Downtime

From Obscura

During the week your character can do things to help their exploits in the next event.

Downtime can be used to do one of:

  • Keep an ear to the ground.
  • Investigate a group or topic.
  • Find items.
  • Engineer an encounter to happen next interactive.
  • Take part in an opportunity offered in uptime.
  • Untrain one skill and/or codify an improvised ritual.

Downtime happens between the linear and the next interactive. Downtime cannot directly affect the world; all events that actually affect the world will happen in uptime (possibly in encounters arranged in downtime).

There may be opportunities to take part in events during the week, which will be arranged in uptime. You can take part in these, in which case you will experience those events (and therefore get information about them), and people will probably notice your association with those events.

When you untrain a skill, it must not be a prerequisite for any other skills you know.

You can feel free to narrate minor actions, which can have personal significance, but can have no effect on the wider world. You cannot send letters to or have conversations with world NPCs; if you wish to do this arrange an uptime meeting or use the uptime skills to send a message. You can however narrate sending letters and having conversations with personal NPCs, such as characters in your backstory or your personal Contacts. Having a think about upcoming projects and experiments you’d like to do are excellent minor actions (you may not come to any great realisations, but letting refs know what you’d like to do means they can can make better calls when you do it).

If you don't submit a downtime, you will gather Ducatto at the start of next interactive. If you monstered a linear and didn't play one, or monstered in the interactive for 30 minutes or more, you will also gather extra Ducatto at the start of the next interactive.

For weeks you miss you may submit a restricted downtime where you can only perform Ears to the Ground or Gather Ducatto. You can only do this for 2 missed weeks in between each event you attend.

If you play multiple characters you are only guaranteed a full downtime for one character. You may be given full downtimes for multiple characters at ref discretion.

Submitting your Downtime

Each player has a google drive that contains their character sheet and downtimes. You'll be emailed a link to your player area after you submit your character with the form.

Downtimes are submitted by editing the downtime document for that week with your submission. The deadline for submissions is Midday Monday. Later in the week responses will be placed in the same documents, at latest Friday morning.

There will also be a weekly email with the State of Clare, which contains common information about events in the world that are common knowledge.

Writing a Downtime

Downtime is designed to create opportunities to do things in uptime, rather than as a tool to solve problems itself.

  • Help, I have no plot and want some! -> Ear to the ground.

This will get you a hook to something that's going on. Chances are you'll hear about something brewing, or get information relevant to another player right now, and offering it to them might get you involved in what they're doing.

  • I have a line on some plot, but don't know what to do with it -> Investigate.

Investigating a topic you already have some information about might give you more information and let you formulate a plan, or make you better prepared for it if it appears in uptime on its own.

  • I know what I want to do, but need something specific to do it -> Find items.

If it's something simple like Ducatto, you may just find it. If you attempt to find something that's rare, your efforts will yield information on how to get it, or an uptime encounter with someone who can.

  • I know what what I want to do, and want to meet some specific NPCs to make it happen -> Engineer an encounter.

If you have a specific idea in mind, this is how to progress that idea. If you want to persuade some people of a course of action, set up a meeting with them. If you need an item and know who has it, ask them to bring it to the venue (you can then try to trade for it, try to steal it from them, or whatever). If you want to set two groups on each other, invite them both and see if you can engineer an incident between them. If you want to kill someone, invite them to a "parley", along with some assassins... The encounter isn't guaranteed to take the form you intend, but it's almost certain that something will happen as a result of your efforts.

Example

Downtime:
I've heard of a new criminal group moving in to Clare. Send a message to House Gabrielli warning them of this.

I had a lovely chat with Bob the Elemental last linear. I plan to summon Bob and talk more about what we can do for each other. I'm considering sacrificing the ability to use an umbrella on Tuesdays for Infinite Cosmic Power.

Learn Investigator with my spare skill slot.

Response:
House Gabrielli are interested and would like to talk about this new group and what you can do together to counter them. They'll send a representative to you at the next meeting.
Sending messages to world NPCs does nothing in itself, so this instead engineered an uptime encounter.

Thanks for letting us know your plans, we look forward to you summoning Bob and wish you luck trying this very ambitious bargain.

You are now trained in Investigation.