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Disguise and @desc
Help a chummer out

I don't want to like, harp on anyone here but something I've noticed is that a lot of people don't have the basics of their description in their @describe. This means if a stranger's disguise breaks but they're wearing something like a poncho or a full suit of armor, they're effectively still disguised.

If I see Jack waste ten Snailz and his disguise breaks, I'd like to be able to sell that data to the Snailz, but I can't 'cause Jack's @desc is like, "He keeps his head down and seems nondescript." My character knows enough to potentially pick this guy out of a lineup and they sound like an idiot if they just say, "Uh they seem kind of average."

This is exacerbated by the fact that being dirty can apparently hide your height/build. I know everyone is ace criminals and stuff but the city's packed full of people and witnesses are a thing.

Agree with this, also just for general usage when interacting with people.

Would be good if there were a few 'required' @describe descriptors, e.g. height, age.

They seem pretty basic things I should be able to tell at a glance, even if it's just an approximation: 'He's a tanned male in his mid twenties, standing about 3'3" and sporting a magnificent handle ar moustache' would keep me happy!

I think this is one of those infamously debated grey areas of disguise. Because if I have a helmet on but I'm not disguised, then you physically realistically can't see my eye color or how my face looks or whatever. If I'm covered from head to toe in armor, but my disguise drops, what is someone supposed to use to describe me considering they should be able to tell it's me and pick me out -- assuming they haven't seen my face before?
Double posting, I always went by it was posture, height, build etc. if it does happen but then that kind of information is hard to pass to NPCs and PCs realistically.
I think you should at least have to put your height and build in it.
Race, age, build, and height are all great things that could conceivably be determined from a number of factors irrespective of what I can get a good look at. Yes a hood covers your face, but "She just seems to blend in and looks normal" doesn't really work as a description if you've failed your disguise check and are swinging a bloody katana around. It feels like powergaming at that point.
Or power posing or whatever it's called. Like if you want to blend in, pass your disguise check.
I would say race and age are probably the grey area. I mean, I can’t tell you’re a twenty something Polynesian if you’re wearing head to toe clothes.
If you've failed a disguise check then presumably I can pick up your skin color through your visor or under your hood. I can tell by the way you move whether you're young or old - there are plenty of conceivable details I could pick up.

I'm not saying there needs to be a specific list of bullet points you have to hit, I'm just asking that people put something in there so I don't sound like Miss Swan from Mad TV when WJF interrogates me.

*wears a ski mask and sun glasses underneath his judge mask underneath his hood

Suck it

Well your disguise skill is terrible so your sunglasses fell off and landed in the toilet and you accidentally blurted out your full name, SIC ID, and home address.
I agree with build, height and at least some kind of stature. Preferably things we don't use nakeds for.

And I get it Vera, I agree with you and got what you meant by that example. Non descript descriptions that give out absolutely nothing don't make sense.

I would say it's explicitly contrary. From 'help @describe', emphasis mine:

Your general description (@describe me as ), meant to hold the absolute basics of what your character LOOKs like is commonly used for things like conveying your height, build and skin tone. It's completely optional and some players choose to

go without using it. Regardless of you using it, your character always has a 'short description' conveyed when you enter and exit location, and when people look at you.

I've always played it simple. If I see a name (the disguise slipped) and nothing else then I just got enough to 'know them if I see them" and nothing more but what the game reveals. Usually info about their clothing or build and gender. That's what I managed to get.

Sure, it's not the much where it comes to sharing with others but, to be honest, sharing descriptions via prose shouldn't be that useful anyways. It's why law enforcement IRL loves a photo or video. Guy of X height and X build and brown hair and blue eyes and pale skin and big node and boney fingers just doesn't do much.

The real wealth to be gained here is that you WILL know them if you see them again. And if you've seen them before then see them in a slipped disguise you know who that disguised person is.

If all this is about is giving someone who say another person in a slipped disguise more info they can pass on to others via prose, I am not really all that interested. I personally feel that people are way to generous when doing this. Acting like that collection of descriptors mean a whole lot more that makes sense in my opinion. Get a picture!

Any 'concretely identifiable features' would be in nakeds and not the description anyways. If they aren't covered, you will see them. If they are covered you won't. And if the game shows you different descriptors over build or height in the shortdesc, it's because the game decided that THOSE features are what stood out to your character.

I guess I don't really get what people are looking to get from this that isn't already available and shown if it is considered significant enough. Besides more really generic info that can be passed on to a buddy via prose that should mean little to nothing but will likely be used to make a meta ID.

I really think I am missing something here.

The issue becomes Grey. Hoodies and other full to half body disguise as a silver bullet.

When a hoodie slips, assuming no other layers of disguise. And full clothing coverage? Then what has that failed roll, potentially baited by myself accomplished? Other than giving me a meta name? You can know him when you see him. Sure... Can you see how even that doesn't make sense? Because what happens when that person then goes and puts contacts in, changes their hair style, and shifts their posture, puts some make up on etc. And then has that disguise break again? Can I still recognize them without meta? I mean Johnny Solo coulda just turned into Joynny Femboy, and then had that disguise break, everything about him could be different except the frame, and the race.

