Customizing Powers

One of the primary goals of the Beyonder system is the complete customizability of your character. You can tell whatever story you want and have it supported by the rules, not dictated by them. We have built nearly 500 premade Powers for you to start with, but feel free to make your own or add to ours.  

Your character’s Powers are a great example of the customizability available to you.  All of the Ten Races are Channels, the elite few born with the innate ability to directly manipulate the six Energies.  What’s more, your character has joined one of the six Guilds, which train Channels in the scientific study of their Energy.  The Guilds have already created hundreds of Powers.  They teach you how to channel them, and also how to modify them or invent your own.  They have developed a simple, highly standardized process for doing this to fit your specific needs.   

Following is an in-depth explanation of how to make your own Power.  Don’t worry if it sounds too technical —  the whole thing is automated on the Beyonder website (currently in beta mode).  You might want to create a Power, either by hand or using the system, as you read through this.

Powers have several qualities that you can customize including Energy, Base Effect, Magnitude, Range, Target, Duration, Medium, and Medium Effect.  Each is discussed in detail below.

1) Every Power channels one or more Energies.  The first step in making a Power is to decide which Energy (or Energies) you want to include in your Power.  You can select any Energy in which your character has one or more Barriers.  If you have only one Energy that is Barrier 1 or greater, then you can select only that Energy.  However, if you are Barrier 1 or greater, in more than one Energy, then you may select any one or more of these Energies.

2) Once you have chosen the Energy for your Power, you need to choose a Base Effect (or several Base Effects if you want to get fancy).  Each Energy has its own list of Base Effects, which includes a description of different degrees of success on the roll in the Minor/Moderate/Major/Complete format.  For example, the Base Effect might be “Deal target animated corpse 2/5/11/23 damage” or “Decrease gravity’s effect for target adding +1/+3/+6/+10 to Athletics Checks to jump and any other Checks the Moderator deems appropriate.”  Each Base Effect has a level that will determine the starting level of your Power.

3) Once you have a Base Effect, you can increase the level of your Power by changing the various attributes of that Power.  Generally speaking, the higher the level of the Power, the stronger the effect.  The attributes you can modify are Magnitude (the bonus to your roll); Range (how far away your target must be); Target (how many targets your Power can affect or the area it can cover); and Duration (how long the Effect lasts).  Magnitude starts at +0, Range starts at personal, Target starts at individual, and Duration starts at instantaneous.

Increasing your Magnitude is simple: it can be increased by +1 by increasing the level of the Power by +1.  This means that your Power is more likely to work on a given target.  The other attributes increase by steps.  For example, Duration can go from Instantaneous, to 5 minutes, to 1 hour, to 1 day, to 1 week, to 1 month, to 1 year, and finally to permanent.  Usually each step increases the level of the Power by +2.

There is one special case.  Each Energy has one attribute that it has trouble controlling called its Weak Attribute, which means that the first increase of that attribute costs +4.  The weak attribute of Emotion and Body is Range, of Mental and Spirit Energy is Target; of Physic and Shadow Energy is Duration.  For example, changing a Physic Power from a Duration of Instantaneous to 5 minutes costs +4 levels, but every step after that costs +2 levels.

4) Now you’ve got a Power with a bunch of attributes — but what makes your Power different from any other Power?  Each Power has a Medium through which it manifests.  There are six standard Media for each Energy: For example, the Media for Physic are Electricity, Force, Light, Matter, Heat, and Space.  You can have the exact same Base Effect and attributes with a different Medium, which creates a totally different feel.  Imagine the difference between an explosive ball of fire (Heat Medium), as compared to a shockwave (Force Medium), or a burst of lightning (Electricity Medium).  

Not enough choices for you?  You can chose an Exotic Medium which allows you to make up an additional Medium, at the discretion of your Moderator.   Maybe you want the Sound Medium for Physic Powers because your character is based around that theme.

5) But wait — there’s more.  You can add an extra side effect, called a Medium Effect.  This one is totally up to you to invent with the guidance of your Moderator.  It can modify the level by up to +/- 3 levels depending on how significant it is.  An increased level indicates that it is a good quality, whereas a decrease indicates a shortcoming.  For example, a burst of lightning could have a Medium Effect that does +1 damage to a target if they are wearing metal armor.  On the other hand, it could have an Effect that makes you lose control of the Target and will randomly target metal objects within range.  There is no limit to what this effect can be, as long as your Moderator feels it is appropriate.

6) Now you can add a few final touches to your Power.  Give it a name and some flavor text (a description, usually with a little in-game quote).  For example, there is a Mystic Power called Hinder Undead that gives Undead creatures a penalty to all actions; its flavor text says, “You’ve got to know how to deal with the undead.  My solution: slow them down while you run.”

