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.
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.
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.
This will show you the appearances you are currently affecting.
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.
You adopt a hunch, and appear shorter. Your short description will go down a level (if possible).
You push out your belly and appear fatter than you are. You must be covering your abdomen with clothing for this to work.
You suck in your belly and appear skinnier. You must be covering your abdomen for this to work.
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.
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.
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!
(Edited by Slither at 3:50 pm on 2/9/2020)
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)
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)