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Consequences for Disguise Metagaming
A sliding scale

There was a recent post on Newbie Brutality and players meta-gaming around disguises.

The sense that I got from the thread is that disguise meta is such a persistent issue that staff has given up trying to police it.

Given that staff has given up on trying to police it, I believe that in the rare instances where it does come to staff attention, there should be severe consequences.

The 'solution' has been to expand 'disguise' and 'appear' functionality to allow players to radically change their characters' appearance so as to make it extremely difficult to tie two different presentations of the same character to each other. And the 'balance' to that has been to allow anyone to attack any disguised character for any reason without justification. Finally, the balance to THAT balance is the slight chance that a meta-gaming player might attack someone more powerful than they intended and because of that suffer unintended consequences.

The most obvious "problem" with that system is that the more powerful a character becomes, the less likely that they are to suffer the consequences of mistakenly attacking someone more powerful than they are.

If we take the contributors to the previous thread at their word, there is a small portion of the player base who are extremely good at metagaming and making it look accidental / unintentional / blurred "Oh, I THOUGHT that was okay. I'm sorry."

Given that dynamic, I suggest that the game needs a sliding scale of consequences for characters who staff catch gaming the system.

The scale should have two elements.

1. the length that the PLAYER (not character) has been playing.

2. the leniency afforded to the PLAYER for metagaming

As 1 increases 2 decreases exponentially, to the point where a long term player gets zero leniency and loses their character if staff becomes aware of them metagaming.

It seems to me that unless people face a serious risk of losing what they are cheating for (their character), some people will always continue to skirt the edges of the system and rely on staff leniency and understanding.

I can't speak for the newbie who got metagamed on, but it seems to me that a system like this one I am proposing would go a long way to ensuring both new and long term players alike that there are serious consequences for skirting the rules.

What do you all think?

*assuring not ensuring
In my experience, Appear has done basically nothing to curtail disguise metagaming, and it's worse now that people know it's not being enforced. That might be my own confirmation bias speaking, but again, just my personal experiences.

That said, I agree with what you're saying that there's a burden of IC action needed on the part of the people being exploited that isn't always reasonable to simply say 'handle it ICly.'

Here's a simple use case scenario: Player A gets disguise meta'd by player B. Both players are disguised. So now, if player A wants to take IC action against player B, the impetus is now on Player B to suddenly start metagaming who it was that metagamed them.

It's a classic race to the bottom problem. We can say 'take the higher road, and don't perpetuate the problem' but that assumes 2 things: 1) That you've just been cheated, and that you are choosing to ignore any IC consequences (usually very negative) that befalls your character and 2) That the people actually doing the metagaming here are going to.. stop their behavior? Why would they, when they're getting ICly rewarded for doing so in the form of loot, goods, data, etc.

This is just one example in what I'd consider a whole basket of worms, and I really think that this should be a significant issue discussed during the town hall.

I'd like to see a public statement from senior staff about this. A brand-new player did the thing that the new tools and rules were designed to avoid: Staff just shouldn't be involved in disguise problems at all anymore, the tools and rules were designed to put all of it 100% into "it's IC" territory.

I do understand that (at least) one staff member did tell this newbie that "yeah, that was meta" whatever happened. But staff makes mistakes sometimes too. I don't know who it was but to me this has not pushed us back into "oh shit the problem for staff hasn't gone away". To convince me of that, I need to see a lot more than this one single incident involving an unnamed staff member.

Without accusation or blame, please don't assume that because you don't know about what punishment happens for cheating, that it doesn't exist.
Afaik we've just given up on disguise meta prevention and now it's like, if you can meta-guess who someone is you're welcome to use that info with no need to justify yourself.

I am not a fan of it at all but I understand that it frees up tons of GM time because disguise meta has always been a big problem.

I don't want a "how to cheat at seeing through disguises" guide, but, I'm trying to imagine how it's possible to do so, given that the new tools and rules make clear that "it's IC" now.

so as to make it extremely difficult to tie two different presentations of the same character to each other.

