The essence of Essence

The last few blogs have described ways to create new characters in Beyonder.  After creating a character, maybe you joined up with a few others and went on an adventure:  fought some monsters, made some new friends, saved a lost child. Maybe you returned a treasure to a rich patron.  Whatever you did, you must have grown, and your Moderator probably awarded you Essence at the end of the adventure.  But what is Essence and how do you use it?

Inside the Beyonderverse, Essence is a sort of concentrated form of the Six Energies.  Essence builds up in everyone as they go about their lives: it’s generated by everything from normal daily activities to using Talents to channeling Powers.  Just as in our world, you become better and stronger by practicing something. Most people have little or no control over how their Essence is distributed; wherever it is applied, it stays.  If a player uses the Melee Combat Talent they get better at Melee Combat. A player who uses the Deception Talent gets better at that. But you are not most people.  You are one of the rare few who was born a Channel.  Your connection with the Energies gives you the ability to control how the Essence flows.  As a result, you can actively direct how you grow.

As a player, you use Essence to make a character more powerful in areas you choose.

You can gain new abilities, like learning a new Power or overcoming a Barrier in a new Energy.  You can also improve abilities you already have, including your Talents or Defense Ratings. On an average adventure your PC will earn 10 Essence to put toward Character Advancement, plus or minus a few depending on how challenging the adventure was for you and your allies.  You can allocate that Essence to a number of different areas, although you must spread it out some.

Generally you can spend no more than 4 Essence on any one aspect of your character at a time.  You must allocate all of your Essence before your next adventure.  Any unused Essence is lost.  This means that most of the time you can only partially upgrade something.  The character sheet has checkboxes to help you keep track of how much Essence has already been spent.  Once the right number of boxes are filled, you have completed this next step in building your character.

Chapter 5 of Science of the Six has a ton of options for what you can buy with your Essence. We have even created an online utility to help automate the process  – but that will have to wait for another blog.  Until then, start checking off some boxes and using all your Essence!

Behind the Scenes: “Off-The-Rack” and “Master Builder” Character Generation

And now for the exciting conclusion of our series on Chargen for Beyonder!  So far we have delved into the Make Your Character with an Adventure (MYCA) method and the Custom-make Your Character (CYC) and Quick Choices methods. We’re going to finish this series off with the two fastest, most hands-off methods available on our online system, including Master Builder, our most gritty, ultimate-control, mega-versatile method.  Let’s dive in!

First, we’ve got the Off-The-Rack method.  This has pregenerated characters, either made by one of the members of the FNB Games team or by one of you lovely folks out there exploring the Beyonderverse.  Pick any one and make a copy for yourself. Login to the Beyonder Builder page and choose the “Off the Rack” method under Create A New Character.  it will bring up a list of characters available to you, each with a name and a description.  If you click on it you can edit the name and description for your version. Then click “Create My New PC” and you’re done.  It’s that easy.

You also have the option of creating what is called a “Pre-Generated” character (“PreGen”).  A PreGen is a copy of an existing PC; it can be made from any one of your existing PCs. Once created, that PreGen PC will appear on the list of “Off the Rack” choices, along with any other PreGens. Here’s how you do it:  Open up one of your character sheets on your My Characters tab and you will see several icons across the top.  The one furthest to the right says “Make a PreGen Character from this PC,” and it does just that.  Now others can make a copy of that character for themselves. It doesn’t get much quicker or easier than that now, does it?

On the flip side, we are in the process of developing the most complete character creator Beyonder has to offer.  We call it the Master Builder.  

What is the Master Builder and who should use it?  For the most part it’s intended to be used by the Moderator, but advanced players may find it useful too.  It is designed not just to make starting characters, but also to make stronger, more seasoned veterans. When we create more powerful characters, our Moderator will often allot us a certain amount of Essence to build our PCs.  The Master Builder keeps track of the Essence you spend as you build your character, making this process much easier. It is also helpful for Moderators who want to create an NPC and match its strength to a certain level. Instead of creating a baseline character, giving them Essence, and leveling them up, you can jump right to the final product!

In terms of interface, the Master Builder looks and feels very similar to Quick Choices or CYC.  There are tabs for various aspects of your character (Race, Barriers, Talents, etc.); you select an option or enter a value.  What makes Master Builder different is that it allows you to bend or break some of the rules. For example, if you want to create a character that has a higher or lower baseline control of the Six Energies, you can give them more or fewer points to spend on their Affinity Scores and even give them Affinities higher or lower than the usual range.  