What detail do we assume has come from the failed roll in an instance where a hood specifically has failed? And what consequence does it have? if I don't know someone, they beat me to shit, and their hood slips, and I can't tell me allies anything that they looked like? A name? Or anything beyond, "I dunno, pretty skinny. Male... Dirty as fuck."

I've literally seen people walking around with descs like, "Just a plain face in the crowd." While yeah I agree that having it reveal a lot of identity is counter to the stated intent of disguises. If your hood drops, you dun failed at the disguise. And if you are canny, you can get away, and change your shotdesc up completely rendering the whole OH You get a shortdesc point moot as well... Hell I know of people who change their shortdesc whenever they fucking wear a hood. From say, Dyke, to Bitch, to Tomboy, Madam, etc. Dirty Bitch, could be Petite Tomboy the next time she emerges from her house.

This is the levels of meta you get with disguise as it is currently. Yes there are people who use it appropriately. I'm not knocking them. There are others, who use the fact that hoods are essential identity glue as a weapon that doesn't make sense.

My solution.

If the hoodie, ski-mask or poncho fails, full head exposed barring additional layers. You failed your check, and that means your hood is gone. It fell, you positioned it wrong, something has occurred that has removed your disguise from at least your face, ears and hair.

Want to disguise your face, ears, and hair better? Get better at disguise, use a wig, contacts, etc, things which are expensive and fulfill the purpose of actually disguising your features. We have those options now, and hoods being a silver bullet isn't needed anymore.

I feel like @describe is a bit archaic, as it's mostly a way to flavorfully describe your character, but it's also has the consequence of being used as mechanical confirmation.

I feel like the flavor is best kept to @nakeds due to their revealing nature, and instead automatically make a description based on the concepts it's trying to convey.

It can be broken down to a little handful of things:

Height (set automatically)

Skintone (set automatically)

Build (set automatically)

Gait (@gaitdesc change? Plenty of options that can be pooled from existing descriptions, more flavorful ones unlocked with +agility?)

Stature (@staturedesc change? Same as gait but for +charismatic outlook?)

...that way we wouldn't even be having this discussion, and you have a few descriptors you can tell the WJF aside from "that mano... he look like a mano." 😅

Yo we don't need a bunch of rules and stuff I'm just asking that as a courtesy to your fellow players you not powerpose your @desc and leave some kind of identifying features in there. What those are is up to you but "she moves like a whisper of poetry" or "he could be anyone" feel insufficient if your disguise slipped.
It's just hard to describe/report/snitch you to other players or NPCs when you do something. I've run into this problem myself multiple times.
@Vera you say we don't need a bunch of rules but you're also asking for people to follow some rules.

I agree that the guidelines are gray when they could be more specific.

You're arguing for an automatic description and stuff. That all sounds like a pain and not as fun as just writing your own. All I'm asking is that people take it upon themselves to make sure there's something objectively descriptive in their @desc.
Right, sorry I meant to say that I see your point on that. No automatic description, but add clarification to make sure people describe the right things.
I'm with Vera.

For one thing, if your disguise is sufficient you can set our own custom @describe that will last as long as your disguise is up. Maybe this is where you say he's a wrinkly old man who walks with a pronounced limp and his hands shake.

In other words, the @disguise-desc implicitly suggests that if you are disguising your true nature, you should have sufficient disguise skill to do so.

When that disguise drops, we should see your real describe, or at least one that conveys more realistic details (if you're wearing full armor and a helmet it should still at least give an approximate height, etc.)

I don't think Vera's advocating for rules, just common sense and courtesy. If a player's goal is to be as meta as they can within the rule system, that's already kind of a problem, right? We should be working together to keep things legit.

I hear ya on the feedback on this.

@describe has not been optional for a long time and that was an oversight in the help file. I've updated that, and cleaned the helpfile up and given more clear direction on what to use your @description for.

I don't want to do automated or required height/build because then people will begin to use that to OOCly identify people who are disguised since there are only going to be a limited number of thinly built 5'5 characters in the game.

People already go through a checklist in their head of who they know that could possibly be the shrouded average man with the gun, the tall guy with the katana, or the midget with the rocket launcher.
My two cents. As long as the @desc is the SAME when a person is Disguised and not-Disguise, that seems kosher to me.

I think the abuse would come in if a person changes their @desc in anticipation of their Disguise potentially slipping. eg they have @desc A when they are Disguised and @desc B when they are not.

I think an automated component would be great but only if someone made the required forensic and perception checks. A lot of stuff gets obscured because of meta concerns. I think forensics and perception should be the loophole to that information. Make the Sherlock Holmes skillset relevant, chummer.

A good snitch is valuable.