So - what's the problem? It's not difficult? It is difficult but someone found a cheat? People are trying to metagame (with effective or ineffective results) around the perception (true or false) that there's only one salmon striped balaclava in the game?

I don't think this can be an effective community discussion without more transparency.

if you can meta-guess who someone is you're welcome to use that info

Specifics please. What did the "victim" do to ensure that there was no ICly possible way to give someone enough info to guess?

Or does this all revolve around the concept that a guess is far far far more likely to be attempted and less likely to be wrong among 200 players than among 65 million Mixers?

So, we've been given tools to try and prevent this but it's still ongoing. I'd just say remove disguising completely from the game. There's always people that will abuse game mechanics to win. GM's tried to make it harder for us to meta, didn't work.

Just remove disguises completely from the game. I see no version of disguising that can't be meta'd. At all.

Beandip, the same way that it's always been done.

"I got shot by someone with There's clearly only 2 in existence anywhere in the game, so therefore, it's character XYZ."

"I saw johnny blueshroud leave apartment XYZ, therefore all blue shrouds must be Johnny."

"Someone told me they were dead-dropping loot in hotel XYZ and then I saw a shroud come out of room # ABC, must be that person, get them!"

Recent policy changes have stated that 1) Characters (PC or NPC) are the population of the game, and that ambpop shouldn't be considered. See the thread "The 100" I think it's called.

Afterwards, we get new rules stating that since we can metamorphose into other genders, heights, weights at will, and that the burden of proving people's identities is now an entirely IC matter.

These two things in conjunction are not a good mix. We're stating that there's no ambpop considerations when deciding who's wearing what color shroud, and that you're A-OK to murderate their face by making wild assumptions. So yes, it literally is a case of "There's 20 players online in the mix right now, and therefore there's a pretty good chance if we throw darts into a crowded bar, we're going to hit the person we're actually looking for under that shroud."

The change in policy also ignores people who don't play combat characters. If you're some nerd archetype and you get disguise meta'd and you're killed, then your choice for recourse is to then take further financial losses by having to hire someone capable of killing who killed you in retribution- even assuming you know who they are in the first place.

All right, that makes sense Talon. Thanks for spelling it out.
Ugh, forums still eat angle brackets for breakfast.

"I got shot by someone with EXPENSIVE ITEM. There's clearly only 2 in existence anywhere in the game, so therefore, it's character XYZ."

Removing a feature which is necessary for a lot of things doesn't sound like a smart thing to do.
I'm in favor of -something- being done.

Appear helps, but I don't think it helps that much, as Talon said.

Players aren't going to self-police by and large, especially when they're doing something they've now been told isn't even 'wrong'.

And it's one further dynamic that entirely favors higher-UE combat characters in every way to every other archetype's detriment. If they make a mistake and kill the wrong person, which is really the only potential downside to meta'ing disguise hard on a daily basis if you want to....do you really care? There are exceedingly few situations where it will probably cause your character consequences you're that worried about it. And 'attacking someone more powerful accidentally' -- I simply doubt it happens too often, for many reasons.

@beandip Exactly.

Let's say you're trying to snuff someone you know has a blue poncho and lives in the Ashlin Crown. As a countermeasure they've changed their height/weight/gender/etc. You're looking for an average mano in a blue shroud but you see an amazonia chica in one and you think, maybe that's Bob. A few stabs later, you realize you were right.

The point is that the entire process revolves around small worlding. You know it, Bob knows it. We have to accept it because that's the thing now but realistically, giving players the ability to be meta about disguises also gives them permission to be meta about everything surrounding disguises.

I totally get the rationale but there's always going to be a bit of a disconnect there and if I'm being honest part of me feels like it further privileges already OP combat archetypes who now have permission to push the violence button on a whole new class of targets.

I don't think a return to the previous state of affairs is in anyone's interest.