Along the left side of the screen there are a number of “Validation Flags” to let you know if you are outside the normal range of things.  Green means that your character is totally kosher and ready to go. Yellow means that you haven’t broken any rules, but your character is not as fleshed out as a standard character.  For example, you will get a yellow flag if your character has not yet been given a Barrier in at least one Energy. You will get a red flag if you have bent the rules beyond normal range (such as making a Wellyn with Size(7), or having Mentarch Powers without having Barriers in Mental).  You will still be able to create the character; the flag is just a warning that you have bent or broken the rules. If you hover over the flag, it will tell you what triggered it.

You now have at your disposal all of the options for CharGen in the Beyonderverse (so far).  We hope you each find the method that works best for you! We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions – or just tell us what your favorite method is and why.

 

Coming soon to a blog near you: Essence and Character Advancement!

Behind the Scenes: CYC and Quick Choice Character Generation

Welcome back to another edition of “The Many Ways to Make A Character in Beyonder” (that’s not really what it’s called.)  If you haven’t seen our overview of chargen options or the details about our choose-your-own-adventure style chargen, start there and then come back to this.  So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at two more ways to create a starting PC in Beyonder.

What brings you here?  Maybe you are the kind of player who knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t want to leave it to chance.  Maybe you’ve already created a few characters using MYCA, have come to know the options available to you, and want to try something new.  Or maybe you just don’t like choose-your-own-adventure games. Whatever your reason, there may come a time when you feel like trying something new.  

The next thing you may want to try is called Custom-make Your Character (CYC).  This will allow you to get your hands dirty, so to speak, as you make decisions about every part of the character creation process.  You can either do this manually using your copy of Science of the Six (page 86) or head over to our website here and have the whole thing automated for you. You’ll just need to click on your selections.

If you create a character using Science of the Six, there are 11 steps to the CYC process which I will outline below.  Keep in mind that this whole process is automated and streamlined if you create your character using our online system.

  1. Choose one of The Ten Races to play.  This choice will affect your Move Score, give some Affinity and Talent bonuses or penalties, and provide some special Racial Abilities.  
  2. Choose your Size, which will determine your Soak and Damage and give you a bonus or penalty to Combat Defense (CD). This will also give you some Talents when relevant.  Big characters cause and can withstand more damage, but they’re easier to hit. Smaller characters are the opposite. Each Race has a reasonable range of Sizes from which to choose.
  3. Choose your character’s gender. While it will not change anything about the mechanics of your character, could have a significant effect on how you roleplay your character and how others interact with them.  Keep in mind, if you choose to play a Heolas, that they are all genderless. If you chose to play a Kamari there are three genders to choose from: male, female, and tree (the third option does not make for a very exciting PC as it is literally a tree – although there are a few stories we could tell you about a certain tree…)  
  4. Choose your Energy Affinities.  The average person has Energy Affinities of 0 if they’re lucky, but because your character is a Channel, you have some exceptionally high scores (and possibly some lower ones to balance things out — the range is from -4 (quite poor) to +4 (very good).  Each of the six Energy Affinities is associated with one of the six Guilds on the Tamarran Continent.  So, it would be good to give yourself a really good Energy Affinity for whichever Guild you plan to join.  Keep in mind, though, that if you choose a really high Energy Affinity value, such as a +4, then you’ll have to to take some hits in your other Affinities to keep things balanced.
  5. Choose your Organization.  This isn’t necessary, but it can add a lot of flavor to your character.  This comes with some bonuses in the MYCA version.  There are no system effects from this choice; much like gender, this will have a lot to do with how you play your character.
  6. Choose your Talents and Wealth.  You will pick one at +3, two at +2, and three at +1.  You also get to choose a Proficiency for each of these Talents (you can find examples of Proficiencies on our website).  Instead of a Talent you can allocate one of these to your Wealth Rating, which will otherwise start at 1.
  7. Choose your Guild.  As discussed in Energy Affinities above, this should probably match up with the Energy Affinity that you set to be the highest, although that is not required.  Along with that, you get 1 Barrier in your chosen Guild as well as one of three Barrier Abilities. The complete list of Barrier Abilities can be found in Science of the Six (page 99).
  8. Choose your Powers.  You can do this in one of two ways: 1. Choose the quick and easy method by selecting one of the Schools of Study.  These each provide a thematic and balanced starting set of Powers. 2. Select each individual Power on your own. If selecting your own Powers, you can either choose from the 480 Powers provided in Science of the Six (page 166), or create your own Powers from scratch using our rules for Power creation (pages 163-165).  Keep in mind that higher level Powers require more time to activate and cause greater Fatigue ( see pages 160 and 161 for details).
  9. Choose some equipment.  You can buy one item with a cost of up to 5, two additional items at a cost of up to 4 each, and three more items with a cost of up to 3 each.  Items can be found in Science of the Six ( Chapter 9, Items, page 144).  Important Note:  if you are not armed and armored, attackers will have a bonus to hit you –  so if you’re going to be getting yourself in trouble you’ll want to be prepared.  In addition to these six starting items, your Moderator may allow you to purchase additional gear based on your Wealth Rating.  
  10. Choose your Defense Ratings (DRs).  The three DRs are Outer Defense (OD), Inner Defense (ID), and Ethereal Defense (ED).  One of these will get a +2 bonus, one will get a +1 bonus, and one will get a +0 bonus.  Remember that ED determines how much Fatigue you take from using Powers, OD along with your Size will determine your Combat Defense (CD), and ID will make you less susceptible to being influenced both by Energetic and Mundane means.
  11. Choose your Homeland. As in Step 5 when you chose your Organization, this choice has no bearing on your character’s in-game stats, but could affect how you roleplay your character.  

