Interactives, Linears And Downtime

Characters in the SWATT universe have a continuous existence. At times, players represent their characters spending time in the Sussex Arms (and the surrounding area) for a few hours on a Thursday night. These sessions are known as interactives. Sometimes, certain characters will take part in an adventure or quest in a small team, while the rest of the society play “monsters”. These are known as linears and take place on the Sunday following the interactive (TBC). Finally, even when players are not playing their characters, they continue to exist and to take actions in setting. It is possible to define what a character spends their time doing when you are not playing them. This is known as downtime. More detail on the three scenarios is given below.

How much does it cost?

For all the events we run, we aim to be able to provide phys-repped weapons for those who don't have their own, high quality monster kit and makeup, and other features to help make the system more interesting and immersive, both on a weekly and one-off basis (eg. drinks in the bar, a fortnightly ic newspaper, pyrotechnics in certain situations.) We have assembled an armoury which at the minute mostly consists of kit on loan from the refs, made by society members at various kitmkaing days, and kit bought for the society as an initial investment. In order to support this and to continue to expand the quality of our kit and its capabilities, there is a per-fortnight charge of £2 payable at the interactive. This is solely to cover costs and help us provide a truly high-quality experience for the minimum possible amount. We think that providing 6 hours of personal, immersive entertainment for the price of a cheap, watered-down beer will be an agreeable, while still enabling us to do some pretty impressive things.


Interactives take place every two weeks on a Thursday evening (the Thursdays when Enclave doesn't run), time and place TBC. Most of the action takes places within the Sussex Arms, where characters gather to meet with each other, NPCs, and undertake certain actions which can generally only be performed in interactives. At any one time, most of the playerbase is playing a character. It is allowable to play more than one character in an evening, but please note that a character may only gain XP if they are played for at least 30 minutes.

We also request that all players spend some time “monstering” during the interactive. This involves playing a monster or npc according to the Refs' programme of encounters for the evening. Monstering encounters should take less than 10 minutes in most cases, and provide an opportunity to try out different parts of the system and are great fun to take part in as you get to interact with the rest of the playerbase from a totally different perspective. Monster roles often involve combat, but there are many “talky” monster encounters and if you have a preference the referees can try to ensure to match that.

You can monster before getting into character, after playing your last character, between characters, or at any stage your character feels like leaving play for a short time (say to get some fresh air or to go to pick up something from their house.)

Players are encouraged to play as many or as few characters as they feel maximises their enjoyment of a session. Some people get an entire evening's worth of intensive roleplay out of a single character, others find that they can wrap up their business in a shorter time and want something else to do for the rest of the session. From experience, 3 characters is just about the limit of the number that is feasible to play in one evening. In order for any character to be awarded XP for an interactive, they must feature in uptime in the Sussex Arms (ie. the main uptime area, not just being IC in the vacinity) for at least 30 minutes. 10XP is awarded to each character per interactive, provided they have been in play for 30 minutes or more.

The IC location of the interactives is significant in a number of ways; not only is it a renowned place for the movers and shakers of the city to gather, it also features a ritual circle, where powerful magics may be wreaked, and is Holy Ground to all deities, enhancing the potency of certain religious rites.

The gods and elemental lords have appointed agents to oversee the affairs of the Sussex Arms, to facilitate anything the characters try to do. This is where the refteam comes in. The refteam are physrepped as a team of “barstaff”, wearing fluorescence yellow jackets. This is entirely for set-dressing reasons, and it should be noted that when you interact with a ref it is entirely OC – you cannot bribe, persuade, cajoule, or trick one of the barstaff into undertaking a certain action; neither will they pass on details of anything you do, nor interfere with your plans, good or evil. If you need a ref to run a ritual or rite, or to make a query, you may use the call BARSTAFF, or the OC name of the ref whose attention you are trying to attract, which just happens to be the IC name of that member of staff. REF is also an acceptable call to get referee attention but we prefer use of the former.


During most interactive sessions, there will be an in-character opportunity to sign up to take part in a linear adventure on Sunday. Normally, 3-5 characters will take part in a linear per fortnight. This will generally involve investigating or combating some threat or large issue in current affairs, but sometimes an NPC may simply contract some PCs to carry out a task they want accomplished. Sometimes an NPC ref will remain with the party throughout the linear (known as “character-reffing”), and sometimes the PCs will be on their own.

Linears take place in the countryside surrounding the University, though the precise location may vary on a fortnightly basis. Sometimes this really will be physrepping the countryside surrounding Brighthelm, but other times it may be physrepping a different country, or even a different plane of existence. A linear should typically last 3-4 hours, though there is some variation.

