Organizations: The GERC

Javeer Akcher: Senior Physical Investigator for the Guild Energetic Research Coalition

The Guild Energetic Research Coalition: the GERC. That’s pronounced “GURK,” mind you, not “JERK.” Yes, we have heard the jokes. They’re hilarious.

The GERC is the largest research coalition on the Tamarran continent – and that is giving generous credence to the other “organizations” that float around like so many seeds in the wind. We fund over 15,000 researchers, once you’ve tallied up all the lab assistants and principal investigators and whatnot.

We developed the hammool tracks that now allow for fast travel across the continent. We mapped the spines of the oceans, developed the Sound that allows living folks to travel safely in undead Quiets, and crafted the thread-thin metal okku that stabilizes buildings to five, six, even ten stories across the continent. We are the force of innovation on Tamarra, the wind of scientific change. Ahem – but I wax poetic. You must not let me carry on like this or we’ll be here all day!

Speaking to some specifics, the GERC is an umbrella entity comprising many teams:

    • Acquisitions and Archival: A&A is the backbone, in many ways, of our organization. A&A maintains our libraries, our archives, our records of all known Powers and – thanks to the NGEI’s work (see below) – records of Spells.
    • Division of Geographic and Fexoanatomical Surveys and Research: We call this organization Geo, because lord is that full name a mouthful. They explore the world around us, mapping and exploring. In one of  their most thrilling projects, they have explored the so-called “Spines” of the seas to our east and west. Someday we may find a way to travel beyond these, to other continents – if they exist.
    • Energetic Experimental Group: The curious heart of the GERC. EEG researchers fiddle and tinker with the very core of the Six Energies, developing new Powers and new technologies at a tremendous rate.
    • Materials Development Division: The stolid older sister of the EEG, the MDD works with physical materials. They developed okku (see above), and they work with the EEG constantly to craft previously unseen wonders.
    • Mnemonic Division: The mnemonic division is a special group. They are our memory, our eyes and ears on expeditions. Mnems (“nems”), as we call them, train to use Mental Energy so that they forget nothing – absolutely nothing. They accompany Sojourner expeditions to provide accurate records of everything that happened, and transmit it Energetically into the minds of others.
    • Non-Guild Energetic Investigation: The division that preserves and records the culture of the few remaining sorcerer tribes. The Guilds have a spotty history with the sorcerers, to put it lightly. I personally think the NGEI is the absolute least they could do. Terma Lanchet, who leads it, is an absolute wonder, though.
    • Sojourners: The explorers, with a dash of derring-do and a dash of sheer insanity on top of a heap of genius. These intrepid adventurers go where most will not to explore the farthest reaches of our world.
    • Voices: The Voices occupy an interesting niche within the GERC. Diplomats, linguists, and cultural savants all in one, they developed as a kind of independent branch within the Guilds. They were lumped into the GERC through a stroke of chance, and now provide services both to us specifically and to the Guilds as a whole.
  • Wyrd Division: The Wyrd Division is… a little off. They work with that intriguing energy called Wyrd that seems to be some sort of breakdown product of Shadow, or perhaps Shadow catalyzing breakdown of the other five Energies. Kemmfaut Lap-Kep, who leads it, is among the most bizarre and yet most brilliant people I have had the pleasure to meet.

And of course, within these divisions are subdivisions and smaller teams and little groups of inquisitive minds prying into every force you’d care to mention that the Ten were not meant to meddle with. Around the GERC we don’t take well to limitations.

The Mercenaries’ Guild

There are many soldiers on the continent of Tamarra. Many owe their allegiance to a nation; some are dedicated to a principle or higher cause; and some fight for the sole purpose of improving their skill. But there are also plenty of soldiers of fortune, and the Mercenaries’ Guild (aka the Mercenaries’ Confederation) of Tamarra gives them organization and access to jobs.

Hiring Mercenaries Through the Confederation

The hiring process is simple. First, prospective employers submit a job to the Confederation’s headquarters in Naldrin. These jobs can require armies to put down rebellions or fight a war, or a few soldiers to perform simple guard duty for caravans. The Confederation also has non-combat specialists, such as stealth specialists, medics, and Energy wielders for every occasion.

After receiving the request, the Confederation sends blink bats to its various locations across the continent. Nearly every major city on the continent has one — except in The Kingdom of Szaskar Crawn. The crawn there do not look fondly upon the idea of fighting for money.  Different mercenaries then bid on the job, and the Confederation selects the best few candidates. The employer, whose identity is kept confidential throughout this process, makes the final choice.

This can take a few weeks to several months. However, if speed is required you can simply head to the your local Confederation headquarters and inquire about mercenaries currently in the city.

The Best of the Best

It is well known that the Confederation will accept any serious request, regardless of its moral implications. But while it may operate in an ethical gray zone, there is one area in which the Mercenaries’ Confederation does not compromise: quality. Anyone hiring a mercenary through the Confederation will get the best that their money can buy. This is probably the sole reason the Confederation is as welcomed as it is — it is useful to so many people.