The amount of staff-driven storytelling is dramatically higher than last year.

It's a night and day difference.

Obviously everyone had grown accustomed to the previous norm where disguise was extremely powerful and well-protected, but I think if disguise hadn't existed at all and been introduced as it currently is, it would be widely regarded as overpowered and broken. It's harder now to get clues but way easier to act on them, and the side-effect of that is getting loads more staff hours to do stuff that isn't policing player meta complaints.

I realize many players grew to rely heavily on the protections disguising offered, but my personal experience is the game is in a far better place now than previously.

I guess make it so when you go out and wear a disguise, you become part of a 'crowd'. Only way for someone to see you as an individual item is if you do actions that separate you from said crowd or if you are shadowing them. Other players would be able to look at the crowd but they'd get a number of randomly generated people with the same desc as you but with changes here and there. This would be good since GM's can decide which areas are considered 'crowds' and depending on the disguise level and what disguise they have, they show more or less as part of the 'crowd'. Idk if this is doable tho lol
Solution to current system:

1. Make disguise items readily available and cheap (all players will wear disguises).

2. Make all disguise items the same color (color cannot be used to differentiate.)

Alternate solution:

1. Reinstate rules surrounding disguise meta.

2. Remove appear.

3. Let each character choose their pronouns at character creation and require an explanation/service request to change them.

I'd love a solution that allows for existing staff to continue doing the great job at storytelling and plotting that they've been doing, while at the same time having people around to enforce metagaming and bust chops (myself included.) I don't see a solution to this outside of just like... having more staff. Which presents it's own problems.

The only thing I'd say to that is I don't know that the burden of knowledge would be as high on people doing rules enforcement as it would be on people responsible for running the game. Even if it was a lower-level position that did nothing but filter out the bulk majority of the fluff complaints that staff mentioned.

I could start my own @idea for this but:

What if -

Yeah, ok, I'll start my own thread.

@SolBro

There's the stealth skill which doesn't see nearly as much use because disguise has been so powerful historically, and I think is far less used than you would expect based on the setting and thematic mechanics, in part because disguise always worked way better for much, much less UE investment the way players often used it.

@0x1mm

Why I originally said for the disguise to just be completely removed. Or overhauled in a way that it's not clothes but you need a disguising kit to change the way your face looks and give you another name.

I personally would just remove it since it stops the hassle on GMs and stops giving us reasons to be like "I really hope they don't cheat." Which usually just escalates to "If they're going to cheat, so am I"

@0x1mm,

I don't mean to point out the obvious here, but disguise and stealth are totally different skills for totally different things. I agree with you that disguise is way, way over-used and often at the detriment of RP in general, but it's made to do crimes that you can't do while hiding while hiding your identity.

Disguise was previously overpowered when you'd try and attack someone and then get yellow texted immediately, or not long after doing so. Even in cases where it was appropriate- such as trying to actually steal the goddamn things from people wearing them.

Appear came along as an augmentation to disguise, and made it so that there is no ICly concievable way in which you could link people to their actions unless you were physically present for the shit when it was going on, or somehow caught people mid-appear changes. This introduced some rules lawyering into the use of appear, which wasn't ideal and further placed burdens on staff to enforce. Also, not an ideal situation. It invalidated huge portions of skills, items and trades in the game- (securitech, here's looking at you, buddy!)

So now we're at where we are at now, which is maybe best place. There was certainly good intentions all along, and we've for sure seen the benefits coming out of the change, but we've seemingly made a whole new set of challenges that largely benefits existing, established combat characters at the detriment of basically everyone else.

I want to be clear- I'm really, really not a fan of the Clark Kent/Superman quicko-presto-chango that Appear is. I've left feedback as such and some ideas on how the skill can (and should, in my mind) be heavily nerfed. Because it's essentially a 'do whatever, fuck consequences' verb in much the same way disguise is, except it requires no skill, stats, time or UE investment at all to use, and acts as a force multiplier to an already over-saturated skill.

