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[MAJOR] New 'appear' command
Change how your character is presenting themselves

INTRO

We have been looking for ways to reduce meta around disguise, and also increase the ability for players to present their characters to others in our coded systems the same way they are presenting them in roleplay with other characters.

As such, we spent a fair amount of time scoping out and discussing a system for changing your physical appearance and presentation so that things like your gender or your short description were more fluid based on the roleplay you were taking part in, or how your character has been developing.

DISCLAIMER

This code is still very new and may have some bugs or issues. Please report these over xhelp and submit an @bug if you encounter any issues.

We are actively seeking feedback on this code (please feel free to reply to this thread). This code will EVOLVE over time as we identify places to better it, places where we may need to further gate appearance changes behind skill of item checks, or where we see people abusing or misusing the code. We will make improvements and changes based on feedback!

Syntax: appear / appear (option)

The 'appear' command is used to slightly alter your appearance and demeanor. It is an IC command that you can use when your character is affecting a physical change such as hunching, trying to appear taller, sucking in their tummy to appear skinnier, pushing out their belly to appear fatter, or appearing more feminine, masculine, or androgynous than they typically are.

Appear is available to everyone, but some of the abilities it offers are only available when the character has a high enough disguise skill. Appear is a powerful command that can enhance your roleplay in a variety of ways. It can be coupled with disguises to make you increasingly unrecognizable amongst the sea of people in Withmore City.

Appear physically changes how your character is presenting themselves to the world. If you appear taller, your short description will change. If you appear shorter, your short description will change. The same goes for your gender.

Below you will find a more detailed explanation of some of what you can do.

APPEAR

Simply typing the command with no options will show you a list of what you can do. This will change as you increase your disguise.

APPEARING

This will show you the appearances you are currently affecting.

APPEAR TALLER

You straighten your back, adjust your shoes (possibly putting in some lifts) and you appear taller. If you were previously short, you would now appear average. You must be wearing shoes for this to work.

APPEAR SHORTER

You adopt a hunch, and appear shorter. Your short description will go down a level (if possible).

APPEAR FATTER

You push out your belly and appear fatter than you are. You must be covering your abdomen with clothing for this to work.

APPEAR SKINNIER

You suck in your belly and appear skinnier. You must be covering your abdomen for this to work.

APPEAR

You can appear as a short description that is not your physical gender (if you want to change your physical gender short desc you still use @shortdesc change). For example if you are masculine, you can 'appear hag' to change your characters pronouns to the feminine, and appear as a 'hag' in your short description. Your characters ACTUAL pronouns will change.

STOP APPEARING

At any point you can choose to 'stop appearing

WHAT BREAKS APPEARANCE?

Unlike disguise, the appearance your character is presenting will not 'break' over time based on things you say or do. The exception here is if you remove certain articles of clothing that are allowing your appearance to not be broken. For appearing taller, this is your shoes. For appearing masculine/feminine/etc it is your groin being covered.

HOW BIG ARE THESE APPEARANCE CHANGES

You can't go from a midget to tall or tall to a midget. You can't go from skinny to fat. You can only 'go up a level' or 'go down a level' so to speak.

CAVEATS

If you are already tall, your short description is not going to change. If you are already midget, it won't change. If you are already feminine, you can't be more feminine, or masculine more masculine. This applies across the board to the different options.

Another caveat is that your characters @voice will NOT change. You will have to change this manually as you see fit.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WHEN PRESENTING A DIFFERENT APPEARANCE

You must ROLEPLAY the appearance you are affecting. If you are affecting the appearance of a hag, you should roleplay as such. If you are affecting the appearance of a bro, when your character typically presents themselves as dainty and feminine, you should be roleplaying your character moving and talking like a bro.

SOMEONE IS PRESENTING AS TALLER OR MASCULINE BUT MY CHARACTER CAN TELL THEY AREN'T REALLY

Then your character believes they aren't tall or masculine. If you notice someone with their back straight attempting to appear taller than they are YOU NOTICE IT ICly. If you notice someone using masculine pronouns where they used to have feminine ones, that is your character noticing the person is presenting themselves as masculine where they previously presented as feminine or androgynous. This is the cyberpunk future, and gender is fluid here.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT THE GAME?