Membership

To become a member of the Mercenaries’ Confederation, you must pay a small annual membership fee1 which makes you eligible to bid on any assignment. This is more of a formality to make a clear distinction between members and non-members than a fee to feed the organization’s coffers.

A gandrihva

There is nothing to say that a mercenary has to join the Confederation, and there is no ill will toward those who do not. Non-members can still find plenty of work by building a reputation for themselves. There are many people who don’t want their requests going through formal channels, even if those channels are confidential and morally lax. The Confederation, after all, does not accept illegal requests — it needs the cooperation of the states of Tamarra to survive.

The membership of the Confederation has a unique feature: it sometimes includes creatures that are not members of the Ten Races, including scarecrows, goblins, gandrihva, and gurv.  There is even a rumor that the Confederation counts a Chik Chik amongst its ranks, though anyone with sense dismisses this rumor. While these creatures are few and far between, their status as part of the Confederation helps to make them socially acceptable. Well, relatively.

Organization

The Confederation has its headquarters in Naldrin, where the controlling body is fairly unremarkable. For all of Naldrin’s typical bureaucracy weighing them down, they have a pretty good turnaround time — and copious, highly detailed records. These records require highly powerful security at Confederation headquarters: someone with access to all the mercenary requests for the past 150+ years could do a lot of harm (if they understood the filing system well enough to find what they were looking for).


1. If you wish to incorporate the Mercenaries’ Federation into your game, note that this counts as an item of Cost 1.

What is Beyonder?

About Beyonder

Crawn_Rework_Architecture+copy

Crawn, one of Tamarra’s Ten Races

Beyonder is an original, low-heroic, pen-and-paper roleplaying game that focuses on melding system and setting elements so that you can best play the story you want to play. In Beyonder, you can choose from any one of The Ten Races on the continent of Tamarra, and equip your character with a variety of mundane skills — from fighting, to knowledge, to stealth, to persuasion. To add even more richness, you can also choose supernatural Energetic Powers for your character based on which of the six of Tamarra’s powerful Guilds you have selected.  To see the Races, creatures, a map of the Continent, and much more, click here.

While we like orcs and elves and halflings, you won’t find them in the world of Beyonder.  Instead, pick from any one of ten choices, including the heolas – genderless desert nomads who are literally born from the stars; the militaristic and serpentine crawn; and the forest-dwelling wellyn, small green creatures who live in the forests and whose culture revolves around the playing of pranks and practical jokes.

Nor will you find paladins, wizards, or rogues.  Players can belong to one or more of six Guilds – one for each of The Six Energies that make up the world. As a Soman, players can heal or hurt with Body Energy; Mentarchs use Mental Energy to read minds and manipulate thoughts; Umbrists wield Shadow Energy to unravel, undo, and defy; or choose from the three other Guilds: Evokers, Mystics, and Charismatics.

Heolas

Heola, one of Tamarra’s Ten Races

The game takes place on the continent of Tamarra, rich with history, culture, and creatures.  The system aspects of Beyonder have been designed to work seamlessly into the setting.  The setting contains deep opportunities for storytelling, with each locale providing its own quirks and eccentricities, and players can easily make a near-endless stream of characters.

All of these things combine to make Beyonder a game about story, rich in character, action, and depth.

About Us

While we formally incorporated the company of Flying NightBear Games in 2008, we have been playing Beyonder together since three out of the four partners were kids: Robin moderated the game, creating vast fantasy worlds for Caleb, Simon, and Jacob (his sons), and Jordan Campbell (who might as well be his son, after the time we’ve all spent together) to explore. (They are now the partners of Flying NIghtBear games, parent company of Beyonder).

As we continued to play and develop the rules, we realized that we were creating a product that we wanted to share with more than just our friends. In 2013, we decided to publish Beyonder for the rest of the world. We ran a Kickstarter campaign, meeting and surpassing our goal, and published our books:  Beyonder: The Science of the Six, and Imbelnhi’s Bestiary: Being A Traveler’s Account of Our Continent and Her Creatures. They are now sold in stores around the U.S. and Canada via our distributor, Alliance Games, and are also available in hardcopy and PDF at FNBGames.com.

The FNBGames Team

From left: Jordan, Jacob, Simon, Robin, & Caleb

The Crown of Drawnwyn, Part 5: Location of the Crown, Recent Rumors

“I will conclude this series about the Crown of Drawnwyn by discussing rumors about the current whereabouts of the base of the Crown and its seven Eyes, each separated from the others.” — Robbuach Shova, ushen Scholar of the Third Degree, Fell Academy of the Flow of History, on the first day of the month of Kalkix, SP~5,013

It is believed, with some level of certainty, that the base of the Crown of Drawnwyn is now possessed by Bardan Mamfrost, a human, and one of the richest folk on the Continent. Bardan owns many homes and properties throughout Tamarra, including a luxurious compound on the First Tier of Naldrin City.  Most speculation concurs that the base of the Crown is being kept in this compound; a number of reports say that Bardan is hoping to reassemble all the parts of the Crown.  According to these same rumors, he is offering a rich reward for each of the Seven Eyes, and he may already have one or two of them in his possession.

