Gear in Beyonder: Weapons

What’s in your travel Sack?  Blades, bows, and more!

We continue our series about items in Beyonder with a look at weapons.  As we have said, when creating our game mechanics we didn’t want the game to devolve into an endless quest for more powerful gear.  In fact, many of the aspects of the system involve a sliding scale that allows for a rich variety of game experiences using a single mechanic.  For most actions, a single roll determines both success and the outcome of that success*.  With that in mind, we created our weapon system.  

Beyonder has general categories of melee weapons (blades, clubs, spears, etc.)  and ranged weapons (bows, javelins, throwing knives, etc.).  These categories can include a variety of specific items, depending on factors such as size of the user and quality of the materials:  

  • For a size(0) human, a size(-2) blade might be used as a dagger  
  • For a size(-3) wellyn, the same blade might be used as a greatsword
  • For a size(3) crawn, that blade might be used as a table knife

In a similar way, a throwing knife could be a shuriken or a chakram or any number of other similar weapons.  In each of these examples, the weapons could be standard, run-of-the-mill gear or top-of-the-line, finely crafted artifacts.  

Each type of weapon has a slightly different set of qualities with respect to damage, cost, and special abilities.  Larger weapons deal an proportionally larger amount of damage, as do more well-crafted ones. Generally, more expensive types of weapons either deal more damage or grant a bonus in certain circumstances.  For instance, the blade type weapon and the mace type weapon both deal +5 damage, but the blade also gives a +2 bonus to Stunts; as a result, blades have a cost of 2 rather than 1.  Similarly, both blowguns and bows have a cost of 2, but the bow deals +7 damage with no special abilities, and the blowgun deals no damage but can administer poison very effectively.  

Let’s imagine that you want your character to wield a specific weapon, but it doesn’t seem to fit in any of the types listed.  If this happens, we encourage you to create an “exotic weapon type” with the help of your Moderator.  If you come up with a good one, please tell us about it ( so we can share it with the Beyonder community!

Finally, let’s look at a rule that some people overlook, which touches on the benefit of carrying a weapon for self-defense.  Our combat system is balanced under the assumption that a standard fight is between two armed, armored combatants.  If you are not using a weapon to defend yourself, your opponent will get a +5 bonus to hit you.  Similarly, if you do not have armor to protect your body, your opponent gets an additional +5 bonus.  That means that if you have not weapon or armor, you are basically guaranteed to be poked full of holes in no time flat.  

We hope that you enjoy these tips and insights.  Stay tuned for an in-depth exploration of defense and armor, coming soon!

* See “Degrees of Success,” Beyonder: The Science of the Six, page 1.

Welcome to the World of Beyonder

The Modern Classic Tabletop RPG Changes The Playing Field With Storytelling And Character Building Tools

For Immediate Release: July 18, 2016 Beyonder, the pencil and paper role-playing game test played and acclaimed by gaming societies, including Brown University, Vassar College, and West Chester University, is growing in popularity around the country. With the publishing of the rulebook, “Beyonder: The Science of the Six;” and “Imbelnhi’s Bestiary: Being a Traveler’s Account of Our Continent and Her Creatures;” and the release of an online character builder, RPG novices can now easily create new stories and campaigns alongside seasoned players of the game. Continue reading

The Wars of Above and Below

The Wars of Above and Below at Merrill City’s Doorstep

By Toodla Oblodt, Naldrin City News

Naldrin City, Kalkix 6, SP~5,016

New evidence suggests that the continuing conflict known as the Wars of Above and Below is heating up.

Merrill City, located in the northern part of the Frestehal Plateau at the base of the Rimmel Mountains, is under a concerted attack from a force that has emerged out of the Merrill Gorge, just miles to its west.

For several years the Merrill Gorge has been the center of hostilities in the Wars of Above and Below.  The Gorge runs slightly more than 400 miles east-west along the northern edge of the Frestehal Plateau, where the desert lands of Frestehal meet the Rimmel Mountain range.  Until a few years ago, the Merrill Gorge was a ravine that varied in width from between half a mile to ten miles, with a depth of as much as one mile.  It was one of the great splendors of the northern half of the continent and a frequent stop for tourists from all across Tamarra.  Eleven years ago, in the year of the Great Earthshake, SP~5,005, the base of the gorge was shattered to depths that have still not been completely explored.  This deepening of the Gorge opened up a path to kingdoms and peoples who had been living beneath the surface of our Ethem.