As of now, with minimal effort you can change your / height / weight / gender as presented in short description and in pronouns used when other people look at your character. This means that there no longer has to be one 'puny man' or 'short hag' in the game walking around disguised making it easy to pick out who they are from a meta stand point.

My goal with disguise has always been to make it so that if you can guess who someone is, you know who they are. That way the GMs do not have to ever deal with complaints of people being meta about disguise because everyone has within their power the ability to increase their disguise skill, and then take the time to write a new description, change their @voice, change their mannerisms and clothes and weapons, and be unrecognizable in a city of 65+ million people. That is the goal. This is a step in that direction.

Another change to this is that gender can be more fluid and up to the person roleplaying. This does NOT mean that presenting yourself as female means you do not have male genitalia or vice versa. It means you are presenting yourself as feminine or masculine. Cyberpunk future. Gender fluid.

COMPLAINTS & CONFUSION

A change like this is sure to garner some complaints and confusion. I welcome the opportunity to hear other peoples points of view on this, and to potentially adjust the code to be more straight forward, or themely. However, please remember that we aren't trying to tackle real world issues of gender here. We are creating systems with which players can better represent to the game world how they are playing their character, and to allow people leeway in their characters short descriptions to reduce meta & means of identifying people that would not be present if we truly had 65 million people in the city.

Keep your comments on topic!

-- S

(Edited by Slither at 3:50 pm on 2/9/2020)



COOLDOWN

There is a cooldown on how quickly you can change your appearance. This cooldown is dependent on your skill level. As it goes higher, the cooldown goes down.

(Edited by Slither at 4:31 pm on 2/9/2020)


DISGUISES

If you are disguised and you change your appearance, your gender will change but you will need to re-disguise to have your short description update. This is PURPOSEFUL as you need to prepare/plan before you start disguising up.

(Edited by Slither at 4:41 pm on 2/9/2020)

This is a very cool improvement and I'm happy to see it! Whether your character's trying to put on a more meta-proof disguise, or changing their presented gender for any other reason, this feature's really useful.

I sent a bug report in (MOO-8192) related to "stop appearing" (it changes you to something on the wrong shortdesc list) but in the meantime the workaround is straightforward: just do another shortdesc change manually and you're good.

STOP APPEARING

You can now 'stop appearing' or 'stop app' to stop all affected appearances.

MOO-8192 is fixed, thanks Fengshui!
BIOLOGICAL SEX

Use @born-sex me to define your character's sex as it was designated when they were born. For many characters, this may be the same as the character's present day gender. You don't have to set this if it doesn't apply to you, but you are welcome to do so.

This will be expressed in blood work, though its not going to show up in old blood samples. If you'd like specific karyotypes as part of your character's back story to show up in your blood as part of your biological sex, we can support this via a custom BIOLOGICAL-SEX-CHROMASOMES rp info flag staff can set if you file a @service-request.

With the new change, using pronouns in description/nakeds has become more important, and I've noticed that some descriptions use gendered terms. Suggestion: we could add a substitution % for shortdesc and list it in "help pronouns."

So "The thin %c's sharp cheekbones" becomes "The thin gentleman's sharp cheekbones" depending on shortdesc (or appear, if active).

I'm blown away.

I've been wanting to be able to codedly stuff pillows in my shirt or wear lifts for disguising for so long, this is amazing. Big props to the team!

Yeah, this is all incredible, and huge, for characters investing into this and trying to engage more in subterfuge. Really interesting addition, I can't wait to see how it plays out, gets tweaked, etc. My knee-jerk reaction is that disguise might go from kinda meh-okay to WHOA TOO GOOD, which is actually exciting! Really cool, fantastic work staff!
This is a good change for the game because people will be less meta.