I don't have the answers, I'm just doing what I can to try and outline the problems that I've encountered with the skills and verbs interactions.

Can we get all of the disguise meta out into the open?

I believe that transparency is the best way to even the playing field.

Staff has said that they are not going to police it. I think that is a good stance to take.

Since it won't be policed, let's be open and honest about what we are collectively agreeing to / being forced to put up with as a player base.

I think the best solution would be to make all disguises used in Red more homogeneous. Make all ponchos more or less similar in color. And give the NPCs with disguises, some patched up variants now and then.
There is no more disguise meta and I will die on this hill.

You have everything you need, code-wise, to fully disguise yourself. You just need to get creative. Go back and look at Slither's original update post, he said this very clearly. If you are still being ID'd in your disguise, maybe you should look at your own RP and tactics instead of wearing a poncho and slapping some appears on yourself and expecting that to be enforced as a completely obfuscating cloak. YES there are millions of people in this city but PCs still stand out and justified paranoia is a thing. If you wanna blend into a crowd, pick up stealth.

Saying PCs stand out while disguised in 'heaving crowd of shoulder to shoulder people' seems like seems like small worlding to me.
I don't know about you but I would absolutely pick out a heavily shrouded man in a crowded New York street and say damn that guy looks scary. If you want to go unseen, take stealth.
@something_wicked

So just to be clear, when I'm 100% disguised, appeared, with my voice changed and off my normal stomping grounds, and I pull out a common weapon and then people IMMEDIATELY scream on pubsic that it's my character, then that's -not- metagaming?

Because it sure as heck looks, smells, and tastes like metagaming, and yet, it's still happening constantly, just like it was happening constantly beforehand.

I stand by my experiences. Appear did almost nothing to curb the metagaming that was, and is still going on. People are still doing incredibly grasping-at-any-straw conclusions on things daily, even when it makes literally zero IC sense. Except now we're being told to handle it ICly, which really isn't a good solution for what I'd say is the vast bulk of the playerbase.

I don't think you can compare 'a crowded New York street' to the Red Sector.
I don't like that there seems to be a few people assuming that players don't do their homework before deciding to attack the lithe person in the orange shroud. It's possible, but how do you know that a lot of effort didn't go into finding out who the identity of the target? Even with how disguises used to work I frequently had to explain to staff why I did something even though I had possibly been investigating for days, or even weeks.

There's also a lot of ignorance where enforcement of the rules is concerned, considering that these 'spooky OP combat characters' people seem to have an issue with always have GM eyes on them. If they go around doing stupid shit they can make waves, which is why they're very careful about what they do.

I really like the current system, despite the fact that I've been paranoid about being meta'd out several times and that I've lost a significant amount of chy and gear while getting used to it. I still do all the work required to ID people before I attack them and I've only ever been wrong once, which was months ago.

I'm not sure if all the paranoia is even justified. There are multiple ways someone could be ID'd and multiple reasons your PC could find themselves being suspected for something. It's not as if the GMs go ahead and have NPCs believe every accusation either, there has to be evidence.

Also totally disagree with making all the disguises more similar because then we're just going back to disguises because total shields against any consequences.

Can we get all of the disguise meta out into the open?

...

Staff has said that they are not going to police it.

Except that in at least one instance they actually did?

I thought "getting it out in the open" was referring to, say out loud what specifically, exactly, and precisely is happening which is contrary to 'help diguise' and @rules 1.F.

So, people continue to smallworld. Surprise surprise. There are IC means to defend against that, and there are OOC @ideas to mitigate it through disincentives as well as code changes.

If it goes beyond smallworlding, can someone speak up and spell it out? Not counting things like "this clique of players is haring IC info OOCly", that's a whole different issue and not remotely specific to disguise or in-MOO exploits.

Disguise was a silver bullet for so long that adapting to the new meta where you have to actually put effort in for it to be as effective.

