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.

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.