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NPC Ganger Assistance

You're in a gang. Fantastic! Blooded? Walker? Even better. You've got an entire ruffian army watching your back - except...they don't always do they?

NPC Allies will engage in combat when their allies are attacked, but not when their allies are subdued. I'd like to see a function that does this. Maybe when a player lacking the proper @trust and/or faction rating attempts something like a grapple or disarm, any allied NPCs in the room go on the attack. Or at the very least, take aim. Similar idea for choking (i.e. Maybe they aim on a grapple, and open up to attack if the aggressor proceeds to choke.)

This makes a lot of sense. I've recently realized how easy it would be to avoid NPC faction members from helping a PC by simply grappling and removing them from the area.

Also, this may be difficult, but perhaps there should be shout commands that rally NPCs. But that's likely a different thread entirely.

There are things the grappled ganger can try and do. They are not helpless here. Additionally, we need to balance this. We can't have NPCs be TOO present and doing all the heavy lifting for PCs. Right new we get non-gangers complaining that gangers have too much support and gangers complaining they don't get enough. It sounds pretty good really. :-)
I'm all for balance, but it doesn't sit right that NPCs will just watch their faction members be dragged away.

And to be fair, the whole point of gangs is that you're part of a faction that has your back.

As for balance, well, instead of making them immediately attack, just try and have them break the grapple and aim at the person instead of instantly attacking? I dunno. It's hard to balance this sort of thing, since the nature of being in a gang is inherently unbalanced-- strength in numbers.

If someone is standing there, choking you out, no it doesn't make sense. If someone comes in from the shadows, grabs you, pulls you back into an alley. How are they going to notice on a street among hundreds of thousands of people?

They saw you in that group of people over there somewhere. Then you were gone. And there are coded ways to prevent the above occurring as well.

Grappling is very often not a hostile move, and there's no easy coded way of distinguishing between hostile and non-hostile grapples. This would make trying to drag a wounded/flatlining ganger away from the aftermath of a fight a huge nightmare, for example.

Granted, I think it's pretty cheesy and borderline abusive to drag a ganger PC away from their NPC friends and then attack them on an empty block--just because you know they don't have a coded response to it. But the victim in this case can still give commands while they're still in the same room.

Again, there is something the grappled ganger can do to get friends involved. If that's not an option for you then maybe the gang just isn't too worried about backing you up in every circumstance.
Going off of @trust grapple is one way to accomplish NPC gangers reacting to a grab on a PC, indeed. But I still think it has the potential to get extremely messy. Especially during a big gang brawl with lots of bystanders, do we want to be standing around and spamming 'ooc @trust joe to grapple' to the person in question, when there are characters potentially dying IC?

I think the OP makes sense, I am just thinking of possible ramifications. There are lots of exploits in the code, it's ultimately on us not to be gamey and take advantage of them.

Maybe the unpopular opinion here, but we can't lose sight of the fact that SD is a game. Right now, gangs allow a character to essentially skyrocket and bypass months upon months of training time and punch uphill in a way that almost nothing else in the game allows you to do.

Depending on the gang you join, the time investment to gain this powerful ability can (relatively) extremely minor.

There needs to be some level of counterplay available to people trying to antag gang/faction members, especially in light of events over the past year whereby we're seeing faction characters taking absolutely every measure to minimize IC risk.

My final comment here will be just this: that grappling is quite literally, one of the least effective forms of combat in the game when compared to actually just using the attack command. There's a few use cases whereby it's ideal to use, and this is one of them.

It's mentioned before in other ways, but it boils down to this:

Grapple is intent based at the moment. There is no way to tell intent. Newer/inexperienced players will probably think they've found an amazing "loophole" without thinking of it as an exploit. Personally, I can't think of any solution to gauge the intent of the PC grappling a ganger. If they're not a ganger, they could be a medic, friend, or otherwise.

I don't think freely grappling NPCs is a "counter" to anything, if GMs aren't being notified about the intent to grab one beforehand. If players are caught using this, they're generally told to stop, then it's escalated from there if they continue. I think this policy is the best, with the current system, as it resembles many other learned "rules" of the game that aren't clearly spelled out otherwise... for the time being.

If there was another command to 'rescue' someone, versus grappling and putting them in a chokehold, then we'd have a clear definition/distinction of intent. But right now, grappling someone can mean either life or death for the grappled.

HolyChrome hits on it. This is fundamentally a code limitation I think. There are times when the code doesn't match up with IC reality, and the game's expectation is that you don't exploit those code loopholes. If you're just grabbing people and hauling them around, you should probably drop an XHELP to call out what you're doing. Same thing if you are tagging in front of a rival ganger -- there's no coded auto detect, and staff may or may not have time to react, but in general if you're doing something IC that an NPC should react to you should let staff know so they have the opportunity to react if they can.
The XHELPs are welcome but not required. You do not NEED to xhelp for things like this on Red unless it is in a secure ares (Prison, Gang HQs, etc...) or something that would be similarly meta. I'm not against the heads up so we can be aware and decide if we want to get involved or not but permission is not required.

If a character is important enough to the gang they have tools they can try to use to get their NPC fellows involved. If not, then they have to fend for themselves. No PC, not even those in gangs, should DEPEND on their NPC allies to carry the day for them. It's nice when it happens but it is never guaranteed.

This may sound silly but what about an alias (or whatever the word is) for grapple that assumes intent to rescue? That way there's a clear line in the sand about what a PC is doing, and can easily be monitored for abuse based on which word is typed.
@ynk

A second version of grapple for rescues would open up a bunch of new complications. I can't see there being a practical implementation of it that's worth the hassle for the problem it's meant to solve, which I've never seen happen firsthand and only heard of happening secondhand like once.

@TalonCzar

Ganger PCs are still low UE and not allowed to use the NPCs as their personal bodyguards when they aren't repping turf. It doesn't take a lot of creativity to figure out how to bypass their protection.

That said I think being able to command NPCs should be a privilege that's hard to earn and easy to lose, not something you get sort of by default for spending enough time in a gang. If you could lose the ability and have to earn it back after a few major mistakes/hits to your rep, it'd be more possible to attack a ganger's support within their gang. But that's another thread.

@Mobius

To clarify, I mean xhelping before grapple-ganking NPC gangers.

Not xhelping before grappling PC gangers with NPC gangers around.

If grapple had a benign-intent alias, the alias would be abused for non-benign actions.
I thought about that after the fact as well, beandip.

It would, however, allow people to @trust for it, while leaving grapple entirely in the realm of being akin to 'attack' so that it could be more easily responded to by code. There may be potential there, but it'd still have wiggle room for people to "bend the code" past its written intent.

I spent nearly the whole day mulling this over and I really couldn't think of any other alternatives besides the current policies, albeit I'm not the brightest when it comes to coded solutions to things.

A common situation is needing to grapple an unconscious or dead ganger to drag them to a clinic. That obviously shouldn't require @trust, but it's still a benign grapple--how are the NPCs going to decide if it's cool or not?

I think the system as it's working now is fine. Benign grapples are so common in the ganger game that any coded solution is just going to have way too many headache-inducing script misfires.

@beandip: Good luck trying to explain OOCly that you were just rescuing that ganger you ganked in the alley.
Don't fix what's not broken...