It is also broken in its current presentation. In the form of being incredibly overpowered.

Nothing breaks my immersion more than having a tiny dude randomly become a curvy gal in an instant when they walk into bars. People will begin using this in the most absurd ways just so that they NEVER get identified on the streets no matter what they do and to always get away with everything.

I am proposing a change where working towards a new appear combination takes a period of time. That forces you to plan your identities ahead of time and prevents abusive use of this system. It may be a few hours or days, a value determined by the difficulty of assuming your new identity (e.g. the delta of current vs desired).

Also there should be a hard cap on whether you can combine different attributes. Sure you may try to appear taller but not fatter or the opposite gender all at the same time! Maybe only one different adjective would be more balanced.

Otherwise I can become a puny dude, stroll in with a shroud, kill Johnny McGraw, change myself to average dyke, over and over, in a matter of a couple commands.

APPEAR CITIZEN

A bunch of androgynous/ambiguous short descriptions are available when using the new APPEAR command.

person, kid, urchin, human, citizen, elder, fossil, fleshbag, denizen, queer, neut, urchin, snack, walker, chum, charmer, star, walker, mate, smoker, meatsicle, punk, clone, fleshbag, wageslave, androog

I am outright taken aback I am so impressed with all of these amazing additions.

These are not only fantastic gameplay improvements, they're great expansions on character presentation and identity.

Clothes sometimes have "% is" descriptions, and there may need to be new support for "they are wearing..." when using the singular-they.
This is even better than I could have imagined. Every single part of this change is fantastic. Thanks so much.

10/10, would appear again.

I personally am worried that enhanced disguises and appear have beefed disguise so much without good IC means of breaking through disguises without being meta have not really been introduced at the same rate.

I am 1005 against being meta when it comes to disguises but I am would really like to see new ways for forensics and cyber ware and perception to be used to help people overcome super-duper disguised people.

I don't want to go into details on how this could be done as this is not the place for it but I do want to express my concern that we have been really empowering disguises a lot and I don't feel we've done enough to help people deal with this ICly.

All that aside, super cool changes and enhancements! Very awesome!

Love, love, love this. All of it. 10/10. Any updates to balance this out and prevent people from abusing it are also appreciated.
The counter is clearly social intuition. If someone's walking in to a corp saying they're a new-hire, it's up to you to have them vetted before you give out the employment key.

If someone does an @social in a uniquely behavioral way, that's a good hint.

If someone neglects to change their @voice before or after, that's a good hint.

If you notice a familiar @naked or @describe, there's another hint.

There are a -ton- of additional hints. @smell, word choices, weapon preference, etc.

To be able to disguise convincingly, you need to do a -lot- of prep work and post-work.

...

Now if you're just upset about not being able to identify a killer, well, you shouldn't be able to identify based on a professional shroud-wearer anyway, and this seems to be excellent for anti-meta guesswork. 😊

I see a lot of people using appear and then not updating their @nakeds or @describe with %pronouns, which I don't even know how to react to. Fix your shit chummers!
GENDER BUG

I fixed the issue that was causing peoples genders to get messed up. Sorry about that! I updated everyone back to their original gender. If you were missed or I got it wrong, put in a service request.

There was a huge brainstorm in OOC-Chat about a gender-neutral @shortdesc list. Among the many, many great ideas, "Chen" came up as the corollary to "Chola" and "Cholo" on the male and female @shortdesc options.

With this in mind, and in the interest of eliminating one of the only roles represented in the game which appears gender-limited, I have an @idea slash Theme topic about Deathball players.

It's not 100% mine, one person in the XOOC said "I think Chen changing IC for the term to work would be great." I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. But I'll put it in Theme and afterwards see if I come up with some specific @idea topic for making these things ICly clear.

It seems like we are quickly approaching the point of having so many different tag variations that we might as well just let people come up with their own.

Where does it stop? Droog, Droogette, Droogx?

The list that Johnny shared on 2/9 was at least 80% gender neutral.