Linears are so called because they follow a pretty direct series of encounters (though there may be some branching or alteration of the plan depending on player action.) The rest of the society takes the role of the monster team for the linear. Monstering a linear is quite similar to monstering an interactive, and the amount of combat-intensiveness varies but generally there will be some combative and some talky encounters. XP is awarded to both charactering PCs and the monster team, who receive 15XP and 5XP per linear respectively.

Ideally each player should get to take part in one or perhaps two linears per term. If you have taken part in a linear already, we ask that you do not put yourself forward for another linear while other players have yet to character one. In some cases where linears are oversubscribed, it may be necessary to come to an OC decision regarding who will character. In many cases different linears will appeal to different characters, and the refteam may inform you that they think a certain linear in a number of weeks' time may be one you wish to character. Linears carry more risk than interactives, but have correspondingly greater potential rewards.


Your character continues to exist while you aren't playing them. Following the interactive, there is a window of opportunity for you to submit an e-mail to the refs, spending XP, summarising what happened in uptime, and describing what your character does for the two weeks between sessions. This should be a brief summary, a few sentences long. You may undertake one major action during this time, even if this action takes only five minutes to carry out in reality (you may assume that demands on your time vary week to week such that this is the only job you can get done.)

Please note that it is our aim to keep the action in uptime, and to allow downtime as a mechanism to set up interesting things that will bear fruit in an interactive. Therefore long-running sub-plots that don't affect uptime or significant potentially world-changing actions such as attacking people or places generally will not be supported by downtime and are likely to be unsuccessful.

Examples of things you might do in downtime include:

Setting up a meeting for the next interactive. Most NPCs are very busy during the working week, and can only be contacted by appointment. There are normally free to meet people on a Thursday evening in the Sussex Arms. In some circumstances where this is impossible, it may be possible to meet an NPC in downtime.

Investigating a particular phenomenon or area. Please note that the skills you have will effect how successful this action is, eg. a wilderness character will have a much better time searching for secret caves than a straight-up warrior will.

Spreading Gossip. You may pass various stories around. Where you do this will impact on the effectiveness and results of such an action. If you do this too much you will get known as a gossip.

Researching a spell or rite if you are a mage or priest. Note that in most cases you will need to have secured a workspace and relevant materials to carry out such a downtime.

It is possible to coordinate with other PCs to accomplish a downtime effect you couldn't achieve on your own (such as running a city-wide campaign or trying to pull of a heist.) In this case, please make sure that everyone involved submitts a downtime action describing their participation – ideally, write something between yourselves that covers each of your actions and all submit this as your downtime action. If we do not receive a downtime action from someone, or they submitt a different downtime action, it is likely that the downtime will fail.

You may communicate with just about anyone in the city by employing the services of the messengers' guild. This will cost 1Sh. Per message. You may send an email to the character involved, and please cc- the refs in on the message. NPCs are unlikely to respond to such messages, but at the cost of a major action you can arrange to meet them in uptime. You may also meet other players to arrange discussions between your characters in their place of work etc., bearing rule7 in mind. (drgtiugfihdfgi) If you think the messengers' guild would not be able to find your character (because you are out of the city all downtime, or you live as a hermit in the downs etc.) please let the refs and the other character know. Please note that mass-email discussions do not represent any practical messenging system in Brighthelm.

Some skills (eg. Empower magic weapon, create spirit weapon etc.) take 2 weeks of downtime to perform, and this may be your only action this downtime.

You can attempt any kind of action you think is feasible. In some cases, the refs may inform you that you are only partially successful or fail entirely. Certain actions will never be successful. These include:

PvP actions. It is not possible to kill another PC in downtime (nor is it possible to die in downtime without stating you wish to.) It is also nearly impossible to carry out any kind of indirect PvP action against another PC (such as breaking into their house and stealing their possessions.)

Performing rituals or rites. In general it is not possible to access a ritual circle or congregation of devotees in downtime.

Assassinating important NPCs. If you wish to try this, you may fail outright, or we may arrange a short uptime scene to determine the results of this action.

Large-scale crimes such as Arson or Grand Theft are unlikely to succeed without many weeks successful preparation and planning, as well as the participation of several agents. Security is pretty good at most of the city institutions and the City Watch is constantly vigilant for crime.

Special Events

Occasionally we may run longer SWATT events, taking place over a weekend, perhaps somewhere significantly off-campus with overnight accommodation. These events may involve a series of linears with everyone having the opportunity to take part in one, or a “farewell adventure” for characters who are going on one final adventure together before retirement. These will feature a small number of characters who will be leaving the system, with the rest of the available society playing monster roles. During these events, some monster roles will be more complex NPC roles, with various complex agendas which require interaction with the PCs.

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