Basic facts:

1. You have every tool you need to disguise yourself exactly as perfectly as you did previously... You simply have to play head games with both the player and the character.

2. If you want to be unseen doing shady shit... Take stealth in addition to disguise. That provides a second layer of security to yourself. And act in concert with each other.

3. Never assume things are flat meta, when the simple fact of assuming meta is in and of itself meta. There's always a degree of wiggle room there. And it should only be with staff confirmation that meta accusations happen.

4. Something something, one disguise is never enough. Never be seen with your disguise on as yourself.

5. If you cannot disguise your identity into a consistent persona. You are not effectively disguising yourself, and should not expect to not stand out in a crowd. In general the systematics that occur are such that. A base disguise should conceal your identity but not from those who might know you exceptionally well or have studied you and your behaviors.

Disguise was a silver bullet for so long that adapting to the new meta where you have to actually put effort in for it to be as effective, is being hard for people to change into the mindset of.
You can't magically switch what things you've spent actual YEARS of time training and knowing this, this is the primary avenue in which people are using to metagame others.

Oh, cameras got taken down? Must have been player 1, 2, or 3 with relevant skills.

Someone cooking drugs? Well I know characters 3, 4 & 5 have those skills.

Someone whip out a tommygun? Well, clearly that's Player #8 because they're rich and use smudges.

No amount of disguising is going to change that without active enforcement.

@beandip

Two things:

1) That's a great point that the change in policy isn't representative of actual rules as written in-game. That should probably be changed ASAP, since only a portion of the playerbase use the boards.

2) Expansions/enhancements to the disguise system is only going to lead to the skill being even more mandatory than it already is, and doesn't stop the people who are acting out of line, it just makes the shenanigans even more blatant.

This is where the GM's have a bit of control there Talon.

Camera's got ripped down?

Check with PC's 1 2 and 3,

But also know that there's dozens of people with technical skill that could probably help?

Someone cooking drugs that compete with you?

Check with PC's 1 2 and 3

But there's also NPC's out there with the talents.

Someone whips out a tommy gun and murders people under a shroud?

Could have been PC 1 or 2 because they're rich and have the money and motive.

But there's also NPC 7-22, who also have Tommy guns and could have been hired by 1 or 2.

But that's on GM impetus to do things like that(And they have been, as I have noticed a distinctly more active NPC presence, which is nice.)

But here's the other thing...

Forming potential IDing people based on that is small worlding... But it's not ultimately meta... Because these are leads that your PC could chase down viably.

My camera's were put up by PC 111, and so I know that there's only a VERY limited pool because 111 is at the top of his trade, with only a few competitors that might be nameable...

You can narrow things down by how exceptional or not a service is... Again PC's are meant to be the people who stand out in Central. This has been confirmed numerous times.

To me that isn't small worlding. Why would I assume Joe Baka hired Jane Wirewoman master SecTech from East Red, when it'd be much more easy for Joe to hire Bobbicus The Wireman from central?

@Talon

With the system before you were prevented from investigating people who you know have reasons to wrong you just because they were wearing a cloak. It's for this reason that I say active enforcement of every incident where someone is killed while disguised is the wrong way to go.

Someone has pulled down a bunch of cams, shot your output, stolen your ride. The starting point for your investigation should be those who have either done so in the past or are against you and have the skill to pull these things off. Not the ambient population of however million people who are far less likely to have been involved.

You can be as well disguised as you want to be but if you're doing the same thing this week that you did last week, against the same PC or faction, then you're a suspect.

@Something_Wicked said

You have everything you need, code-wise, to fully disguise yourself.

The problem that I understand it is that it doesn't matter how fully a character disguises themselves because a player does not need to provide any justification for attacking them.

(I'm using some elements of the disguise. Assume that it's more than just a gender, size and garment change. Assume they changed "everything".)

Player A can watch a 'hulking shrouded mano' can walk into the Ashlin Crown and a 'puny masked mona' come back out, and Player A can be fully justified in attacking the 'puny masked mona'.

