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.

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