The Wars of Above and Below, which began after the Earthshake, continue today, although the battles had been relatively isolated up to this point. The first battles occurred when Tamarran forces, primarily dwarves from several dwarven cities on the Frestehal Plateau, were exploring the deep underworld. Confronted by what they interpreted as belligerent creatures, they chose to fight.  Some say that the people from Below took these “explorations” as aggressive incursions and are now retaliating.

This current assault on Merrill City suggests that we may be entering a new phase of the Wars.  Reports are spotty and infrequent, due in part to the strange disruption in blink bat communication within the city and the surrounding regions.  The dimensional gates that the blink bats can naturally travel may have been disrupted by some kind of Shadow Energy.  Because of this, much of the contact with Merrill City has been by courier using the Great Road through Jal’s Pass, which cuts north-south through the Rimmel Mountains.

The reports that we do have confirm several facts.  First, the force attacking Merrill City is quite substantial: there are somewhere between eight and twelve thousand fighters.  They are a well-trained military force from a race of creatures known as the Mannahassay.  In addition, the Below army is compensating for their limited ability to see in sunlight by using some kind of head covering.  Although most of the creatures from the Below regions are either sightless or have sight that is accustomed to little or no light, these head covers make them  much more capable, and therefore more lethal.  Finally, these creatures seem to have the ability to communicate with each other without words.  GERC experts here in Naldrin City are saying this is probably due to the use of Mental Energy, and that these creatures may be akin to Mentarchs.

Our sources elsewhere on the Plateau have indicated that the neighboring dwarf cities of Addakk and Kakktika are sending trained forces to the aid of their (mostly) human neighbors in Merrill City.

We will continue to update you, the citizens of Naldrin City and the North, as further news becomes available.

Gear in Beyonder: Introduction

What’s in Your Travel Sack?  An Introduction to Gear in Beyonder

When you play RPGs, it becomes clear that a central part of many games is acquiring gear.  More powerful weapons, armor, and miscellaneous other stat boosters and ability enhancers become a baseline requirement for progressing through the game.  As a result, much of the gameplay centers around killing creatures to steal their stuff, gathering exponentially larger amounts of money to buy and enhance gear, and figuring out how to make your own things cheaper than the market price.  

When we created Beyonder, we wanted to avoid that standard. You can still do all of those things, but you can also have a fully satisfying experience without any of it.  Beyonder’s low-heroic setting means that the world is a rough place with jagged edges that can cut you.  Some of those edges are created by Channels and their Powers, but keep in mind that a very small percentage of the population is born with the potential to become a Channel.  For most people on the Tamaran Continent, the chances of getting killed by a Channel are not nearly as likely as getting stabbed by a lunatic with a rusty dagger who is trying to steal your goats.

In short, if you are going to live long enough to make it in this world, you are going to need to know how to protect yourself from “mundane” (regular, non-Energetic) attacks.That means you need to learn at least the basics of self defense.  There are often ways to get out of a fight without lifting a finger (Mentarchs and Charismatics excel at this), but there may come a time when you find yourself forced into a fight, and having the right gear and knowing how to use it can be invaluable.  There are also times when just having a sword in your hand and looking like you know how to use it is enough to deter a would-be assailant.

In addition to Gear & Supplies, there are three more categories of Items in Beyonder: Weapons, Armor, and Energetic Items.  (Find out more in the Beyonder Rulebook, Chapter 9: Items.) Check out our blogs in the following weeks for descriptions, as well as some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your gear without letting it eclipse the rest of your game experience.  

Organizations: The Negotiators

Join the Negotiators — Change the World with Words!

“The sword is the tool of the brute, who has no other means to solve his problems than to kill all who disagree with him.  If you want to fight a battle of ideas, one which truly changes the course of the world, you do so in words.”

— Merkel Marns, Chief Negotiator for the United Tribes of the Southern Ushen, Council of Drawnwyn, Naldrin City


True power comes from words and understanding, not swords!

Citizens of Tamarra, The Negotiators calls upon you to show our continent your true fortitude and purpose: join us in working for a better world! The use of weapons and war are no more than brute force, and are irrelevant in fighting the true battle for the hearts and minds of the peoples of this, our dear continent.

