|-||JMo||8s||Nothin' to see here.|
|a||Mench||3h||Doing a bit of everything.|
|And 25 more hiding and/or disguised|
Can there be characters in Sindome who are just generally good guys who just want to live and help? Sure. But they might find that getting by can be rough. Few will reward a good deed unless you make them. And others will see you as providing free services and thus stealing biz and want to make it stop. This kind of character CAN be played but it can be like swimming up stream in a river of razor blades.
Can a player take on the paladin styling of I am righteous and shall smite the evil? Hell yeah. But in a more judgmental and black and white way. Many characters do this. But what is good and what is evil really has to be in the eye of the beholder. You just need to pick a stance. Decide what is good and what is evil and stop riding the fence. Go and smite that evil and help the righteous!
Also remember that characters in Sindome tend to be like people in real life. Layered. Many characters will do their damnedest to appear to have the moral high ground. It's simply good strategy. Then you have situations where you act the good guy to gain trust but have deeper motives (like getting access to the pad of your enemy or milking a sugar daddy of all you can).
Lastly, I also think it's good to consider what your character is to each faction and person they interact with. Maybe you are Bob's white knight and a lying cunt to Sam. Maybe you are a dick to everyone but have a soft spot for joys. Most people are faceted and they can be faceted in a variety of dimensions all at once.
Think Rorschach, not Superman.
Trying to shape the world to a higher ideal akin to an alignment is aiming too high. Everyone is simply trying to eek out an existence and make it to a safe place to lay their head. I think that the police officer mentality of, "I'm going to do what I need to do cover my back and make it home to my family." is actually pretty cyberpunk.
I've played SD from 2014 to like 2017.. I had to stop due to irl things.
I think I have a bit to say about character alignment.. My previous character was known around the Mix for being a good, kind person. I played him like that because I wanted to see how someone with a clear set of moral principles (won't cheat, won't outright lie) would do in the setting.
My experience was wonderful.. The character made a lot of ic friends, had a good life and only ended due to my own rl complications.
I had a blast playing a 'good guy' and it was nice to see him develope and endure different situations.
Playing this sort of character is, as others have said, really though.. I've had to start over (buyclothes, apartments, etc) several times due to being robbed.. Still, seeing the characte develope through all that was simply wonderful. Now that things are calmer irl, I will probably return to SD.
I think there's plenty of room for idealists or people with principles. As often as not they're the bad guys of cyberpunk stories, though. They might meet a tragic end biting more than they can chew. They might have a long-term vision of debatable credibility. Or, like Dredd, they're just doing their best to turn the faucet on the shitpipe aimed straight at the fan.
Do they have ulterior motives or do what they do for the wrong reasons and are ultimately trying to save themselves? Probably. But there are exceptions to the rule.
So for example this person won't kill for chy because to them, having a conssience is more important than having money.
It doesnt mean they are pacifists, tough.. They'd probably still kill but not for a selfish reazon. The relactivity of what can be considered to be 'good' alsso brings a lot of nuance to this kind of concept.
Good characters can be difficult to play at times, but for me, they are sertainly worth it, simply because they bring more complexity to the theme as a whole.
Morality in itself is not black and white, good and bad are ambiguous in a cyberpunk setting, and with all good stories, the hero of one is the villain of the other's. It's one of the reasons I try to keep my characters morally ambiguous at best, or outright assholes at worst.
In a world where everyone is just trying to get by, especially in the Mix, I think the lines of alignments and morality, the very fabric of good and evil become so blurred that they become one in the same. It simply becomes those who do, and those who don't. Those who kill, and those who die.
At the base levels it is the mix and topside. In our setting a lawful good corpie character who has a strong moral center is still someone who might hate the mix and mixers, and does so with no qualms or consideration of morals. Because to them, there are no moral considerations when it comes to the mix and mixers. They don't matter. They barley exist. It's like considering the moral implications of walking on the sidewalk because you might squish ants. You can be a morally strong person and not think at that.
So we shouldn't be talking about morality in the general sense but rather how it subjectively plays into the class system that is what our theme is built upon.
I think it's absolutely cyberpunk that someone has a code they struggle to live by, though I don't know if that's in line with what Sindome and the rest of the player-base are looking for.
The game has this example of morality as one of their theme guides, which tells pretty compelling stories that may be a little at odds with what Slither posted above. I understand that Slither is a GM and this so guide might be a little dated, but I still enjoyed reading it.