Depending on the choices you made, your Power will be given a level.  If you made it using our online system it will be calculated for you, otherwise just take the Base Effect’s level and add all the modifications you chose.  The level of the Power and your character’s Barrier will determine how long it takes the Power to activate.  For example, for a Barrier 4 character can use up to a Level 2 Power as a Free Action, Level 3 in 0-m, Level 5 in 1-m, Level 11 in 2-m, Level 14 in 3-m, Level 17 in 4-m, Level 23 in 5-m, and Level 26 in 6-m. Powers above Level 26 are too complex for Barrier 4 characters.

That’s all there is to it.  It may seem like a lot, but if you make a Power or two you’ll see how easy it is, especially using the online system.  You simply adjust each quality to your liking and come out with the perfect Power for your character. 

Please feel free to post your Power on the Beyonder website and share it with other players.  It’s up to you, the players, to guide the world of Beyonder to fit your imagination. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

A Response to Gamergate — by Caleb McEntire

#Gamergate, #StopGamerGate2014, #EverybodyGames

From the partners of Beyonder /Flying NightBear Games: Robin McEntire, Simon McEntire, Caleb McEntire, and Jordan Campbell

“Gamergate” has generated a lot of heated discussion on the internet and beyond about the role of women in gaming. As game developers and world creators, as well as people living in the real world, this subject matters to all of us at Flying NightBear Games.

A lot.

It has been present during all the years that we spent developing the game of Beyonder. It is reflected in our words and artwork, in our characters and creatures.

Although the partners of FNB Games are men, we live in a world shaped by strong women; feminist mothers, wives, and partners; and friends of all genders. They have always been a part of our worldview. When my father, Robin McEntire, first created Beyonder in its first form back in the ‘70s, he played it with my mother, their friends, and their family (brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins). When my brothers, friends, and I developed the current version of Beyonder, women were an integral part of our test-play groups – partly because when we game ourselves, women are always part of the adventuring party.

Much of the world of Beyonder is fantasy: the Six Energies that underlie it; the strange and beautiful species that populate the world; the supernatural Powers that some characters can use to wrap the laws of physics around their little fingers.

One thing that is anything but fantasy, though, is that all genders and sexes contribute powerfully to our world. Two of our ten Races reflect this in their essential makeup: Heola, the star-born desert wanderers, have no biological sex; kamaris, children of the forest, can be a tree as well as a man, woman, or any other point on the wide and wonderful spectrum of sex and gender (to be clear, just as in the real world, a character from any race can fall anywhere on those spectrums the player desires). Imbelnhi Ulanwey, the intrepid zoographer and in-game author who “wrote” our Bestiary, is a male zweyjen (one of the Ten Races of Beyonder); there is commentary is by Kuemwan Alomla, another male zweyjen who was his longtime partner and lover. We didn’t write our books this way in order to be politically correct; we wrote the story we wanted, and this was the result.

Hearing about Gamergate was not a shock to us, and that’s really the worst part about it: Gamergate is an embarrassment to the gaming community not because of how exceptionally awful it is, but because of precisely the opposite – because it is so frighteningly commonplace. Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Felicia Day have become the very salient faces of the same misogyny in gaming that has existed for decades.

As men, the FNB partners don’t presume to know what it’s like to be frequently harassed on the street, to have concepts we understand perfectly well mansplained to us, or any of a hundred other microaggressions. We do know that we will provide any and all support we can against the hateful misogyny that exists in gaming – both in the worlds we craft as game makers and in our actions as people in the world.

We are all for expressing your beliefs, even if we don’t agree with them. However, it becomes unacceptable when people threaten violence, invade privacy, or otherwise ruin lives. And while we would love to convince everyone that women (and every other group) are an essential part of the gaming world, the essential transgression is the real-world actions of people acting in the name of gamergate.

My thoughts on Gamergate — Robin McEntire, originator of Beyonder

#Gamergate, #StopGamerGate2014, #EverybodyGames

When I played Beyonder, when my kids were still, well, kids, we role-played with them and their friends.  I have three sons, so we did have a lot of guys in the house.  But, there were always girls (and then women) at the table.  Always.  It was as simple as that.

There was no discussion about whether or not to include girls. This was because of one simple fact: girls liked to play games, too.  They liked to hack-and-slash.  Really. Sometimes they preferred to talk with a creature to see who it was and what it was like. And here’s the thing…the guys liked to talk to that creature, too, for the same reason. Because sometimes getting to know a creature (even a smelly, ugly Throg) was the interesting and fun thing to do.

Are there differences between boys and girls, between women and men?  Of course there are.  But there are many more things that we have in common – including the love of game play.

Why should some people get to decide who can and can’t play?  Even more important, why should anyone feel entitled to threaten women with real harm for playing or speaking up about playing?  And it doesn’t stop there.  If you were somehow able to stop women from playing games, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that gamergate would lead to some-other-gate.

