One of the main goals of Beyonder’s system mechanics is to allow for maximum customizability. We want you, our players, to be able to tell whatever story you want within the world of Beyonder and to have the mechanics support it. We have allowed for many possibilities, but we know that you are going to come up with your own, and we want the system to allow for these things to happen. Your character has Talents, which encompass a large scope of actions, and Proficiencies within those Talents, representing specific areas of expertise, but Stunts allow you to go beyond them.
Stunts are a way for your character to perform whatever actions you can dream up, in a controlled manner. They are a basic set of rules that apply to an endless number of actions that you may think up. The most common Stunts are related to combat: for example, you don’t just want to damage your target, you also want them to knock into the creature next to them. You don’t just want to shoot your target with an arrow, you want to pin them to the wall. You can’t see your target, but you want to bounce your arrow off a wall to shoot around a corner. The more complex the action, the more difficult the Stunt.
Just as Beyonder is so much more than just a game of killing monsters and collecting fat l3wtz, Stunts do not just apply to combat situations. You can perform a Stunt based on any Talent. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination. Here are some examples:
- A standard use of the Stealth Talent would be to cover your tracks as you escape your enemies along a forest path, but you could use a Stunt to pick a path that lets you do so without slowing your progress.
- A standard use of the Athletics Talent would be win a weightlifting competition; to do so without seeming to struggle, thus intimidating your opponent, would be a Stunt.
- A standard use of the Luck Talent would be to win a game of dice, but you could use a Stunt to allow your Luck roll to influence someone else’s game.
Without going into too much detail about how Stunts work (you can read the full explanation on p. 126 in Beyonder: The Science of the Six), Stunts are similar to most actions in the Beyonder system in having the following Degrees of Success:
Minor/Moderate/Major/Complete. The more extreme the Stunt, the greater the Degree of Success needed for it to succeed and the more difficult it is to perform. For instance, knocking the sword out of your enemy’s hand is a lot easier than slicing the small buckles off their armor, which would be incredibly difficult. However, there are times when you can take advantage of your character’s particular gifts to succeed at these unlikely outcomes. That’s where Proficiencies come into play!
Proficiencies. In addition to their standard +2 bonus, when applied to a Stunt each extra Proficiency gives a bonus to your Degree of Success. For example, Ordon of the Whirling Blades has Proficiencies in the use of blades and in fighting multiple enemies from the Melee Combat Talent; moving in mountain terrain from the Athletics Talent; and knowledge of Crawn military tactics from the Scholarship Talent. He finds himself fighting three crawns on some rocky ground with a longsword in hand; he can easily show off with a ton of Stunts.
Here’s an example based on the above: As the crawns begin circling, Ordon sees that they are forming the standard Hissrak formation, so he gets a bonus to defending against their attacks. He steps back toward a rocky wall and waits for them to strike. As they do, he uses his sword to redirect the first two into each other, totally disrupting the formation, which distracts the third one long enough for him to position himself to throw his enemy onto a sharp, rocky protrusion. Normally this would be nearly impossible, but since he had three “extra” Proficiencies he can automatically upgrade a Minor Success into a Complete Success.
This just scratches the surface of the vast array of possibilities available to you with Stunts. Enemies can have their own Proficiencies that they use to counter yours. Complex actions might require two different successes at the same time, one for damage and another for the Stunt. For example, lopping off an enemy’s arm while targeting the gap in their armor might be a Complete Success in Damage as well as a Moderate Success in a Stunt. No easy task, but with the right combination of Proficiencies and circumstances it might be doable.
As the game creators, we have come up with a list of Proficiencies and Stunts (available on our website) as examples to get your creative juices flowing. Now we leave it to you, the players, to go out and explore Beyonder on your own. We hope you come back to us with epic tales of how you used Stunts to great success (or hilariously tragic failure) and hopefully help populate the lists of Stunts for others to use. Maybe some day your name will be known throughout the Beyonderverse as the creator of your own maneuver, which has become standard practice in all the regions of Tamarra.