"It doesn't matter who you are, or how much money or power you have, you're often put into lousy positions that compel you to act in a way you don't want to. Maybe you're a high level corporate executive who is being pressured to demolish an apartment building on red to make way for a new factory, and you know that will throw two or three thousand people out on the street with no warning. Or maybe you live on red, and people are looking to you to organize a rally protesting the latest service reductions to the people of red from some corporation or another. The point is, no matter how apathetic you are, sooner or later something is going to happen that you just can't tolerate. You don't want to do anything about it, but you feel that you have to."
I think the idea that EVERYONE has to be the same cynical apathetic person who betrays their friends is very restrictive, but I do agree a game needs a good amount of people who show the uglier side of their theme.
Anyway, I'm wondering how the current playerbase stands on this issue -- do they want more people with ideals or less? Do you enjoy exploring what lines your characters won't cross, or do you revel in being as scummy as possible?
Speaking from personal experience, I think there's also a bit of an OOC barrier to this. It is actually really hard to do bad things to people, and doubly so if they don't deserve it. I've experienced this a lot before (I've played pretty heartless characters, not only in Sindome) and it sucks. I've had times where I thought 'man this is really gonna suck for this person, how can I make this as interesting as possible' which is really all you can do, but it can still make you feel real bad. I think for that reason, plenty of people shy away from it and keep to hurting other assholes.
More on topic, though, I think you should play a wide spectrum of alignments. The mix already has a ton of hardened thugs who do whatever it takes to get by, being someone different will only add to the story. Is it not themely to play someone who sees all the shit that's gone wrong with the world, and tries their hardest to make it better? Absolutely. Seeing those characters change and react to the realities of their world can be incredible storytelling scenes, arguably more incredible than just another jaded crook that makes jokes about how many dead bodies they tripped over today.
A good story needs it all. The greedy, lawful evil corpos, the desperate, neutral street rats, the psychopath solo who enjoys their work juuuust a little too much... You need all of those for really good stories. And most of all, characters should be fluid. Good characters will do bad things, and bad characters will do good things. People aren't binary.
Good people can do bad things. Bad people can do good things. Rotten people are capable of empathy, kindness, and emotional attachment. Sure, there are always a minority who swing to one extreme or the other. But role-playing the full emotional/experiential spectrum is (to my mind) what makes a character interesting and multi-dimensional.
As someone who's played PCs all over the IC world, but most commonly in the Mix, I can attest to the fact that I've seen IC "monsters" and "angels" who are more complex than their "rotten"/"pristine" reputation, once you dig beneath the surface. I've also seen "do-good" types who aren't victims; who refuse to be taken for granted/advantage of.
Cyberpunk worlds are definitely brutal, oppressive, cruel places. Withmore is no different. But the humans living within them are the same as we are -- always capable of depth, strength, weakness, contradiction, and nuance.
Maybe their players don't care, or maybe they're developing their characters and their circle of RP in a way I can't see.
That's okay. Not every character has to become a legend.
And not every legend is what they appear to be. Even the dreamy Judge Murphy did unequivocally despicable things.
In general I lay out alignments.in a semi weird fashion.
What do you present as to others slash desire to be viewed as, what is your core, what will you shift too when pressed.
You can also sub in concept style descriptions in for alignments. Or in addition to them. This allows a real quick overview of the character.
Presenting: Drug addled daredevil(CN)
Core: Drug addicted protector of the park and the people within(TN)
Mod: Drug abusing combative antagonistic monster(CE)
This shows you at a glance what the character tries to be, what it is, and how far it'll go when pressed.
I workshopped this over night, I'd really encourage thinking about this, or really any aspect of your character, as any systematic exploration of it is a good idea.
The alignment system is very much limited though and I do encourage rather than just having a flat alignment having a set of them, to establish your limits and perspectives.
Because people outside of heroic fantasy(Which sindome explicitly is not) are not one alignment. They shift, and generally have a floor, and a ceiling and a space inbetween they occupy typically.
This talk does beg the question, "Which side of the divide are you x alignment to?"
This excerpt from The Dispossessed sums it up well, and it's one of my favorite reads from any book I've read.
"THERE was a wall. It did not look
important. It was built of uncut rocks
roughly mortared. An adult could look
right over it, and even a child could
climb it. Where it crossed the roadway,
instead of having a gate it degenerated
into mere geometry, a line, an idea of
boundary. But the idea was real. It was
important. For seven generations there
had been nothing in the world more
important than that wall.
Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-
faced. What was inside it and what was
outside it depended upon which side of it
you were on."
Sound familiar? Even if you could be Lawful Good in Sindome, is it true from the view on both sides of the fence?