It seems that people using non-gendered appearances die as “ corpse” rather than “male corpse” or “female corpse”. While I haven’t looked into it hard enough, I’d wonder if a man appearing as a woman died, the corpse would be a “female corpse”.

When you die I don’t think you have a demeanor anymore - so your corpse should revert to whichever type of gender you are without use of appear. This would also stop the “ corpses”.

Alternatively all corpses are genderless by naming convention.
Why? Why get rid of a perfectly good description for no reason?
Because the corpse is still nondescript until its groin is exposed.
Now that I have had a few days to work with this I can fully appreciate the magnitude of this change.

This is AMAZING!

Thank you to everyone who identified the need for this, conceptualized the solution, and the did the actual hard work with the implementation and coding.

I am not going to proclaim that this fully eliminates a lot of the small worlding around disguise meta. But it does make such things extremely less likely if people who are disguising themselves take the time to adjust their APPEARance as well.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

If you appear as a different gender your xooc gender even changes to match! Not sure if that's a bug or a feature but it's cool!

(discovered by ripping crashdown's face off.)

I've noticed that the appear command is possibly messing with poses. Anyone else? I was using using the appear chum one and it wasn't adding an s to verbs.

So .watche the TV was:

A lithe chum watche the TV.

I turned it off and just had chum as my shortdesc and it started working. Not sure what I did or if it's a known issue but I figured I'd pop it in here in case staff weren't aware.

Still super pumped about the changes!

@floored: That is intended for grammar reasons I'm pretty sure.

.watche the TV, "This show is shite.." I .point at the bad effects on screen with a sneer.

A lithe chum watche the TV, "This show is shite.." they point at the bad effects on screen with a sneer.

So it is now required to put an 's' at the end of your first .pose if you want it to look right.

Honestly, I feel like it's a tad OP, feel like this needs to have more of the disguise skill put into it to actually properly work.
It does. You can change your gender without any disguise skill at all.

I think that serves a useful purpose for characters who present as a gender different than their biological sex, but it is a very powerful disguise skill. Maybe limiting gender changes via “appear” to once every 24 hours without the disguise skill would be helpful. Right now, changing your gender is the first thing anyone does when they put on a hood.

Personally, I don't think the groin being exposed should "reveal" someone's "true" gender in the future of 2105, but I get why it works like that for code reasons to prevent it from being completely OP.
Revealing the groin does not change the gender of a corpse, interestingly. I’m not sure what that says about the world.
I think maybe changing your appeared gender should have a chance to fail when you're disguised, since a lot of people use it when they are disguised, to further complicate their disguise. Just about anyone, no matter how masculine/feminine uses it when they disguise themselves now, is something I've noticed. Just pondering on how to prevent this from being overly abused. Sure, if a trans person disguised themselves, this would make it harder for them to appear as the other gender, if this fix was made. So maybe there is a better solution I haven't thought about. Just throwing ideas out there.
Can we get some underlined policy on using this feature as a joke as well?

I've been hearing SIC chatter of people "making themselves appear like X/Y/Z" in some... hamfisted ways and it's rather gamey. The whole purpose of this feature was to enrich the disguise system, not to be a shapeshifting blob in front of your friends.

Does this make your disguise degrade faster if you have more layers of disguise on you? If not this should be considered. As others have said, it's a bit OP.
I agree with villa, the effort of holding an unnatural posture should cost something.

Especially in combat. I feel like immediately losing the "appear" when combat starts just makes sense.

And I'm not married to the idea of the disguise breaking faster with an "appear" on, but, if just the appear part got reset sometime before the disguise breaks, that seems reasonable too (to me).

@beandip I disagree. There is literally a disguise in game that mentions you -should- have no ability to properly tell the build of gender of the person wearing. I don't think the appear system is OP, it is meant to trick people because folks honestly think telling a build or height is valid to catching someone in a helmet and other concealing items.

You shouldn't be using it as a guess if a disguise doesn't break to begin with, why does seeing true build/sex matter?

