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Chatter System
Some NPCs know stuff

Hey Everyone -

I'm introducing a new system to the game. It's called Chatter. It takes streams of events that happen in game and turns them into paydata that NPCs can provide to players under some circumstances. Right now, it's pretty basic and definitely BETA.

------------------ From 'help chatter' ----------------------------------


The world is bigger than what you see and there are eyes everywhere. This is the cyberpunk future after all, and it's a panopticon.

Just because you kill someone on a street with no players or NPCs around does not mean that there were not ambient people that witnessed the crime.

Just because no one was present at the bank when you deposited that huge amount of flash, doesn't mean deckers running data skimmers on the Grid didn't flag the transaction as meaningful.

Any number of actions in the game could be witnessed or monitored by any number of people. This is the premise of the Chatter System.

There are a variety of NPCs in the world that have access to paydata, and if asked, they will provide you with some of it. This information is often gated behind a specific set of criteria you must meet, before they will give you access to any information.


Most information is gated behind the kind of checks that might be run in real life. Do you have a skill that might be useful in bartering information, or one that helps you find or find items & information? They'll probably talk to you. There could be additional criteria you must meet however.

Some examples of who might have information, and how it could be gated (above and beyond what was mentioned above):

- Bartenders know the general gossip, like who's gotten ghosted Topside or in the Mix. They'll probably talk to you if you've got a drink in your hand.

- A decker might have knowledge of large bank deposits, transfers, or withdrawals. They'll probably charge you for that kind of information.

- Faction NPCs might have paydata on who's joined a rival faction. They'll probably talk to you if you've got a good standing with them or are a member of their faction.


All you need to do to see if an NPC has chatter is ask them something like 'What's the chatter?'. They'll give you a response that should help you figure out if they do/what you might need to do to get access to it. Sometimes this response is not specific, meaning you'll need to figure it out ICly, perhaps by asking others ICly.


This system is smart enough to ignore information about things like murders, that happened in private or low traffic areas. However, no street, market, park, shop, or bar, is every 'empty'. There are ALWAYS eyes on you in those areas, even if no players are around. So don't think just because no players or npcs are visibly around, no one saw you ghost that chummer on a public street. That's small world thinking.

----------------------------- END HELP FILE -------------------------------

Right now it's just turned on for SOME bartenders. You can find out ICly what kind of info they have. You can type 'to npc what's the chatter' or some variation on that and possibly get a response.

I worried that it would get spammy, so bartenders will only give you chatter if the bar 'is not busy', which basically means you're the only (visible) person in it. That way your spam isn't going to fuck up RP.

Again, this is still early stages. Please provide feedback.

-- S

This is awesome. Ideas for things you can keep track of:

1) Judgements or fines made by the WJF

2) Corpies who get fired and sent to Red

3) Explosions/arsony

4) WJF or CorpSec excursions in Red

5) New TV shows or episodes or general content in TV

6) Change of management in bars, clubs, shops

some of these might not be quantifiable by the MOO so a way for staff to add or delete chatter for a specific group of NPCs would be nice.

Will people in the position to receive certain chatter be made aware of who to check in with?
I love this! Great add, haven't seen it in action yet but just reading about it makes me giddy to see it. Looking forward to more updates.
Okay, you know how it tells you 'To the (direction) you see no one', does that mean there aren't 'chatters', thus no witnesses?
Great work, Slither! This is themely as fuck.
Whoa, that sounds awesome! Good job!
Tried it out and it's awesome. I do think more 'corporate' info would be nice for topside, like whose in bad with their boss and the like if there was a way to slip that in.
This is very interesting, and obviously has a lot of potential for growth.

Slightly curious / confused on the 'skill check' portion of this, does this system mean different players might receive different kinds of information based on their particular skills/stats? It would be a way to ensure certain information is funneled to certain archetypes, for obvious reasons.

@beeboop no, that is just telling you if you see anyone that stands out (NPCs and Players that actually exist)

@Jameson The system supports different NPCs having different gated requirements for their info. A paywall for example, or needing specific skills, or being in a specific faction, or having a specific job. What we have implemented so far is just a beta to see how it goes. I will be adding more to it soon.

Maybe something for Grid 3, but deckers could tell people when high-value nodes (corporate nodes, high-traffic nodes, etc) are compromised.
*throws down hat*

Looks like the Duke Boys are at it again!

