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- BigBiscuit 2m
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a Mench 23m Doing a bit of everything.
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Tone in Sindome
Light hearted cyberpunk

This is just my personal observations so milage may vary, as will experience and so on. I will try and be as vague as possible here.

The tone of Sindome, at least to me, is more akin to a comedy or parody of cyberpunk of late. It has been months now maybe longer, maybe longer, but the approach and general tone of the world seems to have changed. The true horror of Sindome seems to get trivialised regularly. Events and world moments are undermined by actions that are nonsensical and trivialise the reality of them. I get the odd comment here and there, but that seems to be a trend to it now.

There have been things I have genuinely thought were bad actors acting to discredit scary and terrifying entities and organisations only to find out that things that were done, were done entirely genuinely. Making these spooky bump-in-the-night types look like Saturday cartoon villains. Again, I am having to be vague as heck, but have examples to back up these observations.

I think in a game world that advertises and pushes how hardcore and horrible the world is, it is jarring to hear about fart and poop jokes in pubsic as a demonstration of the populous at large when there are events going on costing lives, livelihoods and so on.

If the world is meant to be a jokey parody of the cyberpunk world I am ok with not taking it seriously, I feel there is however these two directly competing ideals that devalue the efforts of players pushing the advertised theme.

Happy to offer up examples, but understand I cannot.

This is a lot of sense check for me and the game in general if others feel this is the same, but I feel like Sindome just doesn't seem remotely dark and terrible as it used to.

So what are people's thoughts on this?

I disagree.

First of all, I'm not sure if you're only talking about pubSIC or if there's anything else. In terms of pubSIC, yes, there is a lot of immature "fart and poop" and dirty humor that pops up from ambient NPCs/aliases. If this is a problem that the staff determine is unthemely, maybe it could be toned down some. When I see this sort of humor on pubSIC, I groan and am not surprised. I mean, that's what pubSIC is – a Dome-wide, chaotic Twitter newsfeed where people make no effort to contain their thoughts no matter how inappropriate for the situation.

Think of pubSIC like Twitter or Reddit, but even worse. It's the crudest humor, the lowest-effort comments and quips for the lowest common denominator. Sure, people can be genuine on pubSIC, but remember Withmore is a world where there's a popular TV show called Porn Puppets, for Anor's sake, and most of the populace are numbed with candy, alcohol and consumerism à la Brave New World.

Events and world moments are undermined by actions that are nonsensical and trivialise the reality of them.

In terms of recent events, tragedies, and atrocities that took place in Withmore, I would say that there are entirely valid and themely reasons why the powers that be would want to trivialize and gloss over them. Especially when the events in question primarily affect a population that is viewed by those in power/the privileged class as criminal and dangerous at best, and less-then-human at worst.

The way these events are framed in the public narrative supports that. Characters who try to draw attention to the actual horror of things that happen in Withmore, are viewed as subversive and thusly knocked down. It's in the best interest of the corporations' bottom lines that this happens that way, not to mention preserving order and stability in the city. ;)

Are there any other ways that the world seems like a "Saturday cartoon villain" for you? I'd say that the horror of Sindome is very well represented in the messaging and the tone of the game. Sometimes it is represented a little too much and makes people risk-averse. Interested in hearing your further thoughts.

Probably a spicy take but I've always felt Sindome was closer to a post apocalyptic future than a proper Cyberpunk one, but I suppose the two aren't mutually exclusive. Just a lot of the things like chunky-ass gridphones that seem terribly dated even to us as players in 2023, that can't even be used to browse the ancient, terminal-style internet we have IC, combined with things like the lack of really futuristic weaponry being commonplace sans the Enforcer, same with cars, and how everyone in the Mix is supposed to be so dirt poor to the extent that they can't afford a 5,000c clone really does remind me more of New Reno from Fallout as opposed to Night City from Cyberpunk.

Just my 2 chy, I guess. I don't really have an opinion on the poop jokes and stuff.

I'd probably describe the game as urban retrofuturism if it had to have a label, not a bad thing but definitely a different set of expectations and tone and theme compared to what I would describe as classical cyberpunk (1981-1999) or neo-cyberpunk or post-cyberpunk (2000-present).

As far as the tone, I can't really disagree though I think it may be a combination of alarm fatigue from only being able to care so much about disasters or terrorism or other types of abstract events that don't necessarily effect players directly, along with players adopting the tone that they are taught by NPCs and the world around them.

Suspension of disbelief is a delicate thing, and really only takes one interruption to break for good. I do know that players got pretty burned out from the oppressive tone (or oppressive threat of violence from NPCs) which was normal for a long time, but I think this kind of atmosphere is totally viable if it's carefully maintained as a consistent immersion layer so that rules govern outcomes and deadly seriousness is not undermined by handwaving outcomes, or non-sensical gross-out content (probably the worst offender for undermining anything being taken seriously), or logic invented in the moment and forgotten afterwards.

In the end though this sort of discordancy is always going to be some factor in a collaborative environment that really has no central design document, or theme guidelines, or creative director. It's the aggregate of many people all pulling in directions, along with everyone's own sensibilities or wants changing over time.

For example: There was multiple past stretches where the late night content was kind of predictably disgusting and had NPCs screaming all sorts of nasty things and harassing the same cast of characters, and it all amounting to throwing whatever serious efforts staff and players made during the day into the thematic garbage incinerator. My view has been that players taking the theme more seriously appears to have declined after that and never really recovered, even after the late night gross-out sessions tapered off.

I think players on average will tend towards acting seriously if they're treated seriously, and having serious and consistent types of engagement with the world. Once that serious engagement is lost, it will be very hard to ever get back and I don't think there is any other remedy beyond just trying to build it back slowly and carefully over a very long period of time and taking paints not to break that thematic immersion again.

Characters ignoring theme is something I've taken issue with in the past on a number of occasions.

From characters verbatim reading off twitter comedy feeds onto pubsic, to seeing characters that are obviously 2-dimensional 'joke' characters that lack any serious depth and moonwalk their way around IC 'reality.'

Unfortunately, there isn't a heck of a lot you can do about it, especially when some characters in the past have made a game out of playing the game, and refuse to leave their hobbit hole to troll on SIC for days, months... YEARS at a time.

What I've done in the past with varying amounts of success:

1) Take the theme to them. Sometimes it's a new player who's sponged up living meme character attributes, and some good RP sessions can course-correct them.

2) Comment ICly about theme disparities. I.E. "Don't know what you're talking about nothing going on chum, there's bodies in the street that haven't even cooled off yet."

3) Leave OOC notes for staff if it's specific characters doing said thing regularly.

If all else fails, then there's the nuclear option:

-Completely disconnect that character from your IC reality. Don't give them RP. Ignore their existence. Don't feed the trolls.

You'll be amazed on how a player can go from living meme status to course correcting themselves or fucking off entirely. Either that or they'll go from making a joke of theme to complaining about boredom ICly, which is simultaneously hilarious and also more theme-appropriate.

Regarding the scat humor on pubsic: It's really overdone, tone-deaf and often simply annoying. By all means, make jokes and levity ICly, just for the love of God change up the material.