This blog will focus on Barrier Abilities, another way to customize your characters by increasing their strength in areas that you choose. As mentioned in prior posts, all of your characters are Channels, who can control one or more of The Six Energies — this is what allows them to use Powers. Characters are born with the innate talent to do this, but it is not until they are trained by a Guild member that they can truly control their abilities. As they grow in strength, they overcome Barriers (levels of achievement that measure how much control a character has over channeling Powers). As they overcome these barriers, they have access to increased strengths, called Barrier Abilities.
Each of the Six Energies has three different paths to choose from. The first two allow you to accentuate one of the aspects of the Energy, and the third lets you improve Power use. For example, the three choices for overcoming Barriers in Emotion Energy are Negotiator, Leader, and Power. Within each category there are progressively stronger abilities corresponding to how many Barriers you have overcome. Each time your character overcomes another Barrier, they can choose a Barrier Ability from any of the three categories at any level less than or equal to their Barrier. At Barrier 3 in the Negotiator path. For instance, you can gain +1 to Powers that have a single Target; in Leadership you gain a Minion who will be permanently devoted to you; and in Power all of your Powers have their Target automatically increased by 1 step.
In addition to the standard Barrier Abilities, there are special bonus abilities for overcoming Barriers in two Opposed Energies (Body/Physic, Emotion/Mental, or Spirit/Shadow). These tend to be slightly more general abilities, but they are also more potent. Again, there are three paths for each; when you overcome a Barrier that brings your Barriers in both Energies to a new Level, then you gain a new Ability. For example, if you overcome Barrier 1 in both Body and Physic you can choose to get +1 to Reaction Time and Base Speed in the Fighter path; +1 to OD in the Form path; or +1 ED in the Power path.
There is another path altogether: you have more options available if your character is a Jack-of-all-Trades. If instead of allocating all of your Essence to overcoming Barriers in just one Energy, or even two Opposed Energies, you decide to overcome a Barrier in all of the Six Energies, you gain access to a whole other tier of Barrier Abilities. These are extraordinarily potent abilities that require a long-term commitment to diversifying over specializing. If your character is able to overcome 2 Barriers in each of the 6 Energies, she can choose from the following abilities: +1 to all Attributes in the Character path +2 to all Talents in the Talents path; or all fatigue taken from using Powers is decreased by one step in the Power path.
IMPORTANT: Clearing it Up
Playtesters of Beyonder were unclear about whether this Barrier Ability was in addition to the normal one or instead of it. After carefully considering the implications for game balance, we have decided that the Barrier Abilities available for Opposed Energies, as well as those for The Six, give you additional options to choose from, not extra abilities. This decision was made because these abilities are very potent. However, to add some extra control, if you do choose one of the Opposed Energy abilities or The Six, you may also switch one of your previously chosen Barrier Abilities for another of equal or lesser Barrier. This reflects your character’s additional control over the Energies that suffuse their being.
Here is an example of a character as he gains Barriers. Ordon starts as the game as a Barrier 1 Soman and chooses the Power path, which gives him +1 to activation time of Powers. After adventuring for a while he overcomes an Evoker Barrier. Ordan chooses to get his new Barrier Ability from the Outer Energies list instead of the Evoker list. He selects the Fighter path, which grants +1 to both Reaction time and Base Speed. At the same time, considering his character’s evolution over the past several adventures, Ordon decides that he is not as interested in Powers as he first thought. He decides to switch out his first Barrier Ability for the Barrier 1 Evoker ability in the Destroyer path which lets him deal +1 damage to objects.