It's very handwavey, but all right. I recognize that my comment is a nerf, but it also restores a certain amount of risk to disguising up specifically for the sake of attacking.
Sorry if it seemed like I was targeting you. In general people shouldn't care because of the context that appear adds no disguise points. The only thing is for is to stop the rampant meta with disguises involving people seeing a build and going 'that is Joe Baka!'. An intact disguise should always be respected unless someone gives real detail to who they are, no matter if you know that build/shroud in an ooc sense.
BUG : APPEAR / Cloning

When using 'go clone' to enter a new clone, the new clone has the same APPEAR configuration as the character had when they saw the red screen of death.

To be clear this is a 'clean' clone, not a corpse clone.

BUG : APPEAR / Pose

When using APPEAR options, the Pose command is not properly parsing verbs.

For example:

A character who has typed 'stop appearing' and does not have any options said, can type '.nod at Joe.' and people will see 'Jane nods at Joe.'

A character who is Appearing differently can type the same '.nod at Joe.' and people will see 'Character nod at Joe.' without the appended S (nodS).

This happens 100% of the time.

Using gender-neutral @shortdescs with Appear causes NPC drivers (ie. CHEX, Skyfox) to ignore spoken commands. Gender-neutral @shortdescs are also the problematic factor with posing as Hek refers to above.
We have made the choice after a bunch of bugs and investigations and hotfixes to switch the androg gender from using they/them pronouns to Ze/zir due to technical limitations with our foundational language processing code. The language processors we have in place just aren't set up to deal with 'are' as in "they are standing here' instead of 'X is standing here'. It is also causing issues with pose.

We have switched androg to using Ze/zir pronouns which you can read about here. This maintains the same language constructs as existing pronouns and means it works with our existing systems which we've built a lot of code upon.

Unlike disguise, the appearance your character is presenting will not 'break' over time based on things you say or do. The exception here is if you remove certain articles of clothing that are allowing your appearance to not be broken. For appearing taller, this is your shoes. For appearing masculine/feminine/etc it is your groin being covered.

--

Another change to this is that gender can be more fluid and up to the person roleplaying. This does NOT mean that presenting yourself as female means you do not have male genitalia or vice versa. It means you are presenting yourself as feminine or masculine. Cyberpunk future. Gender fluid.

As of now being naked will break a character's chosen gender appearance, which I think runs contrary to allowing for player choice with gender presentation, as they will have a 'true' gender which remains locked to their sex, and which is 'revealed' by their body.

I think players should be allowed to present as any gender they wish, regardless of their anatomy or state of dress.

I'd like to post some feedback here, after several months of using the command heavily, as well as seeing other people use the command.

While I initially really liked this command, I've since left several bits of feedback with staff regarding it's use, and there's been more than a few global OOC shouts about people not using the command correctly I.E. roleplaying disguising themselves.

I think appear really needs to have some serious coded restrictions placed upon it. There's been a lot of great suggestions in this thread about introducing items to the game to enable it's usage, making people use a mirror or doing it someplace that's private or off the beaten path, etc. I'm not sure where the distinction needs to be made, but it's literally a daily occurrence seeing people -not- roleplaying appearance changes, -not- taking into account their stats and skills, and -not- using any form of realism or common sense when it comes to restricting themselves on it's usage.

I think the workload of trying to enforce what's been deemed the 'correct' utilization of the command is an undue burden on staff, and that players also really shouldn't be responsible for reporting people cheesing appear when it's so pervasive and commonplace. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I think that people are intentionally cheating or not following the spirit of the game in using it- I think that many people simply don't realize that the command is supposed to come with a lot of OOC restrictions placed on it that aren't paired with coded restrictions.

I'd suggest the following changes:

1. Cap the number of 'attributes' you can change with the appear command on a sliding scale that scales with your disguise skill, with everyone being capable of one change at base (no investment of UE), two at a moderate level of skill investment, and three with a high level of skill investment. This still allows people to be gender fluid and use whatever gender appear they like, whenever they like, but prevents an average playa from walking into a phone booth and coming out a hulking lesbian with zero skills involved.