We’ve chosen something different.  We value the girls and women with whom we’ve played our whole lives.  We value their contribution to game play and to game development. They’re smart, and they’re really fun to play games with. In playing Beyonder, as in everything else, women are our partners – in games, and a whole lot more.

Everyone to the Table: a Woman and Mom on Gamergate — Judy Schatz, Director of Communications, Flying NightBear Games

#Gamergate, #StopGamerGate2014, #EverybodyGames

I’m a woman, and I have been playing role-playing games (RPGs) for 36 of my 60 years. It has been a shock to me to hear about “gamergate,” and all the hostility that is directed at women in the gaming world, because gaming has been an integral part of my adult life.

About the time I graduated from college, some role playing games hit the market. I tried it with some friends – female and male.  I loved it!  The giddy sense of creating stories with my friends, the laughter, the on-the-spot problem solving – the possibilities were endless.  I wanted to do it again and again.

Eventually my boyfriend Robin (now my husband) created the game that would become Beyonder (then called simply, “The Game”). We introduced it to our friends. We played it on family vacations, staying up late into the night with aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings.  A couple of years later, we played it on our wedding night – a rare opportunity to play with people we loved who hadn’t been together for a long time.

Then we had children, and full-time jobs.  With new responsibilities and demands on our time, we put The Game away.  It stayed in our attic until after a fateful family visit to my cousin, who had played “The Game” with us, and still played in an ongoing RPG.  He introduced RPGs to our sons. That was all it took: they were hooked on RPGs! Before we set off for home, he told them, “You know, your dad has a game that he created …”

When we arrived home, our kids began their first campaign:  to convince their dad to find his game! Soon they were playing. Thus began Beyonder, the second generation. They invited their friends – boys and girls – who begged for more gaming time.  They played on weekends, and their birthday parties became occasions for sleepover Beyonder games played into the night.  When they were younger, they played mostly with boys; as they got older, girls joined the game.

After years of playing, my husband, sons, and friends formalized the game of Beyonder so that they could put it in printed form. They imagined a world into being, one that appealed to a broad variety of people and passions.  It was an organic process – this was the world they wanted. This inclusiveness was evident in all phases of game creation, from the artwork that we chose for the books to test plays that included women and men. The test play groups were an organic offshoot of the games my sons played in college – all of which included women.

As both the editor of the Beyonder books and as a mom, I was a sounding board, giving feedback on everything, but with a special commitment to the part women played in this world. I am very proud to say that there were almost no issues to resolve. I and the other moms – and dads – had raised young men who were thoughtful, inclusive, and undeterred by traditional social roles.

This excerpt (below) from a recent blog post from the FNB partners (parent company of Beyonder) describes the inclusivity of the Beyonder world:

…all genders and sexes contribute powerfully to our world. Two of our Ten Races reflect this in their essential makeup: Heola, the star-born desert wanderers, have no biological sex; Kamaris, children of the forest, can be a tree as well as a man, woman, or any other point on the wide and wonderful spectrum of sex and gender (just as in the real world, a character from any race can fall anywhere on those spectrums the player desires).  The in-game “author” of our Bestiary, an intrepid zoographer, is a male zweyjen  (one of the Ten Races of Beyonder); he and his same-sex partner give glimpses of their long and loving relationship in the commentary they write about the creatures they have discovered.

We want everyone to see themselves in the world of Beyonder.  As with so much of life, the more variety you bring to the table, the better the end result will be.

The Printing Process has Begun!

We are happy to report that “Beyonder: Science of the Six,” and “Imbelnhi’s Bestiary: Being a Traveler’s Account of our Continent and her Creatures are now on their way through the printing process!

Since our last update, we have signed a contract with a US printer whose work is everything we want for our books. We have made a myriad of choices: paper color, weight, finish; ink colors; cover weight, binding; map paper . . . who knew there so many decisions?!? The expertise of 21Xdesign has been invaluable  – we have spent many afternoons in their office, poring over samples together, in what is truly a team effort.

We will receive the proof pages shortly, and then printing will begin in earnest. If all goes as planned, we will have books in hand by late November, ready to ship in time for the holidays.  (To order, go to our store.) We can’t wait for you to hold them in your hands!

The FNBGames team — Robin, Jordan, Simon, and Caleb

AFS-ers Can Play Beyonder at Homecoming!

Attention all AFS students and alumni:  Flying Nightbear Games (AKA Simon, Jordan, Caleb, Jacob, and Robin) will be hosting a Beyonder game after Homecoming Meeting for Worship on Wednesday, November 26!  Whether you’re a player from back in the day, or a newbie who wants to know what all the excitement is about, join us then!  Seating is first come, first seated. If you want to make sure you have a place at the table, you can sign up in advance at  We hope to see you there!