Behind the Scenes: MYCA Character Generation

There are several methods for generating characters in Beyonder, each with its own advantages and trade-offs (see Character Generation for details).  The best choice for you comes down to a balance between how quickly you want to get it done vs. how much control you want to have over the details.  

Our most popular choice, especially for new players, is the Make Your Character with an Adventure method (MYCA).  MYCA is a choose-your-own-adventure style story that leads you through a day in the life of your character. You make decisions for them at each juncture, and those choices determine what sort of character you will end up with.  This allows you to build your character based not on numbers and stats, but rather on the sort of story you want to tell through your character. The details are worked out for you as you go.

I am going to walk you through a behind-the-scenes tour of how making story choices results in a character. But wait!  If you haven’t tried MYCA yet and don’t want me to spoil your first time by revealing the trick behind the magic, why don’t you pause here. Make yourself a character using the MYCA in your copy of Science of the Six (hard copy or PDF), or log in to our Beyonder Builder, where the whole process is automated for you.  When you are done you can come back and continue where you left off.

…..Character Creation music….

Congratulations!  Using MYCA, you just covered over 90,000 options by answering eight questions and filling out a few final details.  You are now about to embark on one of three missions to get your feet wet for the first time as an official member of the Guilds.

So who are you?  You are a member of one of the Ten Races, born in a specified neighborhood in one of three regions of the continent of Tamarra.  You’re a recent graduate of one of the six Guilds, and therefore a Channel able to wield one of the Six Energies and specializing in one of three Schools within that Guild.  In addition, you are an initiate in one of eight continent-wide Organizations.

 

Axterfal

Now back to that behind-the scenes tour:  This is how you create a character using MYCA. First, your character is going to wake up and you can go about your business.  You will have to decide how to deal with your (literal) run-in with a young boy from town. You will haggle for supplies, and if you’re lucky you might run into an axterfal on the way.  These choices determine what race your character will be. Are you a practical, no-nonsense crawn? Maybe a raucous and playful wellyn? Or perhaps a serious and thoughtful dwaheely? Along with your race this will determine your Size and Move Score, give you some bonuses to Talents and Affinities, and add a few special Racial Abilities.

With your preparations taken care of, you head off to start your mission by finding Shalta, your guild contact.  You run into Shalta and his two sons just in time to help them deal with some shassels that are about to attack. The next two questions about how you deal with the shassels determine several things, including your Guild and the School within that Guild to which you belong, as well as your Affinities, your starting Powers, and your first Barrier Ability.  At this point, we give you a suggestion of how to proceed based on which race you ended up being. This is because some races have a natural predisposition toward wielding certain Energies. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make other choices, it would just be a less common choice for a member of your race to make.

Once that’s all done, Shalta asks you to go back to town and alert the authorities, but he leaves it to you to determine which authorities you should alert.  There are four options, each of which has a follow-up question that will determine which of the eight Organizations you will join as well as your Defense Ratings (DRs), and will give you a few Talent Ranks.  They essentially come in four flavors – combat, stealth, negotiation, and Energetics. The Organizations have no game-mechanical effect, but they are really interesting and well-developed in-game features. The organizations are: Diplomatic Union; Guild Energetic Research Collective (GERC); Mercenary Guild; Open Hand; Six as One; The Negotiators; Wind and Silence; and the Unnamed Organization.  

Shassels

Finally, you are asked to choose your first assignment.  This choice determines your starting equipment and also gives you a few more Talent Ranks.  The first choice, mapping Geo-Anatomy, is a middle-of-the-road option. You will get a basic weapon and armor, some utility equipment, and some Ranks in Scholarship, Concentration, and Survival.  The second choice, investigating the Shassels, is the fighter’s choice. You will get a good weapon and armor and some basic camping gear as well as Ranks in Perception, Leadership, and either Melee or Ranged Combat.  The third and final choice, investigating corruption in town, is good for a social or subtle character. You will get a weak weapon and no armor but a variety of utility items including lockpicks, smoke bombs, paralysis poison, and a disguise kit.

That almost wraps it up.  You choose your character’s name, gender, age, and homeland.  When choosing your homeland, you’ll see that each of the three starting areas (Tarnath, Naldrin, and Jowea) have several subregions.  Each of these will give you the option of choosing one final Talent Rank to round off your character creation. And that’s all there is to it!  

I hope this sheds some light on what the choices you make throughout MYCA actually do. The MYCA method is fast and fun –  great for beginners who know what they want but don’t know how to make it, as well as advanced players who don’t want to get caught up in the min/maxing game. However, if you want to dive into the deep end of the character stats pool, we have some great options for that too.