2. Remove some of the 'vague' gender neutral descriptors, or stick them behind a non-trivial disguise skill barrier. I've been seeing an increasing number of 'average humans' walking around and this information is quite literally, completely useless. You, me, Jane across the street or whoever else can't exactly act on information presented when 'average human' enters the room. "Help! I'm being chased and shot by a shrouded average human!" should be a comedy line, not examples of gritty RPI gameplay, in my mind.

3. Cap the number of appearance changes you can effect at some relatively low number per hour, and possibly put this timer on a sliding scale that scales with disguise skill. We, as players, should be making strategic decisions about when and how to try and disguise ourselves, and we're forced to do so with actual disguises, but not somewhat magical hand-wavey metamorphosis powers. It just isn't in line with the other disguise code in the game. Let anyone change their appearance once per hour, or per 30 minutes or whatever, and let them improve that with skills and training investment.

4. 'Average' people have a significant advantage using appear over anyone who isn't average, so line items #3 and #1 should really address this issue.

5. Height and weight appears should have a chance of slipping. I understand the gender fluid intentions of having unbreakable gender appears, but hunching over, sticking your gut in/out etc. are examples of acting- and I think realistically, should have a chance of failing based at how good you are at acting.

I agree with all of what Talon posed there.

It is far too easy.

It is far too quick.

There are NOT enough limitations.

And addition. There needs to possibly be a penalty to staying hooded if you're altering size or weight. Because you're focusing on far too many things.

I would die on the hill of keeping (and expanding) appear, but balancing around gender presentation versus 'disguised' presentation is definitely doable. People who are disguising and people who are expressing gender are valuing different things for the most part.

If someone is presenting as a certain gender, or agender, they don't want it to 'break' (and I think that it does through various ways runs very contrary gender presentation is, someone doesn't stop being a woman if they don't pass), but the initial 'start up' of the appear isn't an issue. It could take twenty minutes to initiate as long as it lasted forever.

Height and weight mods making it even harder to stay disguised makes a lot of sense to me.

In my opinion, not restricting how quick and easy you do it makes up for the fact you're allowed to assume people if you think it's them now.
the command is supposed to come with a lot of OOC restrictions placed on it that aren't paired with coded restrictions.

So we're right back to where we were before the new disguise policy, only now it's about gender-presentation instead of about individial-recognition.

One comes with consequences, one does not. I think that that highlights the priority that the concerns about "cheesing" appearance should be given.

I also think that people's complaints about "cheesing" appearance wouldn't even be happening if staff hadn't said "you have to RP this" instead of defaulting to just exercising the code as designed. It really smacks of rules-lawyering to me, because the I feel like the consequences of "cheesing" appearance are so trivial.

No, really. I understand why people (both staff and non) are saying that RP is called for. But, when it REALLY COUNTS, it's tree-in-forest: In order to adhere to the letter of the rules, I'll RP to an empty room as I change my appearance to fatter, shorter and neutery-er. I'm not going to disguise up in front of people when it really counts, whether that means changing my appearance, putting on my dusky-chartreuse hoodie, or getting rid of the Chen Mayonnaise sneakers for the op.

4. 'Average' people have a significant advantage using appear over anyone who isn't average, so line items #3 and #1 should really address this issue.

Average people already have a significant advantage: They can appear any heigh or weight. Tall people can appear average but not short, skinny people can appear average but not fat. Anyone who's already starting from average has 50% more options.

I thought that we were supposed to discuss changes in separate threads. Is this one an exception to the rule?

There are a lot of incorrect assumptions being made here about how appear changes interact with disguises.

I still believe that the system I proposed for 'gender' related appear changes is a good one. To recap:

A player chooses a default gender for their character in chargen, be it 'male' 'female' or 'neutral'. They get 2-3 appear choices that match their gender choice, then 1 of the other two.

For example, a 'male' character might get 'male, guy and bro' (selected in chargen). Then 'citizen' for neutral (again, selected by the player) and 'lady' (again, selected by the player).

