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Permanent @voice and disguised @voice

The idea here:

Someone has a 'permanent' @voice that they set that is their default tone or manner of speaking. This can't be changed on the fly, and doesn't interact with disguise code in any way. You sound like you sound. Maybe you can change it once a week or something to allow for natural progression of accents or tonal shifts over time, but it's not something you can do willy-nilly.

Someone also has the ability to effect a 'disguise' @voice that they set and use as they please. This can be changed on the fly, but interacts with the disguise code and has a chance of 'breaking/slipping/cracking' each time you speak. Should probably scale off disguise as well as artistry, since they'd both be super relevant as implemented in SD today. Good at acting? Maybe had a vocal coach at one point? You can talk like this for hours without strain. Joebaka off the street with no 'training' in the form of UE expenditure? People are going to make you fast with your poor accent and limited range.

Comments & criticism welcome!

Yup! Super in favor of something like this.

It's always felt pretty silly that anyone at any time can change their voice to essentially anything and make an anonymous phone call regardless of skill. The hope is that people are self-policing this to some degree, but....yeah, I'm just going to embrace cynicism and say we could use coded enforcement and reward skill investment on this one. Disguise for sure should be involved, and I can see the argument for Artistry as well.

I agree with all of this.

I really like the idea of it being disguise and artistry governed. But I'd say make artistry govern the usage of it, and disguise govern the ability to make it stick as it were.

As it is a lot of people do stupid shit with their voice they probably shouldn't be capable of. And I'd love to see things change to where there's a bit more of a system behind it.

I totally agree @voice changes need to be less flexible. This sounds like a good way to do it.

It's dangerously easy to impersonate someone over the phone, which I always thought was extremely metagamey considering that imitating someone's voice exactly is almost impossible.

I am generally on the side of allowing players to customize what they want, when they want, but considering how common voice-only comms are, @voice could probably stand to be more 'protected' than it is.

I think you would want to make sure that the "skillless" end can still do a voice that is more "suppressed" without falling into "disguised" (as in, imitating something it is not).

Anyone can speak in a very stilted, formal, monotone and robotic manner, slowly and watching their words to curb their regular manner of speech. It's when you get to heavily suppressing or altering the sound of your voice or outright disguising it as a different one where it goes too far.

But then you run into the problem that that being the most "generic" one would also be the best disguise, and without a hardcoded basic voice message there isn't something the system can draw on to still let aspects of your hardcoded voice shine through the stilted one. In general I feel like you can't implement this change without making @voice a hard chargen sort of thing.

I like this, exactly as Talon described! Commands could be:

@voice is "masculine, crisp Neo-York accented"

-> *speaking English, in a masculine, crisp Neo-York accented voice*

@voice-acting as "gravelly Deep South"

-> You start speaking English in a gravelly Deep South voice.


-> You stop voice acting, returning to your usual voice.

Existing voice wouldn't be skill-tied but is limited to only be changed every few weeks. The latter depends on Disguise + Charisma (or other appropriate combination of skill and substat) and slips via extended conversation, but you can change it instantly.

The only thing I highly disagree with is putting artistry in this. It makes no sense when disguise alone is it's own skill and has it's own checks that will work perfectly fine.
I agree on Disguise and Charisma. Artistry doesn't need to be force into everything and the Charisma involvement already takes care of what people seem to be projecting onto Artistry, but could you line out exactly -how- skill ties into the example you gave there?

All i see is the base message and the disguised message, with no indication as to what the skill allowed you to do in terms of the disguised one.

I assume there's the whole disguise "slipping" thing assumed to be happening there? But I would also consider whether again there ought to be a no-skill end of things where a disguised voice coming from a "masculine, crisp Neo-York accent" would turn into a "masculine, crisp, stilted and forced-sounding" voice, or something along those lines, with higher skill examples letting you go full on "feminine, gravelly" and so on.

In terms of skill, if the @voice becomes hard-set or at least on cooldown, the amount of skill could allow you to strike or change words in your @voice into different ones, or something, with word count and amount of alteration coming from skill similarly to how tailoring tracks some wordage and word volume.

@PCow I like the idea of a minor slip adding "forced-sounding" or "stilted" just prior to the voice-acting message. A critical or extended slip reverts you to the normal voice.
I don't think you should ever drop to your normal voice, that's the thing. There's a point of baseline unskilled human here, but even baseline unskilled human can do stuff to their voice. They can't voice act, they can't sing, they can't do impressions, but even the crappiest human has some control over their voice just from the basic necessities to even pronounce language, so to me the baseline here isn't completely dropping to your standard @voice, it's dropping to sounding like someone very obviously suppressing characteristics, with some of them showing through.
Given a long enough conversation with someone you're familiar with, you're eventually going to pick up the tiny inflections that are theirs. You can tell who someone is from their voice! They might be trying to change it completely, or suppress it, but the little details will add up.