Wow, that was a lot!  It seems as if there should be a way to have some control over the character creation process without going into quite as much detail.  Lucky for you, we created our Quick Choice method to do just that (it’s only available through our website here).  Using this, you can click through and make a character in under a minute.  This is great if you know what sort of thing you want, but you don’t want to get too far into the thicket of numbers.  It’s also really helpful if you’re a Moderator and need to quickly generate some NPCs. It’s really that easy – so go have a look!

That’s all for now, folks. Join us next time for our two final methods of character creation: Off-the-Rack and our newest, never-before-seen method, still in Beta testing, called Master Builder. Until then, go forth and make a bunch of PCs.

Beyonder Online: The Builder

The Sutri

Coming to you from the Flying NightLab

Hello there! I didn’t see you come in. I’m doing quite well, thanks for asking – and you look terrific! Oh…what’s this nifty device I have here? Why, this is nothing less than the Beyonder Builder, a simplify-your-game application the Flying NightLab developed! The Builder helps you create and keep track of new PCs, advance them by spending Essence, and access other Beyonder information.

The Builder looks good, but we consider it in “beta” mode until we’ve had some smart people bang on it for a while.  That’s where you, our intrepid Beyonder followers, come in. We invite you to help perfect this capability to make it perfect for yourselves, and those to follow!

Try the Builder: it’s easy to do!

  1. Go to the Flying NightBear Games website and follow the link to the Builder by clicking on the Builder button in the upper left-hand part of the page.  
  2. If you have already registered, log in.  If you haven’t registered, sign up by clicking on “Register”
  3. Make yourself a new character, or several, by going to “My Characters” > “Create a New Character”
  4. Once you’re done, go to “My Characters” to see the list of all of your PCs — you can print them out, too!
  5. Email us (info@fnbgames.com) that you’ve made some characters, and we’ll give them some Essence — that’s what you need to increase your character’s strength and capabilities.
  6. Now, go to Character Advancement to spend your Essence, and make your Character even greater!

What’s in the Builder: funny you should ask!

The Builder contains some of our on-line functionality that we think you will find very helpful.  It’s easy to register yourself (or just login if you’ve already registered). You will see a menu that lists the things you can find, and do, including the following:

  • All My Stuff: the things that you own and other things that are helpful
  • My Characters: the Player Characters (PCs) that you have already made and links to all of our Character Creation capabilities
  • For Moderators: helpful things if you want to be a Moderator
  • Abilities: info on Talents and Powers and some other abilities
  • The World: info on things in the world, such as the Ten Races, the Guilds, and more

Choose your Spot on the Tamarran Continent: Three Good Places to Begin Your Adventure

This post is your guide to three very playable locations on the Tamarran Continent:  Tarnath and the Sessmaryth Valley; Naldrin City; and the Region of Jowea (see our map).  They have interesting populations, developed neighborhoods, and a long history, so they’re good starting points for an adventure or a campaign.  You’ll also notice them appearing in our own FNBGames adventures and campaigns.

