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Mike Hoyer
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Hello folks! Sorry to ask a dumb question I'm sure has been asked a dozen times already, but I just picked up a paper copy of The Watch at Breakout last week and I was wondering if there's anywhere I can download the properly formatted playbooks?

The Underset

Hey how about another play report? I spend enough time reading them I might as well post my own. First time actually starting a thread on Google+ so please forgive me if I don't get it quite right (I have no idea if I'm posting in the correct sub-heading, for example, and I don't see a wysiwyg to make pleasant bold bits and italics (hey look I figured out bold at least))

So we're two sessions in at this point and things are going well, at least from a player perspective. The Underset are a gang of Shadows working out of the dilapidated ruins of the long-abandoned Mistshore Asylum, a place they should all really be inmates of. They consist of disgraced professor of medicine Renwick the Spider; a deformed, disowned, and mildly deranged scion of a noble house known only as Liam, a Leech; a particularly cheerful if clearly mad Whisper artificer named Sara; and the nearly-sane Lurk, a former Wraith named Una.

Their primary M.O. is boating in under Doskvol's built-upon bridges and climbing up to break in without exposing themselves on the streets. "Underset" is essentially a pun referencing an archaic word for "undertow" and Renwick's obsessions with societal roles, particularly regarding the importance of "deviant" groups, ie criminals and psychopaths, the "underset" of society.

First session I presented them with a fairly simple set up for a starting scenario. They are based in Six Towers. The Gray Cloaks and the Silver Nails are also based in Six Towers, and those two factions are about ready to start really fighting over territory. The Cloaks hired the Underset to rob a fence that's holding a bunch of jewels for the Nails. A fence conveniently established in a shopfront on Bowmore Bridge.

The engagement roll was awful and it all went downhill from there, as desperate roll spawned desperate roll and complications piled up at an incredible rate. A gondolier (-1 faction standing) spotted my scoundrels and started putting up the alarm, just to ruin their day. By the time they got inside, the fence was waking up and had to be harshly (but non-lethally) put back to sleep. By then the Bluecoats were ready to knock the front door off its hinges.

But where it gets interesting is that, despite almost every roll going wrong during the job, a lot of rolls had gone REALLY well during the Planning phase while gathering information. Between a lot of sixes and a couple criticals on the info gathering, my scoundrels already knew exactly where to find the safe with the fence's ledger, exactly where to find the other valuables stored in the building (and how to crack them out of their secure container), and that there was a ghost somewhere in the vicinity. The ghost is important because that's how they got the Bluecoats to back off, when a roll finally went the right way and, as one of my players said "We threw a ghost at them."

Narratively, the story the mechanics ended up telling is a score where literally everything went wrong, but the careful gang had prepared and planned so meticulously that it FELT almost effortless. Which I think is an awful neat effect.

The second "score", earlier tonight, did not go nearly as well, although nothing of real value was lost. The ghost from the fence's followed my scoundrels home (devil's bargain for the whole "threw a ghost at them" bit) and Sara the Whisper decided to try contacting it, to see if it could be useful. Summoned it up easily enough, but it turned out to be mad and volatile, nearly possessed our Whisper and froze our Leech, and after a mechanical failure with a spirit bottle the wretched thing escaped into the night. Also the asylum got lit on fire somehow.

My scoundrels have spent almost as much time on Downtime as on scores. They have elaborate plans and many projects on the go already. The Whisper is absolutely full of artifact ideas that straddle the line between witchery and sparkcraft, and Renwick the Spider is obsessively pursuing plans to restore his place on the medical register and acquire legal (or at least convincing) ownership of the ruined asylum. Liam the Leech is starting to set up a drug empire and poor Una the Lurk is left trying to figure out how they're going to pay for all this nonsense.

Next week they plan to rob a newspaper. Quote of the night "plus if we play our cards right we might get the oppurtunity to kill someone with a printing press "

There's virtually no interest in the Gray Cloaks and Silver Nails, who can sort their own mess out apparently, and that is one hundred percent fine with me. This game is ridiculously fun and I'm finding it startlingly easy to run.



Sorry, edited to add:
I meant to mention that the whole "Instead of the character failing to do something and looking incompetent, introduce a complication instead" philosophy of the game is brilliant. Both these sessions would have consisted of a lot of "sorry, you fail to do that, maybe falling comically on your face as well" if I hadn't held myself to that bit of advice. Instead of a failed roll being a disappointing failure, every one of them was an escalation of an increasingly out-of-control situation. Which it turns out is way better.

How do lightning barriers work in your Duskwall? As I reckon it you've got three basic options

1. A literal wall of crackling lightning energy. Spirits can't pass through because of their electroplasmic nature, people can't pass through for the same reason you don't golf in a thunderstorm. It's simple and straightforward but creates other implications, like how it automatically builds an additional control on the living people of Duskwall if access to the city is restricted to safe "gates". From the discussion I've seen this is the version most people go with (and maybe even an example in the book), with scenes of rogues setting up contraptions to create their own temporary gates in the barrier. I think a greater complication in this model is what it means for the harbour. Especially for the gargantuan Leviathan-hunter ships, you'd need truly massive gates at the mouth of the harbour, or shutting off the barrier across that section entirely when ships come or go. What other solutions have people come up with?

2. It only affects spirits, which keeps ghosts out but allows living people to come and go with perhaps only a mild tingling sensation. This gets rid of most of the logistical problems (unless the thing you're trying to take into the city is a spirit) but makes Duskwall a place you can leave (relatively) freely. Whether Vampires or Hulls are still restricted is a more finely detailed question. Are they anchored to their body enough to pass through safely, or will they get ganked out when they hit the barrier?

3. It literally affects only spirits, and ALL spirits. As in anything with a spirit, living or dead. For the most part this is functionally identical to the first option. Living people can't pass through because the barrier hits their spirit. The fun twist that makes this one different, however, is that Hollows are described as "a living body without a spirit".

Why are there no even-leveled (2, 4, 6, etc) spells in the spell books?

I know it seems kind of silly phrased that way, but what I'm looking for is a sort of official, or at least concise, answer.  I've gotten the question from a group of people I'm going to be playing with, and while I get that it has to do with spell memorization and moves like prodigy I (obviously) can't come up with the words to explain it quickly and simply. 
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