A good way to simulate this is to give each line a small skill-avoided chance of going "stilted" or "forced", indicating to the listener that it's not a usual voice, and a very small skill-avoided chance (crit-fail?) of giving away the speaker.

Again, slipping like that makes sense from a perspective where you're impersonating something, but when you're not, when you're literally just talking slow, monotone and deliberate... those kinds of slip ups don't really happen.

I think 'appear' has a good idea of what unskilled baseline looks like, and it's not straight up nothing.

I agree with you that unskilled people should be able to disguise their voice for a while, but that's just a matter of where the skill checks are set.

It should be easy to make a voice of your choice "that sounds stilted/forced/deliberate" (can vary these), even if you're relatively unskilled and failing most checks. Reverting to your normal voice and giving it away could be a rare failure, and if the conversation is short, it's unlikely enough checks will take place. I'm pretty supportive of this taking the form of a crit-fail; you might just be lucky enough not to drop tells.

No, there's nothing time based involved here.

Let me distinguish it thusly:

You are talking about -disguising- your voice. Foremost, you want the fact you are putting on a voice to not be obvious, and you want to change and alter your voice to present it as something it is not.

I am talking about -suppressing- your voice. The fact you are altering your voice is -immediately obvious to everyone- because you speak in a forced, stilted, monotone manner, very slowly and deliberately, literally just to sound less immediately like you do normally, but your gender and things like having a smooth or gravelly voice would still shine through.

It is my point that the latter would not drop to a point where you suddenly stop speaking that way. You are never trying to deceive anyone into thinking you aren't doing a shitty voice, you're just forcing one, but you're not going to struggle to stay "in character" because there is no character.

The suggestion could cover both scenarios!

A "forced dull monotone voice" sounds like someone successfully covering up their voice (even though it's a failure roll), while a "forced Deep South voice" sounds like a ridiculous shitty fake accent.

I do believe that even someone trying to do a dull monotone can give unintentional hints away, especially to someone familiar enough with the voice. Try speaking in one and asking yourself if it sounds like you! Someone's accent, vocal range and so on can still shine through, and the longer the conversation goes, the more chances someone has to give those tells.

I agree. I didn't mean to say the message would be just "dull monotone", but more along the lines of "masculine, smooth, forced monotone". It still shows the characters that are more difficult to suppress and would go into acting territory, just more akin to matters of intonation. The system would just need a good message to grab these aspects from, and setting that up is what I feel is the difficulty here without falling into a system that is -too- restrictive, especially when your disguised message at the low-end of skill isn't freeform but essentially takes characteristics from the set @voice and slip-ups need to also pick from that @voice message in terms of what they let through, which means it needs to be able to seperate and identify its components.
I love that idea, but from a coding standpoint that means you'd have to turn voice into structured lists of traits.

We won't be able to just insert random words chosen from the original "ambiguously masculine, somewhat Neo-York accented voice"; we'd end up with a "Neo-York, ambiguously, somewhat, monotone voice". We could try to make a list of words that describe vocal range and search for those, but people use "masculine", or "manly" or even "tenor" and "baritone" and it'd probably be hard to come up with a comprehensive list of things that are valid.

At that point we're looking at turning voice into something more like shortdesc, where there's simply a list of possibilities and you select from it. I've always enjoyed that voices are pretty expressive and freeform, so I wouldn't want to completely take that away.

The distinction between 'suppressing' and 'disguising' a voice is non-existent when the voice is defined entirely by plaintext with as little as a single adjective.

There's a world of nuance in reality that cannot be represented codedly.

@voice is akin to your OOC identifier. If you have a breathy @voice, and affect a @gravelly voice, as far as everyone else is concerned, you are a new person.

I think forensic/perception-based indicators vs disguise that allow you to determine the coded heritage and born-sex of the individual just like you can acquire the full accent of someone on the success of certain checks would be interesting.

Frankly, I'm just not sure all this change in lieu of the most recent disguise changes is needed. These are all great ideas but if players are struggling to identify disguised player - I think things are working as intended. If anything, I think some added metrics for staff to determine if/when abuse is taking place would be a fundamental first step.