Am I wrong about that? Am I misunderstanding things?

As I understand it, in the past staff would 'police' that and say, "Whoa there Player A. Those two disguises are totally separate, there's no way you could ICly know that they are the same person."

But now, staff doesn't care. They have better things to spend their time on. (Which I agree with.)

I'd argue that the difference between small worlding and metagaming disguised people is largely semantic.

Yes, there's only X number of people with maxed out skill in Y skill. And while yes, it's perfectly logical to make assumptions off that knowledge, it also isn't healthy for the overall RP state of the game to do so. It also totally ignores skills that players have spent days, weeks, or months of real time training skills specifically to counteract this very thing.[/b]

If we're going to smallworld 24/7, can I have a UE reset? Because I know, personally speaking, I have a heck of a lot of UE invested into skills that aren't doing shit for me right now because people are casually ignoring them.

Having been around a little bit to see player behavior and meta shift over time, I think disguise in its current implementation is fantastic.

* Mistakes are going to happen - the wrong people are going to die. It is easy enough to mistake Bob the Super Solo for Jimmy Guttersnipe and that's good. Accident's happen. If you kill the wrong person, inject possible consequences/risk into a situation which might have none by having someone else get rid of the body for you or similar exposure. Easy fix.

* There is a sliding scale of effort in disguise. People are all using disguise differently and to varying degrees. It shows and it's awesome to see. If you go around wearing the same disguise in the same places all the time - people are going to pick up on it. Fortunately, you can literally adopt an entirely new persona on the regular.

* There are A LOT of ways to determine who someone is without there disguise dropping. Just like transformers, there's more to this than meets the eye.

* The Scooby Doo Ending is in full effect. Unmasking someone has never been more fulfilling.

Disguise isn't a shield of invincibility. For a very long time, it effectively was and it was detrimental to the game. I recognize this shift can be aggravating and there are opportunities for disguised NPC's to be slightly less obvious but I think the effort and thought that goes into identifying someone right or wrong is exactly where we should be.

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver."

I think a big factor that people are ignoring here is that the ability to disguise to different shapes and genders is something that people know about IC. It's not as if you are OOCly changing your shape everytime you do it, you do so ICly. If you change from being a lithe person to a hulking femboy in a short space of time and there is reason to suspect that you did so, you may be looked more closely at.

There are ways to be nearly 100% undetectable though, even in the mix. If you know how things work then you can disguise well enough to confuse every PC who may be after you. In my experience most just don't go far enough when trying to hide.

Slither stated most of the time, when an identification was challenged, it was investigated and found to be warranted. How did a reference to that same thread turn into "sounds like there was a whole lot of meta in the past and staff got tired of having to deal with it"?
Quotient,

Meta can often be hard to prove, this is what I meant in the discussion when I mentioned that it's particularly pernicious when done by more experienced players against newer ones. If questioned by staff and you can give a modicum of reasoning behind your attack on someone (and you probably can provide that even if it's drek), you're likely to be given the benefit of the doubt in most cases.

This kinda of meta bleeds in in other ways, as Baguette has pointed out. There may only be a couple of active deckers or riggers or really high-UE secure techs around particularly in a given sector at a given time, if something big goes down that affects you or your group, it's super easy to jump after those couple of people with zero evidence just saying 'well Jane Baka has a reputation.....'. There's an IC reputation for certain archetypes even, e.g. 'not many riggers in the city, you know?' Which is silly. Thematically there are tons, but it's the OOC meta bleeding in and people use this kind of thinking all the time.

But because there are little ways to justify your IC reasoning even if it's a stretch, you can get away with quite a lot if you're willing to not feel guilty about it. This was OP's point to begin with, that player accountability can't really be relied on by and large -- game history has proven that, when it comes to players and staff alike -- and he's trying to see if there's some way to innovate some form of enforcement without backtracking to how things used to be, which consensus seems to agree was also not ideal.

