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Better disguises
No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.

So I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I feel the disguise skill deserves a little more love.

In my personal experience and to my limited knowledge (sorry for the generalizations) most people that use disguises have little or no skill ranks in the disguise skill, but people do use disguises a lot. In fact disguises as items, seem to be so popular that they often are in low stock on stores or completely sold out.

However, I find the current selection of disguises available to be extremely obvious which runs counter intuitively to the notion of the disguise skill, which is one of subtlety.

Let me elaborate, which the current disguises which are either hoods or helmets, it’s obvious that the person wearing them is trying to hide their identity because they physically cover they face. Sure, you don’t know who they are but you can tell that they are intentionally covering their faces, that much is obvious.

What I would like to suggest is the addition disguises, which aren’t inherently obvious which would allowed you to look and effectively seem to be an entirely different person altogether, which I think is the essence of the disguise skill.

How would be go about this? Well, I have a couple of ideas regarding that.

1) Allow tailors to make disguises, adding an option that enables that piece of clothing as a disguise, adding a custom @shortdescription while wearing the disguise like for example “Tall blonde man”. In the @describe you basically describe what your disguised person looks like while wearing said disguise. This would generate more work for tailors, more stock & variety of disguises and more RP.

2) Many skills have special items that go along with them, kits, enhancements to equipment, tools, etc. You could make a special item, a sort of "disguise kit" which lets you create disguises out of it. Be them temporal or permanent. You could even have a low end version, makeup, wigs, etc and then a more cyberpunk version, one which uses holograms to mask your identity.

The thing with disguises as they are right now, is that their obvious nature makes players meta-game on purpose or even unconsciously.

I’ll be the first to admit, it has happened to me. I saw an obviously disguised individual, whose body type was compatible with a person I was trying to avoid and I automatically suspected it was them and try to get away from them.

Other players, are a lot crasser having instantly pinpointed my character and ignoring their disguise completely.

With a wider option of less obvious disguises I feel, that the meta-game surrounding them would be reduced considerably. Also as it is, the current disguises are not compatible for what many of the very few people who actually train that skill want to use it for. Which is for making themselves be perceived as entirely different another person, who is not clearly a guy covering their face with a mask.

Anyhow, I understand there may be some challenges with implementing something like this but I feel that the disguise skill and the people who invest in it, deserve to get little more out from it.

Thanks for reading.

I also support the notion of disguises being a little more broad and reward people who spend the points to rank up the skill.

It's super hard to avoid the meta that comes with seeing a hooded whoever with a build and sdesc that you recognize especially if it's a rare or lesser seen combo. You can ignore it but some people just aren't good at it, especially when that so and so might be a threat and put your PC in danger. It's a visceral response like "Must not touch hand to hot stove. Is bad. Leave now."

Even just like.. gender would be a cool thing for disguises in general to hide at higher levels. In particular those full coverage ones. I think the description of some of these items even implies you can't tell if they're male or female. That alone would be a huge factor.

Just.. A (height) person. Or a (weight) figure.

Maybe. Iunno. Is my two chyen.

I liked the idea of a disguise kit.

Early in the game I was a little surprised a hat or wig or disguise kit wasn't around.

But though someone could technically use the styler to change their hair, put on makeup (And contact lenses) and alter their looks, which would be disguising themselves, nothing changes and we have to trust the other players to not meta.

I figure it would be a perception vs disguise skill check really.

But it makes sense for there to maybe be a disguise kit or way to make it so your name that people see when walking, even if they don't know it IC, would change to unknown person or something like that.

Maybe it would last the same length of time the hoodies, etc. last, based on skill. Also, that way celebs could walk around 'disguised' on Green/Gold where hoodies create a worse situation.

In the meantime, I guess that we can alter our appearance via @nakeds and then trust the other players to not meta-game and if needed, ask the GM's for a contested roll. (Don't waste their time with that though, please. It really would depend on the situation. MOST situations wouldn't call for something like that imo.)

Anyways, a kit that allows you to alter your features so it's not obvious who you are even without a hoodie/shroud would be neat. (C'mon, where is the lead singer of Craven Silk? [He smirks as he walks past as no one gives him another look.])

