholars and archeologists who created an gigantic Hive library where they collect everything they know about their progenitors; that sounds to me like an awesome setting, not to mention it offers a possible tie to Mage the Awakening. We also gets more informations about the Primordial Dream, finally making it accessible through mechanics, as well as where Horrors come from and how they are born. Two new Families and Hungers, the Inguma and the Talassii, also are introduced, both interesting in their own ways; I especially like the Inguma, who take inspirations from both Slenderman and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Mechanic-wise, this book brings tons of new materials on the table; we got several new Beast-exclusive merits (including ones specifically related to the Lair or Kinship), new Atavisms, new Birthrights (along with an optional rule to learn more of them), and even their own equivalent of the Werewolf rites. We also get the option to create Cults around Beasts, much like Mummies and Demons, as well as the ability to create "Horrorspawns", essentially your own baby monsters. While I would argue this might make Beasts somewhat overpowered, I appreciate the fact the widened the options.

Overall, a great addition which brings exactly what the corebook was missing. I'm really happy with this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beast Player's Guide
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Karl E. L. H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2018 08:03:15

This book is everything you could ever want out of a player's guide. It expands the understanding of Beast Psychology and it even reveals societies of Begotten, which to many fans of the Chronicles of Darkness or the World of Darkness is a known and beloved aspect of their games. I find them to be diverse and well written so that is something, and i like how the different societies can be grouped into larger categories. Cults of Incarnate Beasts, Societies devoted to the Dark Mother and more are to be found in this book.

It helps us with understanding the inhuman and primordial mindsets of the Begotten and how they react to various things, like being subjected to a Hero's Anathema. They help us with understanding the world view of each family and each hunger, from everything to other supernaturals to the pursuit of inheritance. 3 new Inheritances are added to the game, and i personally think that this ends the circle as each inheritance has now a contrasting one.

There is not only fluff however there are many new mechanical additions to the game. We have merits related to every notable aspect of the game; General Merits, Kinship Merits and Lair Merits. These merits introduce many new potential ideas to the game(like making a chamber in your lair into a small colony for humans and supernatural creatures). New lair traits are introduced to help further customizing your lair and several new avatisms and nightmares as well. And a nice helpful guide to create kinship nightmares.

However there are not just expansions to already existing mechanics that are introduced, there are entirely new mechanics introduced as well. Horrorspawn are perhaps the most extensive of the new mechanics introduced save one other. Horrorspawn are lesser children of the character's horror, but at the same time they are an extension of the character. They serve as the physical monsters that many have clamored for in beast. And afterall who wouldn't want to have a few children ;). The other major new mechanic that has been introduced are Obacus Rites, which i for one am a major fan of. They serve as a great storytelling tool and a way to make Beasts more religiously oriented. I could see a Brood of the Begotten and a Coven of Vampires join together over their shared faith in the dark mother and their shared magic of Obacus Rites and Cruac. My only complaint about the book comes here however, as i do think that there should have been added more rites to the book.

Lastly i have to talk about the two new families and hungers. We have the Inguma who are the Nightmares of the Other. They are the most human of the Begotten and they are the youngest as they came about at the dawn of civilization. They are the representation of the fear of Outsiders, the living result of Xenophobia. Honestly this makes them perhaps the most interesting family to me, as their horrors are usually Human in shape. They are the ones who do not fit in and see society from an outsider's perspective. The other family are the Talassi the fear of Confinement. They were cursed long ago to become Kidnappers and Jailers. They are the constrictor snakes, the horror which snatches your child out of bed or the warden kobold in the mountain. They are not bad, but i didn't connect much to them. As for the two new hungers: The Whispers and the Enablers. They are both nice new additions to the game and it helps clear up Collectors once and for all. Whispers are the hunger for secrets, they collect and expose the secrets of other people. The Enablers are the hunger for transgressions, they are the seductors and tempters of the Begotten Community. They feed on making other people go against their beliefs, cheating spouses, breaking a vow or a fast and so on are what they want.

Anyway so yeah this book is filled with great stuff both from a fluff and a mechanics perspective and it is a must buy for any potential Beast Player.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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