Gear in Beyonder: Buying Supplies

What’s in your Travel Sack? Getting New Stuff!

Let’s continue our exploration of Beyonder gear by looking at how to purchase some standard supplies. This is done using the Wealth system.  Once you understand this system, buying basic gear is easy. When creating the Beyonder system, we aimed to avoid monotonous tracking of every coin and gem you amass. Instead, we use a more qualitative system of Wealth.  

Each character has a Wealth Rating (WR) that represents how much money and resources they have access to at any time.  For example, a WR of 2 might represent an average farmer living in a hut with a couple of animals and a small plot of land to farm.  A WR of 7 might be a wealthy merchant in a large city (like Naldrin or Tarnath) living in a nice, big house, with access to a number of luxuries.  This system continues all the way up through kings (WR 13), large city governments (WR 15), or even entire kingdoms (WR 17). See page 110 of our rulebook, Beyonder: The Science of the Six for more examples of Wealth Ratings.  Each entry includes a sample occupation of an individual or group with their given rating, where they might live, and what might constitute a indulgent purchase for them.  

So how do you change your Wealth Rating?  The same way you might change your wealth in the real world: you get a job that provides you with regular funds – working for a rich merchant, for example.  Generally your WR is a few steps below your employer. You could also get a big, one-time chunk of change, maybe as a reward for some heroic act or a big haul from a devious heist.  In this case you could either blow it all on something nice or spread it out to increase your overall value. In a similar manner, your WR could decrease if you fall into poor favor with your patron or lose a large sum of money on a bad bet.  Generally speaking, Guild members start with a stipend from the organization, which grants them a WR of 3. (See The Science of the Six, p. 109  for more on how to change your Wealth Rating.)

Now that you understand Wealth Rating, buying mundane items is simple.  Check out The Science of the Six for some examples of basic gear as well as specialized tool kits, potions, and poisons (p. 147). . You can buy any one item with a value equal to your WR in one sitting without breaking the bank, or two items with a value 1 less than your WR, 4 items with a value 2 less than your WR, 8 items with a value 3 less than your WR, etc.  You can buy above your pay grade, but that will bring your WR down, showing that you may be digging too deeply into your coffers.

Generally this system is designed to be flexible and approximate.  The steps between consecutive Wealth Ratings are big enough that a difference of 2 WR implies a totally different pay grade, and it should be pretty clear, within +/- 1 WR where something falls.  Be creative! Make your own gear based on our guidelines and let us know what you come up with.

So now we have discussed Gear and Supplies; Weapons; and Armor (Part 1) and Armor (Part 2).  We will finish up this series by talking about everyone’s favorite topic: Energetic Items.

Combat, Detection, Strategy: The Aegis of the Six

The Aegis of the Six (or the Aegis, for short) is an internal security force maintained collectively by all six Guilds. Because the Guilds are neither a political nor a military organization, they do not have any sort of standing army.  However, in addition to normal burglary, Guild houses can sometimes be the targets of attack by Sorcerers, rogue Channels, or anti-Channel groups, with the goal being anything from spying, to theft of the valuable items they may contain, to pure violence.

The Aegis was created to protect against such dangers. Spread across the Continent of Tamarra are about 150 Channels and 2,500 Guild Wards (non-Channels who work for the Aegis*). They are trained in the arts of both combat and detection, with the sole purpose of defending the Guild houses against everything from covert infiltration to overt assault.

Command Structure

The Aegis of the Six has adopted a quasi-military hierarchy, with a General in charge of the group as a whole and a Lieutenant overseeing each of the four regions of Tamarra. Interestingly, the Guild Charter stipulates that these positions must be held by Wards, not Channels.. As strategists, they must be well-versed in the use of every conceivable type of Power, weapon, and mundane tactic.  Due to the Guilds’ impressive wealth and the small size of the Aegis, they have been able to attract talent on the same level as any of the major militaries on the continent. There are even rumors that the Mentarch’s Guild has given them enhanced mental prowess for this purpose, perhaps making them some of the greatest military minds on the continent. Or so the rumors go.

The General is a crawn named Vizzex Rizisz. The Lieutenants are as follows:

Southern Region: a dwaheely named Teesu; Northern Region: a crawn named Daz Trakh; Central Region: an ushen named Kholein;Naldrin Region: a dwarf named Tork, of the Steelsmith Clan.

The Enforcers

There is one small group within the Aegis that could best be called “special operations.” This group is known as the Enforcers, and they have three main objectives: to put down rogue Channels who pose a threat too difficult to be dealt with by local governments; to infiltrate and destroy violently anti-Guild organizations; and to hunt down and destroy sorcerers.

The Enforcers are made up of 36 Channels — 6 from each Guild — all of whom must have overcome at least the 12th barrier in their primary Energy, the 6th barrier in that Energy’s opposing Energy, and the 3rd barrier in the other four Energies. These Channels are specialized in combat, all have at least some proficiency with weapons and armor, and many are highly talented warriors even without using their Powers. These Channels are joined by 150 Guild Wards, some of the most highly trained (and, it is strongly rumored, Energetically enhanced) warriors on Tamarra. They are specifically trained in fighting Energy users and resisting Energetic effects.

The Enforcers are led by a Commander who answers only to the General of the Aegis. While the Commander takes broad orders from the General, they are generally given great autonomy to deal with situations as they see fit. The current Commander of the Enforcers is a human known as Ordon of the Whirling Blades.

Sometimes the Enforcers are utilized in other ways. Large political entities or organizations will sometimes hire them to deal with other problems  — helping to defend a city from an army of rampaging julkas, for instance. The Guilds do this only rarely, and only when they feel they are safe from repercussions, as they try to stay out of politics. Their most extensive involvement in non-Energetic affairs was in The Stillness War, when all the nations of the continent recognized them for their heroic contributions to defeating the Undead scourge.


*The ethics of the Guild practice of taking in children for this role has been the cause of much debate.

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…