Friday, November 28, 2014

Beyonder as far as I've gotten

Been meaning to write this review for awhile. Beyonder from Flying Nightbear games is not your usual fantasy heart breaker having a number of unique and different approaches. It has six primary attributes but not the standard instead we get emotion; mental; body; physic; spirit; and shadow. It also has two secondary attributes Stillness and Wyrd. It has ten races but only humans and dwarves are the stock ones. Character classes are linked to the primary attributes, but are not standard either. For example there are no fighters but the body channeling Soman are pretty close. I have been working my way through chapter by chapter, but I have stalled out on descriptions of all the powers for all the classes. Heart of the game, but very soporific as massed wall of reading (as far as I got: FNB don't feel bad I had a similar problem with the 5e Dungeon Masters guide). Although I am impressed with the presentation,art and ideas  of this game a final verdict with will depend on actually playing this and seeing how the various powers work out. I would have done the breaking of the book into chapters differently. Quick chapter by chapter walkthrough below:

After a paragraph of introduction to roleplaying provides an overview of how the game works. Important box text at the end on which part to skip to get started quickly.

Chapter 2 THE WORLD, ITS WORKINGS, AND ITS INHABITANTS (I'd have split this chapter)
Lots of nice world settling info which I skipped to stick with the crunch

Ten races:
The corba like crawn
The yoda like dwaheelies
Heola, sorta like high elves
Ishirs sorta like goliaths
Kamaris fun loving tree people
Ushen like warcraft tauren
Weylan gnomish trickster cat people
Zweyjen fish people, but not evil

Most of race ideas are not ones I have seen before.

All energy wielders. Six classes (referred to as guilds) each linked to a specific attribute, Sorecerers who channel all energies and priests. No fighters, but the body channeling Soman are pretty close.


Lots of history (also skipped)

Two methods of character creation
Method 1:
Play a pick-a-path adventure. Fun for the first time, but sure to get old after awhile
Method 2:
Direct choice
- Pick a race
- Pick a size (really?)
- Pick a gender
- Choose Energy Affinities using point buy system
- Pick a starting organization
- Add some extra talents
- Choose a guild (actually character class)
- Get some stuff
- Calculate a defense rating
- Choose a homeland

Uses essence sorta like experience but spread across a number of things. Essence can be used to master a power, learn a new power from an NPC, invent a new power, increase a talent (like skills) , or buy barriers (like class levels). Detailed descriptions of the barriers and their associated benefits follow. There is a discussion on wealth I didn't quite understand. Apparently finding treasure does not increase your wealth rating. You are allowed to buy stuff with your weatlh, some examples are given ,but the big shopping list is missing. The chapter ends a with a list of talents and their descriptions.

Chapter 6 CORE MECHANICS (seems to traditional these days to bury this in the middle of the book, rather than right up front where I'd like it).
Most actions are checks against talents. There are various timings for various actions (not as clean as 4es free, minor, move, and standard, One is allowed to do Stunts which are special actions requiring extra level of success and causing fatigue.

Chapter 7 COMBAT
Very similar to core mechanics

Countering powers (basically dispel)

Chapter 9 ITEMS
Standard Stuff yada-yada. Energentic items: recreate guild powers in item form, needs a mystic to create

The usual yada-yada.

Chapter 11 POWERS
Descriptions of all the powers for all the guilds. Heart of the game, but very soporific as massed wall of reading (as far as I got).

There are two appendices and  a glossary after chapter 11

I am very intrigued with many of the concepts in Beyonder, but I will have to find a group willing to play the game before I can assess it fully. Right now my game group seems quite content with 5e. Please also note that although I have had the .pdf since June the website is still mumbling about getting the print books out. So you dead tree affectionatos may have to wait a bit.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Con on the Cob Mapping it Old School

My time at Con-on-the-Cobb was less than I wanted due my work schedule. However I did get to play Dwimmermount on Thursday and prowl the dealers room on Saturday. A little different mix at the con. Games were free, but I didn't spot pathfinder, 4e or 5e games in the program. Have to ask Andy what went down (Andy's going to tell me next time run my own). Con didn't lack for games though. Now for the details. First up Dwimmermount.

Signed up for Dwimmermount with Tim S. (Gothridge Manor) and Ken H. (the Rusty Battle Axe). I was worried it was going to be full given that Tim advertised it on his blog but it was just us three. GM was Jim Yoder (Random Encounter Ohio [Nice Pic of us on his con report]). I chose to play an elf ( I was a bit appalled at his 3 hit points but this was Old School so I rolled with it). After a brief time in town to pick up a war dog (when you only got 3 hit point you need something between you and the monsters)  and a torch bearer, we headed through the red doors of Dwimmermount. We played it Old School without battle mat or mini's, Although it was obvious that Jim was a bit new to this style we got through it with very little "here hand me the map" and only one "oh by the way there's six orcs in this room also". Here's the map I drew:

Saturday was shopping. Picked up print copies of Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion from the Goblinoid Game booth. Talked to another booth with a lot of Dungeon Crawl Classic including a good collection of the "Crawl!" zine, but since i am not into DCC right now I bought Goodman games Glitterdoom and the Fey Sisters Fate both labeled as "Fifth Edition Fantasy". Although this seems a clever way around the lack of third party license for it might be a tough sell in court (in general things that are similar enough to trademarked items to be easily confused with the trademark are considered infringements as well). At least I've got mine.

Also on Saturday tried to interest the son in the playdo monster making contest, and ended up making monsters. Although I had lots of fun I am not quitting my day job to be a professional sculptor
anytime soon. Some pictures below.

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