Our first two books (Beyonder: The Science of the Six, and Imbelnhi’s Bestiary: Being a Traveller’s Account of Our Continent and Her Creatures) describe these locations; we’ll provide a quick overview here.

Tarnath and the Sessmaryth Valley

Tarnath is a very old city, founded around SP~1,700, a little over 3,300 years ago (NOTE: the present year in Beyonder is SP~5,018).  Tarnath was always small but important: its location on the northern shores of the Bay of Perrin makes it one of the best seaports on the eastern side of the Tamarran Continent.

The greatest notoriety of Tarnath is as the birthplace of the infamous Emperor Samron in the year SP~3,576.  Samron’s empire began in Tarnath and soon encompassed most of the northern half of the continent and some key regions of the southern half (but that is a different story).  As Samron’s power grew, so did Tarnath and its environs. Over the next century a huge city, Sessmaryth, grew up around Tarnath. After the fall of Samron in SP~3,725, the city of Sessmaryth also began to fail.  Today there is little left of what was once a monstrously large city. However, Tarnath still lives on as an important seaport with a population of 250,000 people.

ADVENTURE POTENTIAL:  There remain, in this area, many mysteries dating back to Samron’s time or before.  There’s the North Gate, which served as the entrance into the City of Sessmaryth during its heyday.  Is there really a series of tunnels below the city and region, once used for travel throughout the valley?  And what is hidden beneath the hill that once held on its crown the massive Palace of the Emperor Samron?

Naldrin City

Naldrin City was founded by both ishiri and dwarves in SP~2,559 in the southernmost ranges of the Nashem Mountains, on the northwestern part of the Tamarran Continent.  The ishiri, who love rock and stone, built along the mountain ranges; the dwarves built below it. As the centuries went by the city developed into five distinct tiers that ran up the side of the mountain, each with its own distinct culture and population.

Over the years there have been many altercations, large and small, between ishiri and dwarves, each claiming original ownership of all of the territory.  However, the First Nulentian Invasion in SP~3,760, required many of the Races on the continent to come together to defend themselves from an external invasion, and since then the ishiri and the dwarves have managed to co-exist peacefully.

Naldrin City is home to the Council of Drawnwyn. Although there is no governmental body that rules the entire Tamarran Continent, the Council of Drawnwyn comes closest: it is able to pull together almost all of the most powerful kingdoms and nations on the Tamarran Continent.  The Council facilitates such things as building roadways for cooperation against common enemies, and coordinating the vast network of trade across the continent. For this reason, Naldrin City is often considered the unofficial capital of the Tamarran Continent.

The population is difficult to estimate, but it is generally agreed that approximately 300,000 live there, including a rich mix of all of the Ten Races and many other creatures.

ADVENTURE POTENTIAL:  It is said that the Crown of Drawnwyn was originally presented to Drawnwyn beneath this city or the mountain on which it is built.  The Crown was one of the most powerful artifacts of the current Era of the world. It comprises seven “eyes” – one for each of the Six Energies, and one that allows the other six to work in unison.  The Crown and each of its eyes give the owner great control over the Six Energies of the world. It is said that the place to begin the search for these artifacts is in Naldrin, where it all began. Many have searched, but none have been successful.

The Region of Jowea

The Region of Jowea comprises four cities: Isstia, Afforin, Dovvan, and Riverbend; as well as the Quiets that surround them all.  Outside of these four cities the population is sparse, but is rich in racial diversity.

The Quiets, which lie outside of Jowea, are ruined areas, casualties of the Stillness Wars. They are areas of Stillness energy, controlled by undead.  Travel into and out of the Region of Jowea is thus quite dangerous, and as a result the region is isolated in many ways from the rest of the continent.  However, good guides can be found both in Jowea and in some of the non-Quiet areas outside. There are many riches to be found in the Quiets, but beware: the dangers should not be ignored!