I am not sure if it feasible to track how long an attribute is set. If it is, additional appear options should be added to the list at random after set periods of time. By the list, I mean the gender being presented.

In the above example, if the character spends a bunch of time as a 'lady' then additional 'feminine' appear options should be added (mona, dyke, etc.) Same thing with neutral (denizen, etc.) and obviously the same for 'masculine' appears.

I also think that 'height' and 'weight' appear options should be gated behind Disguise.

Lastly, I encourage everyone to police themselves. For example, I use @notes to keep track of the handful of different personas that I have. I put them there specifically so that staff can keep me honest and call me out if I suddenly change into a random, off the wall persona.

Also as @stiza13 mentioned, staff lifted the restriction on attacking disguised characters explicitly to address concerns. If your character thinks that their enemy is abusing the system, and 30 seconds ago they were a petite mona in a hood, but now they are a gangly droog in a shroud, your character is fully cleared to go ahead and attack them.

No need for OOC hand wringing or posts on BgBB about it.

I've also been told before by staff that there is no RP expectation about changes into neutral gender. You have the same description et cetera as an "average guy" or an "average walker."

I've never engaged with staff about changes from one male/female gender into the opposite gender, but logically that would seem to be true too.

I think many of these problems arise from the appear system doing two completely different things. (1) it exists as a major advancement to the disguise system and (2) it exists as a way to handle characters being able to pick their presentation gender in the fashion they think is ICly appropriate.

I think staff really needs to separate these systems. I think appear should be completely for disguise, and gender identity should be set at character generation and can be subsequently changed either via a separate command with a long cooldown (like 24 hours) or via request or XHELP. I think a command would be better, but that's a question about relative staff time.

Indeed, staff have already set up some baseline for that with the @born-sex command, which seems to really set up people's @sex being the way they identify.

Almost all of the problems I see and hear about with appear come from the necessary compromises needed to serve both of appear's purposes. We should separate them and then use appear for disguise and a separate system to handle characters who wish to change their presented gender identity after CG (as opposed to merely disguising themselves.)

That has the second salutary advantage of making gender not linked to physical appearance at all -- someone who is a transgender woman with male parts is not suddenly "revealed" as someone with he/his pronouns when their trousers come off, which is something that happens if that person is using appear to change their gender presentation.

One thing I would like to point out is the deliberate usage of the exact same gender descriptor to create confusion.

This is meta, more than anything, in my opinion. As you're deliberating trying to confuse people on an OOC level of who is who in a given room. Four hooded humans walking in would (unless they all wore the same outfit) stand out among each other in various ways, so to all take the same descriptor borders on OOC cheese, rather than IC ingenuity.

I see where you're coming from on that Holy Chrome. I think staff said previously that that could be an ic thing too. Like, if we're OK to change our ic appearance, and we're going to the trouble of looking the same, isn't that fair game?

I'm honestly on the fence about it myself. I can see both sides of the argument. I think people could conceivably set up this way irl if they were all the same rough size. It causes confusion in an ic and ooc way though.

@HC

I agree with you on the cheese of using the same descriptor.

That being said, staff has said it's completely legit. It came up a while ago in the context of disguises. At that time, staff said if people want to coordinate so that there are two 'shrouded puny manos' or whatever attacking a person, that is okay.

Personally I think a room full of the same neutral pronoun is completely fine and themely. Are there not millions of 'citizens' wandering the city at any given hour?

I keep going back to this image when I think about how crowded Withmore is.

https://i.imgur.com/wVtDSEi.png

@Hek

See I was present for one of these instances and seem to remember staff being against multiple people using the exact same pronoun set. No official rule was set in place, but the cheese goes beyond just being disguised to something I consider an actual code abuse, I will explain why I think this in a moment.

From a disguise/IC point of view, having multiple people shrouded puny boy is not a problem if they have prepared accordingly to look identical. It is a smart way to make sure that those disguised are harder to identify or differentiate.

