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Engaging Eachother
Even when that looks like a loss or compromise

I've seen a trend I want to mention here. I feel it's a trend that is preventing players from enjoying rich RP experiences so I am bringing it up in hopes that some might benefit from it.

Sindome is a game of Cooperative Competition. In 95% of cases players are the good guys and other players are the bad guys. Players are the Johnsons paying and the runners being hired. It's not like other games where players are all on the same side against NPC evil. PCs are the evil for other PCs.

For cooperative competition to work you need to OOCly choose to engage other PCs as their villain, their hero, their mark or their hunter. You have to choose to engage as the looser and as the winner. If you refuse to engage the other PCs in a variety or roles, your story will never be as full as it could have been.

All too often PCs are willing to engage when it would make the the winner or hunter. But for some reason players almost never choose to engage as the loser or the guy getting put in a hard place. As soon as they are in a hard place they stop engaging and move on to 'just kill me' or 'do what you want, I'm just going to not respond in any engaging way'.

I get it a little. Most of us have a vision of our character being loyal to those who matter to them. Of being willing to die or suffer before looking weak or letting someone else have power over them. I am a hardass and that can never be compromised.

But I honestly think that you should really, seriously consider engaging more - even in ways that don't seem to favor your character or means they have to swallow their pride or do something they will immediately regret.

Give up info on your chums when the pressure gets high. Act fearful when you are isolated and without support. Let the other character blackmail you or be the 'winner'. Cower to the one baka then take it out on others.

The most colorful and fun characters in stories are, in my opinion, the flawed ones. The ones who have people who have dirt on them. Who have made mistakes they seek to rectify. Who have lost. Who have taken shit from one guy because there was really no better option then turn around and do the same thing to someone else.

If players do not engage each other, take the plot hooks they feed each other and are not willing to ever let their character be put in a bad position or compromise their morality or self image... Then Sindome becomes a far less engaging game for everyone.

I am not saying you should go and hand this to someone (though this can also be a great move in some circumstances) but I do urge you to be willing to play an anti-hero. A flawed character. To have IC losses and wins and to see both as OOC wins.

While I agree that there will always be winners and losers, there comes a time where the losses exceeds the wins to a degree where it becomes tedious and a 'here we go again' moment. Giving up info? Letting them blackmail? Who is to say they aren't just going to kill your character anyways once they obtain what they seek, then forcing you to play your character with amnesia through the whole event without dropping a single message to why you were killed? Especially if it has happened too many times?

Sometimes it isn't even about letting them be the 'winner'. They win without you having a say in the matter. "Hey, that bartender who can't fight just finished his crate run." Jump him, kill him, take their flash.

To some, through no fault OOCly or ICly, it becomes a:

Go to IC Job, Get Paid, Get killed. Wake up in vats with amnesia. Repeat.

Not attacking anyone here, but

through no fault OOCly or ICly

needs to be questioned.

I get that there's an issue of having a hard time enjoying the IC hardships when they happen, but if they're happening that frequently... Chances are your character has done things and continues to do things to mark themselves a target.

I'm going to give just one example, though there are many this is just one I feel i worth calling out: Refusing to RP humility, contrition, vulnerability, or uncertainty when called for, and to take the chances which are offered. The only thing that's permanent is permadeath - all other setbacks can be, and have been, overcome through RP.

Yes. I would love to see the winners engage more as well. It is funny how often I see a PC claiming to be building a rep when they do everything in their power to ensure nobody ever knows what they do. By choosing to engage with your victim you are creating additional risk and I get that it can't always happen but do try and engage as the winner as much as you can.

Also, as I said, you don't have to hand everyone their victories. I said this specifically. But when you finally find yourself in that hard place consider engaging instead of shutting down. That is what I am suggesting here.

I think everyone to SOME extent has trouble with this but there are some folks on the extreme end who are really un-fun to play against. There seems to be a pattern of players seeking "safe" conflict: against characters who don't stand a chance, leaving little to no possibility of being caught, and minimizing RP between them. Then when you put them in a spot, they refuse to respect the gravity of their situation. Win or lose, it's really unsatisfying. I don't like vatting/perming characters when I can avoid it, so having to deathmatch someone because that's the only way I can engage with them is a real bummer.
Waddlerafter, I agree with you about choosing 'safe' conflict. Killing someone without any exchange of words, forcing the PC to play their character with amnesia, then repeating the killing because they continue with their 'offending' actions because they 'did not learn the last time'.