The City of Isstia has a population of roughly 31,000, primarily humans and crawn in equal numbers.  The Isstians have always extolled the virtues of physical combat, and they produce some of the most skilled warriors of the region (and indeed of the continent).  The Isstia Militia, as the city’s small army is known, has a reputation for overcoming very bad odds in a fight.

ADVENTURE POTENTIAL:  It is rumored that the Open Hand, the Tamarran-wide organization of fighters, has a secret cell in Isstia.  Adventurers might go there to try to pass the “entrance exam” and join the cell, or to seek assistance with a quest in the Region.  Angnall, chikchiks, and julkas live in the mountains nearby, and they are most definitely not friendly.

The City of Afforin is known for its political intrigue and spycraft.  In this city, politics is a game: in fact, it is the game, and it can be a bloody one.  The city is ruled by a single lord, who commands four separate areas of the city (the Orchards, the Merchant District, the Villas, and the Circle), which are each controlled by their own underlord.  However, the political hierarchy goes much deeper and pervades all of the culture of the city.

Almost entirely populated by dwarves, the City of Dovvan is known for high-quality craftsmanship.  The Jowen Dwarf Clan, which lives under the neighboring mountains, produces artifacts renowned for their craftsmanship and delicacy (not always a trait of dwarven-made goods).  These crafts are a source of much of the trade flowing within and outside of the Region of Jowea.

The City of Riverbend, with a population of slightly more than 145,000, is the largest and oldest city of the Region of Jowea.   The founding date is roughly SP~3,000 (give or take a couple of centuries). Riverbend is the center of trade and commerce for Jowea; its culture is dominated by commerce and the powerful merchants who control that commerce.

 

Wherever you end up going on Tamarra, you will learn much.  Enjoy the places you see and the creatures you meet – just be careful!

What’s in Your Travel Sack: More Power(s) than You Can Imagine

You’ll need help from the Mystics Guild (look for this banner)

Most citizens of the Tamarran Continent work, eat, play, and interact with each other in ways very much like our own. Only a very small percentage of the population are born as Channels with the ability to directly control the Six Energies. Unless they live in or near a major city, an average person has little or no access to the technological advances brought about by the Guilds.  

However, even a normal person can gain access to great abilities by using what the Guilds call Energetic Items.  The use of these items can produce a Power similar to that used by a Channel. Since the Power is stored in the item it can be used by anyone, Channel or not.  This means that normal people can use Powers, and that Channels can use Powers that are either beyond their current skill level or are Powers for an Energy in which they have not overcome Barriers.  These Energetic Items are rare and expensive, because they are quite difficult to create and extremely powerful.

If you want to create Energetic Items you’ll need the help of a Mystic, since their control over Spirit Energy allows them to bind the other Energies together.  The Mystic must have specialized training in the crafting of these items. You will need to have someone who can use the Power you wish to imbue into the item. You will also need several expensive components. Be aware that you must expend some Essence in the making of these Items.

An example may help. Let’s say you want to create an Energetic item that gives you the ability to shoot lightning bolts at your adversaries.  First, find yourself a Mystic with the proper Talents and training. If you’re not an Evoker, a Channel of Physic Energy, then find one who has Lightning Bolt (a level 15 Evoker Power).  Once these helping hands are engaged, you’ll need to buy some components parts and spend some of your Essence. Then choose the frequency at which the Energetic Item can be used (either a certain number of times per day or the total number of times it can ever be used) and calculate the level of the item. Be aware that the power of an Energetic Item you create is determined by your “Item Imbuing Total.”  (For further details on the creation process, see p. 149 of Beyonder: The Science of the Six.)

Rumors abound about ways to obtain these costly Energetic Items. Some say that the GERC is doing research on ways to make them cheaper, but stories hint at the need for extremely uncommon materials found only in the most dangerous of places.  Perhaps some powerful Channels could acquire the necessary parts for making Energetic Items at a reasonable price. Although it is quite dangerous to speak of this, it is said that sects of Sorcerers who are able to create their own versions of Energetic Items still survive in hiding, and that the Items they create are far beyond those made by the GERC.  Though some have searched for these sorcerers, especially on Shawmancer Island (in the northern parts of Ferren’s Ice Islands Sea), there is nothing concrete to go on. Rumors aside, if you can get your hands on some Energetic Items you will achieve great things that would otherwise be beyond the normal scope of your abilities.