Hey everyone! Masks now has 20 (!!!) playbooks, and while they fit together great, there’s one playbook that adds a little more work every time we come out with a new one—the Joined!
Available in Halcyon City Herald Collection, the Joined essentially hangs onto/plugs into another playbook, creating a pair of very tightly interwoven characters. To that end, the Joined adapts for each individual playbook it can connect to. While the Halcyon City Herald Collection includes rules and guidelines for adapting the Joined to new playbooks, it also only gives specific rules for connecting with the core 10 playbooks in Masks: A New Generation, along with the other 4 playbooks in the HCHC. So, today, we’re providing advice and guidelines on how to use the Joined with the remaining 5 playbooks that have come out in Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. and Masks: Unbound!
For each one, you’ll find a bit of rules information, and a bit of generalized advice. Enjoy!
Secrets of A.E.G.I.S.
Brain: The Joined should choose a different signature device for abilities. They have the same genius as the Brain, but they have a different well-known invention. The Joined shares in the Brain’s Shame, but the Brain player gets to make the choice for “What is your shame?” You suffer the effects for being confronted by your shame as usual. Both characters independently ask and answer the end of session question, and deal with the effects independently. Beyond that, take two moves from the Brain’s playbook: one that your other half has taken, and one that your other half has not taken.
A Joined of a Brain shares in the responsibility for creation of something terrible—the two geniuses worked together to create such an incredible work. But it will generally be best if the two characters have different areas of expertise—both of which can inform superhero nonsense, but which can also complement each other.
Soldier: The Joined shares in the Soldier’s Higher Calling, has the Soldier Label, and can use all the attached moves. The Joined tracks their Soldier Label separately from the Soldier.
The Joined of a Soldier is a second half of a single fighting unit. Together they are incredibly effective, and for this story, they both agreed to join A.E.G.I.S. But they don’t necessarily see themselves the same way, and over time, one may come to see themself a soldier, and the other may come to see themself as something else.
Harbinger: The Joined also has the Harbinger’s Connecting The Dots extra, but the Joined’s memories and the Harbinger’s memories do not necessarily line up perfectly—they may have been scrambled, or it may turn out the Joined and the Harbinger are from slightly different timelines, or whatever. They should both track their lists of the six Memory roles separately, and the two lists do not have to be the same. The Joined has all of the other elements of the extra.
The Harbinger’s primary issue isn’t just that they’re from the future—it’s that their memories and knowledge of the future are scrambled, and they can’t be 100% certain that what they’re doing will fix the timeline the way they intend. The Joined of a Harbinger has to add to that sense of uncertainty, not remove it. If the Joined and the Harbinger shared the same Connecting The Dots, then their knowledge would confirm itself between the two of them. But by having two different sets of Connecting The Dots memories, they will only further complicate each other’s knowledge. They may both be from the future, here to make things better...but exactly which future are they fighting for?
Nomad: The Joined should choose a different two devices for their abilities. They shared in the Nomad’s travels and experiences, but collected different useful doodads. The Joined also has the Putting Down Roots extra, and can only give out a total of 6 Influence, just like the Nomad. They do not have to give out Influence to the same people or at the same time; they track their Influence separately. Influence that the Nomad or the Joined give to each other does not count against either of their total of 6, nor does it help them move up the track for Putting Down Roots, nor does it help them avoid the penalties for having given out 0-Influence.
A Joined for a Nomad is basically their partner in crime. The two of them were together in their adventures across space and time, and each was likely the only one the other leaned on. Now they’ve both returned to Earth, and they’re both trying to make connections. But their connections with each other don’t count—they take their internal bond for granted, somewhat. Their story and their issues have to be about extending connections outward, beyond their pairing.
Scion: The Joined also has the Respect extra. The Joined and the Scion should have the same people listed for the same positions, and track Respect together—meaning if one of them gains Influence over one of those figures, both of them would mark a box on the appropriate track. If one of them loses Influence over one of those figures, both of them would erase a box on the appropriate track. If either of them changes playbooks, then the track only applies to the one who has not changed playbooks from that point forward.
The Joined of a Scion is almost certainly their sibling, another child of the same supervillainous parent. That means that most of the Respect categories aren’t open to interpretation—their parent’s greatest enemy is their parent’s greatest enemy, true for both of them. It also means that their reputations are tied to each other. If one of them causes trouble, then they both suffer the consequences. And if one of them serves nobly and sacrifices to be a hero, then they both reap the rewards.