 

Coming soon to a blog near you: in-depth explorations of the Quick Choice and Custom-make Your Character (CYC) methods, as well as a preview of our newest online system, which we are calling the Master Builder.

Death in the Quiets

Thank you. Yes, the blanket helps. No, I… just give me a moment. I’m just… I’m still kind of reeling. We would have been dead — or worse — if you hadn’t shown up. I promise I will never again insult the Guilds.

Right, well, I suppose what happened would be important. I suppose you’re planning on going in there or some such. Enforcers… I’d heard of you, but I never fully realized just how strong you are.

Yes, hurry, I understand. Time is of the essence. So here’s how it went.

Our caravan was cresting that hill over there. There were four of us then, plus the merchant. Me, my friend Alric, and… and the two you had to kill.

It was a warm day, but out of nowhere this chill suddenly hit us. And not a natural one, either. It was this cold feeling down in your bones, colder than ice, colder than cold. The pigs started squealing and all of us stopped in our tracks. Why would we continue on that route? No good could come of it. But the merchant was a greedy one, and he wanted to take the shortest route or some of his cargo might spoil. And we needed to get paid, so… on we went.

The cold feeling persisted. As we pushed onwards, it became quiet. Huh. Never thought about that before. I suppose that’s how they got their name? Quiets.

Right. Sorry. Anyway, there were no animals in that cold area, and while it was getting slightly colder, we had no real warning. Alric and I were behind the caravan, and Korchal and Guelswue were in front. And the two of them, they just suddenly dropped to the ground. The pigs started squealing like crazy, and they bolted out off the road and back in the direction we’d come. The merchant got dragged off with them. I have no idea what happened to him. Nor do I really care. You found him? Well, I did like those pigs, so I suppose that’s for the best.

But Alric and I were standing there, our two comrades in arms suddenly lying dead on the ground. We had no idea what to think. Until they began to stir, of course. First their fingers started twitching, then their arms and legs, and finally their eyes opened and they picked themselves up off the ground. They had these terrible vacant expressions in their eyes, and suddenly the cold was coming from them, too, only worse. There was this horrible sensation in my chest, like my heart was being torn out of me, and when the pain cleared they were stumbling towards us. Shufflers. We’d heard of them. And that meant that we’d just walked right into a Quiet.

We didn’t know what to do. Everyone knows you can’t kill Undead. They were coming towards us, and we knew we were going to die, maybe even become shufflers like them… and then suddenly, this bolt of brilliant purple fire came from the heavens! And then another! And like that, the two were nothing more than burning corpses. And I saw you.

Well you know that part. You’re the one who did it. Not you? The Dwaheely over there is the… “Evoker?” You’re a… what’s a Charismatic? Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter — you seem like a good guy to me!

Hey, I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong, but… what were you doing here? You sure as hell weren’t here to save us.

There’s ambient… ambient Stillness here? Instead of ambient Spirit, like most places? Look, I have a spear and I stab things with it. That’s what I do. I have no idea what anything you just said meant.

Ha! There I agree with you. All I need to know is to stay away from Quiets. And if me and Alric might be able to get a ride home from you? Or, really, to any city? Or any place that is far from Quiets? I swear on my life that I will stay away from them forever.

Really? Thanks! Wow, it’s been great meeting you — it’s such an honor! All of you are just so impressive! Do you think maybe I could get your autograph? Just make it out to Hanna Rentham…

Mnemonic Recording, Tasz 10, SP~5,018. Interview with Hanna Rentham, survivor of chance encounter with Quiet #0093.

Bound by Stillness: The Undead, Letter Two

Sula 48, SP~5,015

Magistrate Weshem:

Davvik Katten of the Fireforge Clan

It is good to hear from you again. I am always happy to answer further questions you may have. As I said, my thought process concerning the undead is colored by my own personal experiences, so this may account for the somewhat disjointed organization of this letter.

In my last letter, I wrote about how Stillness makes Undead incredibly difficult to damage, affect with powers, etc. I know this seems bad enough, but it is not actually the worst aspect of the Undead.

As you know, Spirit binds together not just the creatures who inhabit Ethem, but Ethem itself. Spirit pervades the world. To use a very simple analogy, Spirit’s adaptiveness makes the world “soft,” while stillness’ inertia makes it “hard.” The result is that wherever Stillness-bound creatures go, Stillness pushes on Spirit, and Spirit yields. This creates a sort of aura of Stillness around the Undead. When a living creature enters this area, their Spirit is itself “pushed,” and its hold on the other Energies that comprise that creature is weakened. The practical effect is that a part of the creature’s life force — and their power — is drained. And to make things worse (because things can always get worse with the Undead), the power of this aura grows as more and more Undead are massed in a single area.