There are many rumors about the location of the Eye of Edet, which works with Soman Energy.  Many powerful (and not so powerful) warriors claim to have found this Eye.  Of course, they have also claimed that the Eye has made them into the single finest warrior of the Continent.  These rumors seem to be much more about bravado than fact, and none are taken seriously.  However, there is reason to believe that the Eye of Edet may be in the possession of one of the crawn leaders in the Kingdom of the Szaskar Crawn, in the northeastern part of the continent.  Substantive rumors of powerful Soman feats have passed out of this typically closed-mouth society.

The Eye of Amdrath, which works with Emotion Energy, is also the subject of many rumors.  There are far too many to consider here; however, the thread of truth throughout most of them indicates that this Eye is currently in the possession of a powerful leader on the Tamarran Continent.  If so, it would make a great deal of sense that this leader would dearly want to hide that fact, given the lengths that others would go to in order to possess it.

Perhaps the most persistent rumor is that the Eye of Mark, the stone aligned with Shadow Energy, has been hidden somewhere in the Shadow Plane. There it is accessible only to those with sufficient power, not only to enter this strange plane of existence, but also to navigate it.  Some say that a blink bat* may have taken this Eye into the Shadow Plane and lost it there.

What of the other Eyes?  There are too many rumors and too much hearsay to recount.  However, there are frequent mentions of places on the continent where the Eyes may yet be found.  The list includes the Merrill Gorge (the deep and wide cut in the surface of Ethem), Martown, and the Delfan Mines.

All that remains to say is this: if you decide to search for the Crown or one of its Eyes, good luck and safe travels!


* Blink bats are those small, bat-like creatures that have the ability to blink out of existence in one place and immediately reappear somewhere else.

Organizations: The DU

So You Want to be a Diplomat

Hello, and thank you for your interest in the Diplomatic Union (DU).  This pamphlet has been Energetically attuned to be readable only by someone who has been given the access code, so you must have passed the first set of tests.  Well done, you’re still alive!

You may be asking yourself: What is the DU? We like to think of ourselves as pragmatic realists.  We see a problem, we find a solution, and we follow through.  We neither encourage nor shy away from violence; if it is the best tool for the job we use it and if not, we don’t.   When the leaders of Naldrin are deciding whether to send an army to flush the Scarecrows out once and for all, the DU is there to guide the talks.  We’re also there when rival gangs are fighting over ownership of a neighborhood in Tarnath, or when emotions are escalating because rival generals of the Crawn nation each feel they have a claim to commanding the army.  And if someone (or a few someones) end up dead or find themselves having an unexpected change of opinion, the result of which is greater peace and happiness, who could blame us?

Just as important, let us say what the DU is not.  Many with narrowed vision can’t see the difference between us and the Negotiators, but we are not pacifists too frightened to do what needs to be done.  Nor are we street thugs or military drones like the Open Hand or the Mercenary’s Confederation.  We do not hide in the shadows, frightened of being discovered, like the cowards of Wind and Silence or the oh-so-mysterious Unnamed Organization.  Lastly, we are not like the Six-as-One — fanatical idealists who are so blinded by their own belief in their innate superiority that they cannot think clearly.

As a member of the DU, you will be sent on missions of the utmost importance.  The world balances on the edge of a razor, and you have the power to push it in the right direction.  Your actions could determine the fate of political figures, whole armies, entire nations, or even the entire continent of Tamarra.  

You follow in the footsteps of many great Diplomats.  No one knows when the DU was founded, but we do know who founded it:  one of the greatest minds of all time, a Dwaheely known only as Dkel, who was a master of Mental Energy on a scale the world may not have seen since.  He realized that the masses are unfit to decide the fate of society: those with the knowledge and skill to see what is best must guide the world.  Since then, many great thinkers, often with a gift for either Mental or Emotion Energy, and sometimes both, have joined the ranks of the DU.  There is not space here to list them all; after your training begins, you will soon have them committed to memory.  

A thought will soon come to you — it will contain the time and location of your next training.  After that, there is no turning back: be sure you have the strength of will and courage to uphold the responsibility of a true Diplomat.  If you do not arrive at that location at that exact time, your memory of this pamphlet and all previous tests will be erased, and you can go about your life as you did before, blind to the truth.  But if you have what it takes, you will soon learn to bend the strands of fate to your will.  We expect great things from you.

-Grand Diplomat Shangrai Thotrar