This is a complex subject, and one that... I think I feel like this is not directed at myself for once. For reasons... But given that I do, do this a lot, I think I'll give advice. On how to open yourself to this kind of RP.

First off... Decide on fears for your character... Things that legit fuck with them. Could be actual panic inducing childish phobias, could be abstract, or so called adult fears. Next, don't hide these fears. When you're playing your character and it comes up... Make sure they are known... They don't have to be obvious. But make sure that someone can reasonably discover if you have a fear of something. Some good ones from various games.

Fear of short people

Fear of masculine features

Fear of getting cancer

Fear of children

Fear of being alone

Fear of having no use

For those who are attempting to get at these fears... Don't just press on them. Look up how to induce fear reactions. Look up torture methods that aren't just brute force physical torture. Hell think about manipulating towards the positive. Rather than physically torturing someone... Show them what safety and security could be theirs if only they'd just X.

Second: Look up fear reactions... It's a surprisingly complex thing. There's been times where I've roleplayed something that's akin to no-selling a scene. But it's been because of the amount of adrenaline in their body. And the moment the pace slowed down they hit a massively more fearful note.

Third: Change and for the love of god remember where you are and where you're going. If you're striving to go topside... Try and develop that change into your character. You are legitimately selling out. There's no reason not to make changes to your character to get there, this is an intrinsic aspect of change. You don't make it too topside the same person as you were in the mix, in someways internally you will harden as your external personality softens... If you get knocked down to the Mix from topside, there's a similar thing that occurs, but it occurs in terms of an extrinsic force of change. You don't survive falling to the mix without change. Because the force will crush down on you, and you will harden externally for it. Think on the changes that each choice you make can induce in you.

That's all I got for now.

Being a compelling victim and a compelling villain are both extremely hard.

The choice of death, on either side, seems like such the easier option when both sides are really just afraid of the consequences of being caught. Both are entirely put in a compromising position, albeit degrees of difference, as they try to achieve their goals of survival. But choosing simply to die, for either side, breeds more of the same.

A villain who only chooses to kill people will create victims who see that as the only agreeable option. A victim who only chooses to die or entirely avoid consequences creates villains who will simply 'attack X' and move on.

Next time you're either, just... give a little. See what happens. Set the stage, bait and hook, and see if the other person's willing to play ball. It entirely happens on both sides, stonewalling, until its impossible to compromise, and there is no dialogue to the story, with people are simply waiting to bash UE against UE.

We're all here for the story. And like Mobius said, 95% of the time, the conflict comes from other players, and conflict is plot. So give them a shot at writing it, whether you're the victim or the villain.

I see a lot of people ICly criticise when a character does something 'inefficient' or dangerous that could be done better, or in a safer way. It turns the game into this rigid loop of protecting yourself perfectly at all times and never being vulnerable, which frankly is tiring for all parties involved. Most people take this as 'you either win or you lose on purpose'. No, there's something in between there.

Let a little paydata slip on accident. Put your character in a vulnerable position. Let your character get ruled by their emotions and do something dumb. Trust a character that perhaps you shouldn't, even if it's just once. That's not losing on purpose, that's creating RP opportunities.

Being a villain is much the same way. Being a villain is not just being a dick, it's being a dick in an interesting way. A perfect example of this is killing someone. If you're trying to teach someone a lesson, do you really think having them vatted then sending a 'don't fuck with the westside femboiz again' sic from an alt alias is fun, or even efficient at teaching that person a lesson?

Break a leg. Vandalize their car. Spread rumors among their friends. Have people follow them. Not even to attack them in an alley, just to make them nervous, or keep tabs on their movements.

A lot of times Sindome seems like it's just 'how can I kill x' or 'how can I not get killed by x' and everyone can do a lot better than that. Death without RP is just a 30 minute timeout from the game, a fine, and some very annoying amnesia RP.

A lot of my experience with the "conflict" in this game has literally been:

Walking down the street

A wild Shroud Appears.

A Wild Shroud uses murder.

A Wild shroud uses vague ass statement with no context on SIC, then hops Alias before they can be questioned.

Confusion.

Continue onwards with nothing to interact with at all. Left to basically discard the whole experience as a waste of in-game resources.

As much as I could let these experiences shape my character... My character can't remember them and being told about it after the fact is like "Oh, someone killed you. Don't know who. Or why."

Now, I don't fault people for this. It's hard to engage someone in RP when one they're not expecting it, and two, you're in the middle of the street and you want to perform crime on them. Because there's other criminals around, and that person may call for help. Someone else may stumble on the scene and wreck the ambush. So forth.

