The latest Chronicles of Darkness core rulebook to come from the Ontx Path Publishing studio, and the first to be released after the name change to Chronicles of Darkness from World of Darkness, Beast: the Primordial is about monsters, and their purpose in a hideously overcrowded world.
Using the new game mechanics introduced in The God-Machine Chronicle and later released as The World of Darkness, Second Edition and later still as The Chronicles of Darkness, Beast: the Primordial is literally about monsters in human form, and the lessons they have to teach humanity.
- The core back story is that Lilith, the Mother of Monsters, birthed all of the big horrifying creatures - the giants, gorgons, gryphons, Krakens and shadowy beast which lurk in the dark - and that these creatures dwell in a distant part of the Astral called The Primordial Dream. Some people have nightmares of these creatures all their lives, until one day they are given a choice: give in, assume your first best destiny, or eat a blue pill.
Those who accept are Devoured by their monsters, called Horrors. When they wake up, they are human no more, but rather Beasts. Their whole existence is about causing nightmares, teaching lessons and feeding off fear and pain.
- Every Beast has a Lair, in which their Horror, their monstrous soul, dwells.
- Beasts are always hungry. They can only be fed through preying on people, or punishing wrongdoers and so on. They can walk in people's nightmares and growing their Legend, so that their power can grow through telling and retelling of their stories like Grendel and the Kraken.
- The enemies of the Beasts are Heroes; deluded individuals who rejected the call to become Beasts but who, instead, chose to become hunters and killers of Beasts.
- This game is designed for crossover play with any and all of the other ChoD likes, from the blue book to Vampire: the Requiem all the way up to Demon: the Descent. However, it can be used on its own.
I did not know what to think when the name of this game first appeared. I did wonder whether Onyx Path had run out of steam or something. However, the game surprised me and greatly exceeded my expectations. So far, I have only scratched the surface; but already, several story ideas have formed, and as a Storyteller this is usually a very good sign, promising much for the game.
I look forward to running Beast: the Primordial, the second new game to emerge which does not have an Old World of Darkness counterpart (the first being Promethean: the Created of course) and seeing how the players like playing these brand new types of monsters.
[5 of 5 Stars!]