As I read @Jameson's last post it finally sunk into me that I am being metagamed against.

IC statements from other characters,

"If anything happens to our X, we're coming after you."

It won't matter how good the disguise is. "If X happens, we're going to vat you."

As a player, what am I supposed to do? The 'choice' to not use a couple of skills that I have collectively sunk ~1000 UE into seems pretty lame.

Jameson gets it again. This new immigrant has something sassy, they must be the one making waves!

I can't even think about how much it sucks to be at the top of your field with years of investment and be unable to do anything with your skills because if you do, the metagamers know immediately that it is likely you and can get at you freely over it.

Really crazy..

I made a thread a while back about anti-smallworlding, but I was told that no, only the PCs and named NPCs are the ones out of the millions out there who are exceptionally good at their crafts.

It feels really weird to believe that there are legitimately only a few characters who could have possibly done any given feat.

Is that so weird? Not everyone in the world can be exceptional. Not everyone is a street samurai. When you see someone take on ten men in a street fight and they come out on top-- yeah, that's entirely fair to say that it narrows a lot of things down. Expensive items, not so much. But extraordinary skills are, well, extraordinary. Being the best is something that distinguishes you from every other person in the dome. That's bad for disguises. But that's themely, and realistic-- the more famous you are, the easier you are recognized.
No one is talking about 'the best' or 'the famous'. 7x standing out after dropping 5 Judges single-handedly or something is one thing.

We're talking about being small-worlded against when, particularly, one is playing one of the many underserved archetypes, where there might literally only be 1-3 players active in the game, and they get meta'ed against by the community frequently with incredibly thin or non-existent IC justifications with zero ramifications.

Non-combat archetypes already often have fewer resources and means of leverage against combat archetypes, they likely often rely on subterfuge just to leave their place and do even a minimum of biz to survive or try and get by with taking the risks we're all told we should be taking. When the playerbase is given carte blanche to meta against disguise (running whatever subsequent risks that arguably do or don't come with that) the problem just deepens.

Oh my gosh this. Try stealing a car in Sindome. It's impossible to do without everyone knowing who did it. Your only option is to hide the car exceptionally well and sit on it for a while and hope that the person you stole from doesn't just decide to kill you anyway. And I can say that GMs have even used a small-world tactic against me in the exact use case Jameson posted (If anything happens to X, you die))
Meant 'Hek', when I said 'Jameson', sorry.
Look- there's a distinction between actions having consequences and metagaming and small worlding.

If you steal a car and suddenly players or puppets pop out of the ether and say "YOYOYO! JoeBaka is stealing my ride!" when you're shrouded in the driver side- that's one thing.

When you've stolen half a dozen cars in the past three weeks and have gotten caught multiple times ICly doing it- and then cars still keep going missing- that's not meta to call someone out and say 'Hey- this person has a track record of XXYYZZ, maybe they're the first person we should be looking at when my car goes missing.'

Change stealing cars for other skills, and you'll get my point. Jameson's not wrong in that technical skills are -WAY- easier to single people out on. At the same time, you can't just go around getting caught numerous times doing the exact same shit and then cry foul when people naturally assume it's the same character doing the same actions.

The waters get way muddier when you're talking about skills that a dozen or more people are proficient in at any given time (example- basically any weapon skill that's fairly mainline used.)

I can see Talon's point here. There have been instances where my characters were known for a certain kinds of activity, and because of that reputation, I expected to be the one targeted for vengeance when -anyone- else did it and got away clean.

Maybe that's the big takeaway here? That reputation can be just as harmful as it is helpful from one instance to the next.

@Talon and @RachetEffect

Bring up a valid point. If a character develops a reputation for getting caught doing something on a regular basis, it is reasonable to put them on the list of usual suspects when something like that happens again.

That is not what this thread is about.

This thread is about how to deal with players who are caught by staff small worlding and being meta about disguises.

Once a player has been playing here long enough, there really isn't any excuse that is good enough.