The last few blogs have described ways to create new characters in Beyonder. After creating a character, maybe you joined up with a few others and went on an adventure: fought some monsters, made some new friends, saved a lost child. Maybe you returned a treasure to a rich patron. Whatever you did, you must have grown, and your Moderator probably awarded you Essence at the end of the adventure. But what is Essence and how do you use it?
Inside the Beyonderverse, Essence is a sort of concentrated form of the Six Energies. Essence builds up in everyone as they go about their lives: it’s generated by everything from normal daily activities to using Talents to channeling Powers. Just as in our world, you become better and stronger by practicing something. Most people have little or no control over how their Essence is distributed; wherever it is applied, it stays. If a player uses the Melee Combat Talent they get better at Melee Combat. A player who uses the Deception Talent gets better at that. But you are not most people. You are one of the rare few who was born a Channel. Your connection with the Energies gives you the ability to control how the Essence flows. As a result, you can actively direct how you grow.
As a player, you use Essence to make a character more powerful in areas you choose.
You can gain new abilities, like learning a new Power or overcoming a Barrier in a new Energy. You can also improve abilities you already have, including your Talents or Defense Ratings. On an average adventure your PC will earn 10 Essence to put toward Character Advancement, plus or minus a few depending on how challenging the adventure was for you and your allies. You can allocate that Essence to a number of different areas, although you must spread it out some.
Generally you can spend no more than 4 Essence on any one aspect of your character at a time. You must allocate all of your Essence before your next adventure. Any unused Essence is lost. This means that most of the time you can only partially upgrade something. The character sheet has checkboxes to help you keep track of how much Essence has already been spent. Once the right number of boxes are filled, you have completed this next step in building your character.
Chapter 5 of Science of the Six has a ton of options for what you can buy with your Essence. We have even created an online utility to help automate the process – but that will have to wait for another blog. Until then, start checking off some boxes and using all your Essence!