The Negotiators fight in ways that make the greatest difference to our world.  And often, we win:

In SP~5,011, just five years ago, a small group of Negotiators travelled to the Merrill Gorge, the great chasm created during the most recent earthshake and the center of the Wars of Above and Below.  Descending into that cut in the Fekxtah’s crust,  our courageous Negotiators came upon the Memmorrall, a race of powerful diggers with a strong bond to Soman Energy who “see” using echolocation.  The Memmorrall had been sworn to destroy all creatures descending from the Above world.  But our Negotiators quickly gained understanding of the customs and the complaints of these gentle creatures, and now they have set aside all war with us and our kind. Sadly, two of our fine Negotiators were deeply wounded during this battle of wills, and one eventually perished from these wounds. This is not rare.  But do we stop?  No!  We hold these Negotiators in honor for their sacrifices and their courage, and we move on.

Sometimes reason cannot prevail, as we learned just months ago, when we met with several hundred shem amaum*.  We quickly discovered they had no capacity for reasoning and no sympathy for any other creature.  They obey only the directions of their masters, whoever they might now be, and their own innate lust for the destruction and death of all living things. Many who read our accounts in the news journals of our Continent counted this as a failure culminating in the death of a number of fine Negotiators.  However, we acquired more knowledge of  about the shem amaum — their customs and their weaknesses, and we will use this going forward. We will never take the coward’s way of wielding primitive weapons of war!

Have we inspired you? Do you have the courage it takes to walk into danger without a weapon?  The skill to wield words with force and precision under the most difficult of circumstances?  If so, and if you wish to create a unified and prosperous Tamarran Continent where we can live their lives in harmony, then become one of us.  Become a Negotiator!

— Poster found in Tarnath, Naldrin City, and the Region of Jowea

* These are the cruel and merciless monsters brought to Tamarra over thirty years ago by invading Nulentians.

Organizations: Six as One

It is the policy of the Guilds to stay out of the political, economic, and military affairs of the governments of Tamarra. While they may be quite powerful in their own way, they could not stand on their own if they angered a nation. And, of course, the Guilds aspire to be a home to all Channels, regardless of their nationality or allegiance.

Simon McEntire

Simon McEntire, the voice of Six as One

Six as One is stoutly opposed to this idea.

Six as One is made up of Channels who believe that Channels should rule the continent. They believe their superior ability to learn new things and improve their abilities by accumulating essence makes them better-fit to run companies, organizations, and even governments, than their “mundane” brethren.

While many in the Guilds disagree with them, the Guilds have as one of their core tenets the free exchange of information, ideas, and opinions. Most Channels oppose the Six as One’s ideology, but their argument has a certain logic that they cannot entirely dismiss. So while they are not happy about such talk, the Guilds let it continue, and do their best to repair any strain it might put on relations with non-Channel organizations. The Guildhouses in Naldrin, for example, had their members expelled from the city for a brief period in SP ~ 5012, after Six as One members used their bodies and a variety of powers to create a blockade around a charity ball to raise funds for a Mayor’s reelection.

Unsurprisingly, Six as One is not beloved by non-Channels. Six as One treats them like children: they are generally benevolent, but incredibly patronizing. Non-Channels have a wide range of reactions to this, depending on the individual, ranging from annoyed but dismissive to violently furious.

Six as One has been known to hold demonstrations at a variety of events held by both Guild and non-Guild organizations. While these demonstrations are always peaceful to start, there have been times when someone in the crowd becomes angry enough to turn violent. The results are … unpleasant. One such event in of the Kingdom Szaskar Crawn left twelve Channels dead and thirty wounded. This does not include the Crawn who were killed or injured when the Channels began to defend themselves.

The members of Six as One have always tried to protest peacefully. However, there are rumors that the organization contains a secret, extremist faction that is dedicated to achieving the supremacy of Channels by any means necessary. Rumors say that they have infiltrated governments and other groups using Charismatics and Mentarchs. Some believe that they are also responsible for the disappearance of certain convoys on Tamarra’s great roadways. Six as One is always quick to point out that raiding parties of Shem Amuam (cruel and merciless monsters brought to Tamarra over thirty years ago by invading Nulentians) are a far more plausible explanation. These are, of course, just rumors — no real evidence has ever been produced. The rest of this organization has both denied that this faction exists, and condemned any actions such a group might theoretically take.