Can I also ask 'What's the word?' To initiate this?

(I-I would think that would be really cool and would appreciate it)

I've already added integration points so that this paydata can flow into grid 3.0, just as an fyi.
This is really fucken cool. Bravo.
Bartenders now have more access to gossip placed by GMs.

One of the existing deckers in game (you'll have to figure out who if you want to) is now set up with a special stream of chatter that costs $. Asking him for chatter will charge you in the same way a doctor will, and he will give you some paydata.

I wasn't sure if this system was working until today as I was just getting a generic "I've not got any gossip for you." but today had my first interesting little nuggets of info. I can definitely see this leading to or developing plots in interesting ways. Really cool feature.
Will PC deckers get some kind of access to scraping somehow for accessing paydata, presumably commensurate with skill and tools etc. soon?
I've made it so only those with a decker skill (at a certain level) can ask the decker NPC for chatter (there is still a cost associated with the paydata).
Scavenger NPCs (there are currently 2) that ask you to find them random things (not typical npcs that always ask for the same things), now have specialized chatter about the markets. In order to get access to this data you must have completed a certain number of jobs for them.
I already love this! Praise be, new market drek.
NPC taxi drivers will now respond to 'Driver, what's the chatter?' with general gossip from the mix and topside. No skill checks done, but you have to be on your way somewhere in the cab.
Hiring Managers at various businesses topside (ones with Employment Terminals typically) will now be willing to gossip with their coworkers about the recent hirings/firings/promotions at businesses topside. That means you've got to work at the corp the hiring manager works at and...

Because this is topside chatter, these hiring managers are only going to be willing to talk to attractive or persuasive people. So, if you don't have good looks you'll probably be seeing something like...

Collette snickers and shakes her head, "I only gossip with beautiful people, hun."

I understand the skills/stats needed to chatter with some bartenders, but what if you hold the lease or are an employee there? Could that also factor in?
I personally don't think being an co-worker or boos should bypass checks . Modifying them at most maybe. I mean, I have yet to play a PC that would freely give all their info to someone just because they worked with or for them. Why should NPCs be different?
This has been SO much fun. It's affected roleplay almost immediately and encourages me to do various things to interact with NPCs now. Thank you!
Due to the way the chatter system is set up it's not really an easy change for me to set up an NPC to respond to 'someone who passes the skill check' or 'the boss' because they'd be responding to the boss in the positive in ANY situation-- which would apply in situations where a player 'is the boss' but not really THE BOSS, if you know what I mean. You can be a member of the Sinners and able to get them to follow you around AKA 'the boss' and even King Sinn might follow you around any obey your commands, but you aren't really HIS BOSS. Ya know?

I'll think about it and see if I can come up with a solution but no promises.

I'm under the impression some of these events are ripping full names off the character sheet (not the in-game name but the @stats sheet). If that's the case, I'd give my feedback that I hope that changes and it goes to a more generic "There's a recent hire at so and so." If that's wrong information, then please ignore.

This would help where in instances sensitive positions are filled at sensitive places aren't immediately revealed in full detail by, well, asking an NPC on a prompt system.

I like the idea of the system as a whole, but I wanted to give some feedback on what I see as a problem area.

Your stat sheet name is the name your sic is registered to. This is how we identify your character in game for a lot of things. There is already code in the system to not show secret jobs that happen at certain terminals.
I want to preface with I'm thankful for the work put into this and other projects. I know with criticism, even constructive, there's a chance it might feel like people are ungrateful or not recognising the positives.

i see a lot of positives and potential with the Chatter system. I personally just think there could be a few tweaks, and I also understand we're in BETA so it isn't a complete system and there's always room for change - or no change, if that's the decision, which I also understand.

I do know how the name is registered to the sic chip. It's just a tiny bit disappointing for people who might roleplay being protective with their name, revealing it only to a few people (I understand people might seem that as silly or unrealistic), to have it blasted out there not by a situation where someone betrayed them, got drunk, etc, a real tangible experience. Rather because it was entered into a loop of gossip for Chatter for a prompt. If you don't feel the same way and that isn't how you envision the system, I accept that and I won't make any counter-arguments to it after I finish this post.

I'd put forth the idea again that it switch to a more generic system:

"Saedor Krupp just hired some person/woman/man to their Make Us All Robots Manager position."