No, I don't agree with tailors being able to make disguises. I did ask about this before. It's too open to abuse. I'm writing that taking into account the number of props I heard about that were made by items like cotton (Diamond earring in gold hoop, made with cotton. - that's an exaggeration [I hope] but it's happened) and when looking at the possibility for people with low tailoring skill making a bunch of items.

Now, a shop where you can buy wigs, maybe (But that's what a styler is for.) or makeup. Go Charlie's Angels / Mission Impossible on people. Makeup artists at NLM would use this to make people look like mutants for the movies they create.

Problem is the coding. But at least the ball is rolling with this thread and ideas. :)

These are off-the-cuff thoughts, participating in the brainstorm, don't read these in an official @admin voice.

The difference in level of capability between hiding your appearance (being unidentifiable because of covering up, what we usually think of as simple concealment) versus changing your appearance to look like someone you're not (what we more-commonly think of as disguise) is a huge difference.

So if anything like this were to be implemented, I'd expect the stat/skill requirements to be very high, as well as the costs of any materials necessary to support it.

I'm also going to say that I'm kind of neutral on coding a solution to metagamers. This is the reason I'm not against players who use OOC tools like @shortdesc change, @describe me as featureless, and changing all their clothes in addition to just the hoodie, whether the character ICly is skilled or intelligent enough to take those steps. If players feel like they have to resort to tactics like that to genuinely fool other players, let's let them do it, since other players don't seem to be able to play-along with the theme that their surroundings are CROWDED and that there are more than two "hulking" people in the Mix.

I'd like game-masters to weigh in and talk about what would make their lives easier and what changes to the disguise skill and its use would reduce complaints and cheats and turn the disguise skill usage into something more useful.

I was going to say something along with Linekin. I've seen some folks who have a high disguise change their @description to something less relating to you. If you have a high enough disguise skill, you could make yourself seem taller or shorter, speak in a different accent and have entirely different mannerisms. That's on you.

On the subject of complaints:

Some of the people who think they're covering their shit up and should be unidentifiable just because their name has disappeared when they type 'look me' aren't thinking about legitimate ways other characters (yes, characters) are ICly making them.

Did you cover the distinguishing missing digit on your left hand? Did you change out of your brilliant fuchsia codpiece or your custom-tailored one-of-a-kind ostrich-skin boots? Does your @describe message talk about your long-ass two-tone hair, after you attempt and fail to tuck it all inside your helmet? Are you using public SIC to tell your bata exactly where you are right now, because you haven't paid your private-message bill? Are you speaking out loud in a @voice that's highly recognizable?

Have you typed 'look me' again to see if your hood has fallen down?

Sometimes it doesn't last very long. If the other players see your name on the screen, your disguise has slipped and they can recognize you, even if you're still wearing the hood. *That* is the current state of the art of the disguise skill and items. If you can't keep it up at the coded level, you can't be mad bro when others say they saw you.

Yes, this happens. All these things happen. So it isn't always about metagamers.

Another thing:

I don't see the disguise skill ever getting to where the disguiser isn't going to be obviously disguised. For that to work, it would mean that they could put a different name on screen. Otherwise, the onscreen name would always immediately indicate that they're concealing their real identity. Maybe it could be 'sunglassed stunner' instead of 'hooded mano', 'wigged lady' instead of 'helmeted chicata'. But you're still going to OOCly perceive them as someone who's taking lengths to conceal their identity instead of overlooking them as a matter of thinking they're someone else and failing to recognize the features you know.

I mean, it's possible to code that, but I think that going so far as to hide the fact that someone's actively disguising themselves, by putting another name on screen instead of a nameless disguised identifier, is probably too much.

Thoughts?

I like what Nartbor and Linekin wrote.

Yes, there are many people and changing things/appearances is part of the RP fun.

I can see someone with a good skill and the stats to back it up, be portrayed as shorter or taller even (of course a 5'8 person cannot be 7' tall) but though I like the idea of a disguises that aren't hoodies, I like the idea of people RPing it more.

It could even be fun to get people who do know you to have to look at you and RP "Hey Karen! Oh wait, sorry. I thought you were... huh..."

However, due to a certain IC ruling, some sort of coded disguise maybe can be made?

I think the game will greatly benefit from something like this. A big part of the theme is 'betrayal', imagine for a moment the havoc and the RP that being able to look and pass for another PC or even creating new identities for your character would generate! It would be just BONKERS!