The problem comes in on a code level. Multiple shrouded puny boys in one place gives the disguised party a distinct advantage by adding additional out of character syntax obstacles the defending player must overcome. Firstly the defending player must now use the multiples system to target any of the disguised characters, wasting valuable time in a potentially high pressure situation. Secondly it becomes impossible to tell which of the disguised characters is doing what, as all their emotes or combat messages feature the same pronouns. This can get so extreme that in the heat of the moment a defending player may not notice that there is more than one disguised person present until it is too late, information that would be visibly available without effort in a real situation but now needs the player to type in look to identify there are multiple assailants. None of this is IC, it's an abusive OOC manipulation of the games syntax system for IC benefits.

TL:DR

Multiple identical disguised forces additional syntax barriers on players, garnering an IC benefit from weaknesses in the code.

As Mong said, it creates a burden on the "defenders" of these scenarios to count X, look 1st X, look 2nd X, look 3rd X, attack 3rd C, etc

All while this would be distinguishable from an IC standpoint. You know ICly that the 2nd playa from the left is attacking you. But you have to input five commands to know it OOCly.

Would a solution be that when multiple of the same pronouns are in the same room, they automatically prepend their nth value? I.E. 1st Puny Geezer swings a baton at you, 2nd Puny Geezer shoots you with their pop-pop, you punch a 1st Puny Geezer.
I'd rather a policy of people acting in good faith not to create OOC confusion with IC mechanics. Not argument that it's a pretty smart move... from an OOC perspective. What really makes a meatsicle a meatsicle ICly though, where all the people in a group adhere to look like one? Especially when they're all wielding different weapons and different color disguises? How is this strategy explained ICly? If it can't be, then I don't think bending mechanics for meta reasons should be allowed.
Yeah it's come up a few times in the past, and it feels blatantly meta-gamey. It's hard to think of a coded way to handle it, so a policy enforced by staff would be a nice addition. There may be times it happens incidentally, but it seems like when it's coordinated will be rather obvious.

I've yet to read a single justification or defense of it that doesn't feel really silly when imagined in pragmatic applications, like HolyChrome pointed out. It's clearly just an abuse of the text-based medium and the present implementation of disguise and appearance mechanics. Coordinating your poncho colors or whatever is one thing, saying 'hey let's all be lithe denizens hyuk hyuk' is really really stupid. I say this as a non-combat character with zero dog in the literal or metaphorical fight.

@RedSteelButterfly

A system like the one you proposed would resolve the issue of identical disguised in all instances, both deliberate and incidental. I do not believe this is commonplace enough to warrant coding and the potential bugs that could follow though. It would be easier just to write it up in the @rules as policy

Other than the potential for the multiple identical disguises exploit I absolutely adore the appear feature and don't believe it needs any changing unless the skill requirement for what is undoubtedly a powerful tool is too low. Appear has all but wiped out a big avenue of meta around disguised and opened up a whole load more potential role play options to boot. It is up to the players to self police their use of it with regards to role playing the change properly.

A belated pat on the back and massive thank you for the coders who worked on this.

@All

The discussion of 'multiple identical attackers' should probably be suggested for a TownHall topic.

I think it warrants discussion and probably a Policy to prohibit it.

As others have pointed out, it is extremely meta gamish.

It would also be great if there were a way for the game to default to '1st' when multiples are present. Given that it doesn't, I am assuming that there is a coded reason that makes that impossible.

I'm not super code savvy, but would it be easier to color-code them rather than change the text? So if there's 3 Puny Manos in a room the first one's red (or the first letter of his descriptor, or just the descriptor, i.e. 'mano') the second one yellow, and so on, and there's a set hierarchy that's always followed so that you, as a player, can ID which is which. As in, when you see the "yellow" mano act, you know that action is coming from what count would consider the "2nd mano" and so on.

Again not sure if this is actually easier or simpler code wise, but I think it might be because it doesn't actually change input text/command inputs and thus interferes less?

Could be hard for people who don't have/can't have ANSI colors on.