You specifically asked why they’re referred to as “Undead” when they are, in a scientific sense, just as living as you or I? Well, since Stillness does not usually occur naturally, it is extremely rare for creatures to be born bound by it. Most Undead creatures are the result of Spirit-bound creatures dying in an area pervaded by Stillness — either an Undead’s aura, or a Quiet. Their Spirit Energy quickly dissipates, but sometimes their Energies are re-bound by Stillness. Thus, the vast majority of Undead have actually died as Spirit-bound creatures and come back as Stillness-bound ones, giving rise to the vernacular term.

This process of resurrection is, understandably, quite a system shock, and most creatures do not survive mentally intact, becoming mindless, animalistic “shells” or “shufflers,” who roam semi-randomly, attacking anything they see. This includes other Undead, although they sometimes seem to form a sort of “pack” of shells. We haven’t quite figured out why, though we suspect it has something to do with the degree to which their Spirit was corrupted by Shadow. The more they are corrupted by Shadow, the more they are drawn to similarly-corrupted creatures. This can make for… odd sights. I once saw a pack of two humans, an ushen, four kamari, a wolf, six deer, and a large number of squirrels. The latter actually made me laugh, right up until they got close enough to me to start draining my life force with their aura of Stillness. I know it will sound funny to anyone who wasn’t there, but I will never look at squirrels the same way again.

The worst are the revenants — Undead who have made it through the process intact, and retain their sentience. Revenants are able to control shells simply through force of will. A disproportionate number of revenants are Channels, unfortunately, and they retain all of their ability to channel the Energies. Which proved a serious problem in the war.

I hope that answers your questions. If you would like a more scientific response to your query, I encourage you to write to my colleague Emil Hill. She is one of our leading theoretical researchers specializing in Stillness. I hope, though, that this letter will round out your understanding of the true nature of the Undead beyond just what GERC publications will tell.

 

In Faith,

Davvik Katten of the Fireforge Clan

Senior Fellow

GERC Shadow-Inflected Energies Department, Stillness Division

Review by Rob Kalajian

We are thrilled to share a Beyonder review by Rob Kalajian from A Pawn’s Perspective, whom we had the pleasure of meeting at Pax Unplugged 2017.

Beyonder has impressed me more than I can possibly state in words. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the setting and become completely absorbed in the game’s world. It’s an RPG that certainly belongs on any gamer, or fiction lover’s, shelves.”  Read the full review…

Bound by Stillness: a Letter Concerning the Undead

Sula 35, SP~5,015

Davvik Katten of the Fireforge Clan

Magistrate Weshem:

Thank you for writing to me. I am happy to answer your question as to the nature of the Undead.  As a member of the GERC Shadow-Inflected Energies Department, I have studied this matter in depth. I seriously hope you will never have one come before you in your court, but I can see why you would want to be prepared. Your city’s legal system is certainly… thorough. And yes, I do understand how access to the subject matter might not be easy to come by, even given Naldrin City’s prodigious libraries. After all, the bulk of our knowledge on the subject is quite recent, and resides here in our archives.

Before the Stillness Wars, I thought of Undead (I know I should refer to them with the technical term Stills, but after meeting them face-to-face, it no longer seems appropriate) the same way that every other member of the GERC does: interesting, admittedly dangerous, but ultimately unproblematic creatures. Of course there were reports of shells (or shufflers, if you prefer) cropping up here and there. Every once in a while, we’d even hear about revenants causing all sorts of problems. But militias were sent out, mercenaries were hired, or (in some extreme cases) the Enforcers were dispatched, and the problem was soon put right. But for all that we knew, and all that we thought we knew about the Undead, we were totally unprepared for what would happen when we met them en masse.

But you didn’t take the trouble to write to me to ask about the Stillness Wars – you wanted to know about the Undead. I’ll be happy to tell you about them, although I warn you that my theoretical perspective has been forever biased by my personal encounters. However, I’ve spent enough ink on preamble. Let’s get to the meat of the issue.

We are held together, as you no doubt know, by Spirit. Spirit is the binding force that glues the rest of our Energies together. Without it, we would just be five “clouds” of pure Body, Emotion, and so on. Spirit is adaptive — it can learn, change, and grow. What makes the Undead different from us is that they are held together by Stillness energy. Stillness, like Spirit, binds other Energies together. But where Spirit is movement and change, Stillness is inertia and stability.