Aside from the obvious targeting issues, which in the worst case scenario would make you "target command to second Joeboy". Would there really a reason not to be able to change your character's name while disguised? Assuming that would remove the obviousness from it. Maybe only names that don't already belong to existing characters? I don't know.

As a side note, I had a character with ranks on disguise that altered all the things possible about the way they looked and still, just by the body type which can't be altered, people would meta game about their identity. As things are, as much as you try it's still pretty much an honor system kind of thing.

I don't think looking like other characters would be a good thing.

There's a lot involved with that besides just looking like the person. Even with makeup and other things, there are other things to take into account. Stance, attitude, sound of voice, mannerisms.

In a story or movie, okay, sure, the person can look a lot alike but even then there aer differences. In this game, no.

Looking like someone else that is NOT a character already existing? Sure.

Looking similar to another character? Maybe. There are people in RL that wear wigs and stuff to look like celebs and others. Matter of fact, there is a CP gang where they all look alike. Different, yea, but similar. Dress, style, many mannerisms. It's creepy and awesome at the same time. (Note, CP 2020 is what I was referencing)

Yea, it is an honor system right now. If the head is covered and you don't have hair to your ass, ignore the description. If you know the person and there are indications you may know those legs or those salon nails, take into account your own character's perception and intelligence and then work with it.

Sure, pretending to be an existing person is tougher than just creating a new identity.

But if you had the proper stats and skills even if you didn't look 100% the same a PC you could probably fool most people into thinking you were them.

https://youtu.be/tyMHo3epsh0

Then imagine you not only have the stats and skills but the proper tools, think mission impossible masks or psycho pass self-reflecting holograms. You got yourself a doppelganger and since there is a whole skill dedicated just to disguise, I think something like this should be viable.

I'm still a new player, so I don't have much experience, but even from what little contact I've had with it, here are my observations and suggestions:

I think there is a bit of inherent problem with disguise as is. Right now it relies almost entirely on OOC/IC separation on the part of the player. The fact that a person is trying to disguise is obvious, since they are the only ones that lack a name. Similarly it would require a great deal of effort (changing/removing @nakeds, desc, shortdesc, etc.) to make it even remotely likely to not be instantly identifiable anyway.

There are a few ways this could be remedied. One that I liked alot from another game was that names were not given for characters. They simply had their shortdescs, and if you wanted to attach a name to them, you had to use a special command to have the game attach a name to that person. I liked this very much because you didn't have to worry about remembering if your character knew someone's name, because the game actually supported you easily having your character remember stuff like that.

I suppose that wouldn't be a particularly viable solution for this case though, since it would require some reworking of the code (though perhaps not that much, since it would be similar to making everyone disguised all the time, just the remembering part that would need to be added.)

Another possibility would be a disguise command, combined with a disguise kit. Even without the kit, some disguise things could be done, but having a kit (or a high grade kit) would allow more options to be accessed. So, what would the command do?

Initially it would start up a disguise generation. In it you would be able to set up all the various parts that comprise an identity (shortdesc, @nakeds, regular description, voice, place_look, etc.). How many of those things you could change at once would be reliant on a combination of your disguise skill and the grade of your disguise kit (or lack thereof). Once you have the identity set up, you would use 'Disguise me as ' and, after a delay to get it ready, you would disguise yourself using all those changes, including changing your name. You could potentially set up multiple identities (once again, based on skill level).

The game could even program in things like a skill check occasionally to see if you slip up on the voice, which would generally only happen at low levels, but still. You could potentially still be recognized by your clothing, but that is an issue with disguises anyway, so really isn't a particular issue with this solution. Perhaps it could help automate changing clothing or something along those lines to help prevent player forgetfulness impacting character skill.

For the most part, this isn't anything that a player couldn't already do if they wanted to, though the ability to change build (at higher skill levels) might be outside the current realm of possibility. I'm not sure the exact level of coding that would be required, but for the most part it wouldn't be much higher than creating a macro to do the same thing. The name thing could be complex though. I don't know how the game deals with names exactly, and I'm not sure to what level they could easily be changed.

Seems like a bit much, but I feel that if you're going to go through the trouble of having a skill for it, the skill should be distinctly useful within the game. If it mostly just relies on things like changing descriptions, then the skill itself has little value.

Anyway, just my two Chyen.