"The gossip around Gold is some squat mano just got themselves brought on to Saedor Krupp for the position of Let's Test Chrome Limbs On You."

"Rumour is the other day there was a huge shouting match in Saedor's halls, and some loudmouth baka of an amazonian mona got demoted to junior Let Me Tell You Why You Don't Need Real Eyes."

For which I now apologise to everyone for my terrible title creation.

I suggest a change to a more generic system (and potentially removing the positions themselves from the lines) to not only allow that information to be revealed a bit more organically, but also it creates a sort of avalanche effect of roleplay.

In the above situations, whoever asked gets some information but not all. It presents the opportunity for them to either approach people they know who work at this corporation to try to pry or buy data. Or they could hire a chum to do the middle-work. Or try to infiltrate a group of friends. In my opinion it makes the situation more win-win for everyone involved in terms of RP; the person who's data is potentially fully revealed through a series of events can now possibly trace it back to people they can interact with regularly and the people asking are now provided a lot of opportunities to create more roleplay and connections.

It wouldn't be so dissimilar to the system the game which under certain circumstances will automatically have a member of the ambient population announce a witnessed crime. The system is vague in that it uses the short description. If staff is watching the scenario play out they can decide whether to step in and reveal a few more details or not. This encourages people who want to know more to either go to the location, pay someone to go to the location, pay someone who learned the information or other steps.

If those aren't ideas that interest you, then my last suggestion would be to include randomly generated names into the gossip or pull from names of NPCs that frequently loiter around topside sectors. I'll state once more I know the system is in BETA and also that I don't know if this is actually in the plans or already actually inside Chatter. Including names that aren't PCs getting jobs, promotions, demotions, etc, would protect against potential small-worlding

You might be protective with your name and only share it with a select few but the fact is that you are far from the only person with access to your name all those people with access to it may not be as careful with it as you are. If you get a terminal based job it is safe to assume that your employer now has your SIC ID and some basic info associated with it, like your name. And they don't have to be as protective of it as you might choose to be. I think that's what's happening here.

On the flip side, I think it's important to not small world this. Especially at MegaCorps. NLM has thousands of employees. They probably hire and fire scores every day. So if you hear that NLM hired Charles Honk as Jr. PR, don't assume that is the name of the guy that your chum said was just hired as PR. It very well might be. But maybe that was the OTHER guy NLM hired to PR. The ambient one. Engage in RP to verify your suspicion.

Something I thought of for the decker NPCs, maybe they could sell data on if a certain corpie's been gridmailing any mixers, or vice versa. I dunno if this is possible with Grid 2, but it might be a thing for Grid 3.
It would be cool if this could be used for investigations, you pay a ganger a few hundred/thousand chyen, and they share what they know with you.
I assume, dingdog7, that you mean that you'd like it if there was an automated system like chatter to do this but just in case I wanted to mention that you can do this kind of thing already. Just go to the ganger and start talking. If they don't respond or give only automated responses, submit a puppet request. It's a great use of puppet-requests.

Even if there was an automated system in place where they would tell you things from a list, it would never be able to cover everything. You would still need to use puppet requests if what you are hoping for isn't covered or if you are looking for something very specific.

Yeah, I knew about Puppet-requests, automated systems always interest me.Like fire-propagation, or randomized personalities. (Dwarf Fortress)
It would be cool if you have many pending chatters, the bartender tells you a batch of them. Like... "I heard that a shabby droog got ghosted by an average man on Knife. Also, I heard that the Sinners are having tea at Blue." That way you don't have to find yourself spamming "what's the chatter" in sometimes immersive-breaking way.
+1 to villa's idea. Love the mechanic but it takes a while to use sometimes and there are only so many ways I can phrase "What's the chatter?"
What if a good amount to say in one go? Three?
I like that :)
^This. I love the idea of this mechanic but I'm afraid I stopped using it eventually because of how spammy it became and how long it took to get up to date on a weeks backlog of data when just one item of information is dropped at a time. Visiting a new source restarts the process back at the beginning too so you have to troll through a load of data you've been through before.
Didn't Slither update this with a way to ask for more at once, a while back?
I did not. But I do plan to. Based on the feedback it is definitely needed. I will look into it today.
This change has been made, if it still seems spammy (IE: you are asking a lot) please post that feedback here. It's easy to adjust the amount given each time now that I've made the change.

I've also improved the messaging!