This has good effects and bad. For instance, we know (now in theory and in practice) that the Undead, being bound by Stillness, cannot learn as quickly as we can. It will take them approximately twice as long to master any new skill, or to learn any new information. This great weakness is ultimately what we exploited to win the Stillness Wars. However, the unchanging nature of Stillness also gives Undead a great advantage — they are incredibly difficult to damage or kill. Because Stillness will continue to bind in the face of dramatic changes to the state of its attached Energies, blows that would kill a Spirit-bound creature will only cause moderate damage. Powers that might have an overwhelming effect on a living entity will only marginally affect the Undead. They can endure great extremes of cold and heat, go for long periods of time without food or water, and have tremendous stamina. It is known in theory (and hopefully never in practice) that this same effect means Undead creatures will live for an unnaturally long time before succumbing to old age.

I hope you find this information helpful. You are, of course, welcome to write again if you require any further assistance.

 

In Faith,

Davvik Katten of the Fireforge Clan

Senior Fellow

GERC Shadow-Inflected Energies Department, Stillness Division

Current Events: The Stillness Wars

New Aftershocks from the Stillness Wars

By Toodla Oblodt, Naldrin City News
Naldrin City, Kalkix 37, SP~5,017

The Stillness Wars between the Quay Empire and their allies1 against the Undead ended in SP~4,998, almost two decades ago. However, the aftershocks reverberate throughout the continent to this day. Recent information reveals three ghastly events (details below) that warrant the attention of the citizens of this city and all good people throughout Tamarra.

The Stillness Wars began in SP~4,981, when Qua Am Man2, the Emperor of Quay, battled a cohort of undead near his capital city of Qua Enna on the western coast of Tamarra. At that time the Quay Empire reached all the way from the western to the eastern shores of the continent, dividing our Continent quite neatly into two more or less equal halves. The Quay Empire was quite powerful at the time and controlled the bulk of trade between the northern kingdoms and those in the south.

By the end of the war the undead were defeated, and were confined to areas called the “Quiets.” However, the war extracted an enormous toll on the Quay Empire in terms of lives lost, and on cities and towns permanently saturated with the stillness energy of the Undead. The damage to the Quay Empire was so severe that it could no longer sustain itself as an empire, or even as a single political entity. Within a few years the once mighty Empire collapsed into a set of small cities and territories, many of which claimed the title of Quay Empire. These territories were scattered among a vast patchwork of “Quiets” that covered (and still cover) the middle of the Tamarran Continent. Each Quiet is bathed in stillness energy and serves as home to a large population of undead. It is not uncommon for undead from these Quiets to roam outside of their territories, making the lands around them quite perilous to travelers.

In light of this, the citizens of Tamarra would do well to pay heed to recent disturbing events:

The Naldrin City News has confirmed that last week a party of Elaynor (the elite group of kamari fighters) was ambushed along the Quay Road as they were traveling from their home in the Nethuel Enclave to the Region of Jowea. Several reports say that the entire group was brutally slain. Clearly, it would take a considerable fighting team to defeat these Elaynor. The kamari leadership of Nethuel has not yet responded to a request for comment.
In addition, it is now clear that the city of Martown, less than 60 miles north of the Region of Jowea, is under attack from an undead force. Estimates as to the size of this force vary, but there are somewhere between two and three hundred undead “shufflers” led by a sentient undead. Martown is, of course, very close to the prosperous and populous Region of Jowea, so this incident is a serious threat to the Jowean population.
Finally, some of the royalty of the former Quay Empire seem to be making a political move. There are strong rumors that Quee Esdel, the ruler of the city of Qua Ennel, has negotiated a large contract with the Mercenary’s Guild. This may forecast the beginnings of a new war in the region. Quee Esdel has petitioned the Council of Drawnwyn to recognize her as the legitimate ruler of the Quay Empire, and therefore the owner of all the lands once held by that kingdom. This is, as readers will agree, an outrageous claim. Each of the scattered cities and territories that remain of the fallen Quay Empire claim to be the one and true heir of the Quay Empire. A delicate peace exists, at least for now, and if the Council of Drawnwyn were to recognize any one of them as the true Quay Empire, it would undoubtedly throw the region into chaos, and perhaps war. Even so, Quee may have a deal with the Undead of this area for an allegiance against her enemies, which could provide her with sufficient power to make her aspirations a reality.

The NCN will stay on top of these stories so that you, the citizens of Naldrin City, will remain, as always, the best informed population on the Tamarran Continent.


1. There were over two dozen other nations and kingdoms that allied with the Quay Empire during this struggle.  The most prominent were the Kingdom of the Szaskar Crawn, the Karrin Crawn Lands (more of a confederation of smaller crawn kingdoms, and the Twelve Wellyn Clans of the Kana Forest.

2. The race known as the Qua Enna were exterminated in SP~4,795 near the end of the Second Nulentian Invasion; however, it was customary for subsequent leaders to assume a traditional Qua Enna name as their ruling name.