The other thing is, there's no incentive to giving your opponent a course for reprisal. And oftentimes, there just isn't one available for people to take. When the fight is so one-sided one side literally has no recourse against the other, what's the point of fighting it? And, you will see this in people in real life. People will often simply surrender to overwhelming force. And you'll see other coping mechanisms come into play.

The game is punishing for mistakes unless you're one of the few people that gain access to redundancies, or simply have the flash to spare on other people's RP. This leaves people that aren't in a position to risk what they have, reducing their risk, betting small, carrying little, accepting small losses rather than gambling to inevitably lose their big stuff. What's a 5k clone and 5k of clothing versus the 30k you have in the bank you're saving for when you have the skills to be able to actually use armor and weapons for anything other than a self-imposed bounty?

Perhaps out of the box thinking should be considered? Why not think of ways to include people in what you want, without directly engaging yourself? Now, chances are people are going to be opposed to this. Give them something, stir them on. Send BakaImmyJoe to mug someone, but throw them a hood to give them some pretense of secrecy. Then show up and steal their winnings, or if they fail, mug the second victim that is now weaker. This is a type of experience that could not only actually provide roleplay for the victim, bring them to open up, but also teach them how to engage in the game.

The other thing is, there's no incentive to giving your opponent a course for reprisal. And oftentimes, there just isn't one available for people to take. When the fight is so one-sided one side literally has no recourse against the other, what's the point of fighting it? And, you will see this in people in real life. People will often simply surrender to overwhelming force. And you'll see other coping mechanisms come into play.[i/]

Again, a lot of the time, the supposed victims won't accept their role as such. I've been on the other end as a villain many times, where people just do not want to give up, even when they keep losing and losing. It becomes more of an OOC matter to them, as I'm sure many people have seen with someone going on a spite rant being boothing. Or flat-out ignoring someone when they said 'Yes, I killed you and I did it because of X.'

These are extremely examples, with a bit of hyperbole and generalization. Back to the 'everyone wants to be a badass' thing. It -doesn't- feel good when someone has power over you, and it's easy to think they're just being masturbatory with it.

"Hee hoo hee hoo, I'm torturing you. There's nothing you can do. Give me the codes to your cube, all your keys, unlock your cred chip and transfer it all to me..."

This is why I preach caution to villains as well, to ease what everyone knows is an uncomfortable position. Each party, start with something small, work your way up. Negotiate. Set the scene too. Whether you're in a shady van, a dank dark concrete room, a WJF cell, or being held at knife point in a back alley. There's flavor to be had there. Both sides should take the opportunity.

I've had some -amazing- scenes with people as a villain were they fed back into it, and every single time, I've been far more lenient than my character might've been. It isn't about winning or losing. It's about taking rare/uncommon situations and making the best of them. You get that? Then everyone's won.

@Archer

Speaking from experience from both ends of this equation, the reason shrouds walk up and press the murder button without RPing is usually because they get extremely jaded from days, weeks, or years of trying to RP crime, torture, shakedowns, criminal mastermind exposition, etc only to be met with no-selling, people AFKing or as Mobius said, just not engaging.

I will share, that just in the past week, my character was involved in plotting to capture someone, went out and killed them, took them to a medical facility, revived them, took them to a remote location for interrogation and... the other player just logged out after the death scroll. Multiple people spent over a hour each RPing this plot and scenario, getting the equipment together engaging the risk involved in doing the crime and transporting the person only to sit and wait for 30 minutes for the player to log back in and resume RPing.

They never did.

I can't speak for others on this, but I've tried, on many, many occasions to RP the 'heel' with people and maybe 20% of the playerbase will engage in it (and that's actually a very generous estimate. The other 80% is people logging off after seeing death scroll. (please don't do this- For game numerous reasons, please just wait 10 minutes until it's obvious your character is ACTUALLY dead.) Or it's no-selling. Or it's "I heard two words out of your character's mouth and was instantly able to ID them through their poncho."

Killing people is easy. That's just time in game and money. RPing losing is hard. You've probably just got betrayed, caught out when you weren't expecting it, were burgled, etc and are hot under the collar. Take some time to get into your character's headspace. We romanticize this 'Never give up! Never surrender!' hero worship in western culture, but it makes for truly awful interactive roleplaying experiences.

I have seen a lot of people being a victim in game, but I think the tediousness is a big factor. I know personally that fun to me is not failing and then for the next 12 months of play it eventually keeps going staying there. Remember dumb person, who did X, and then rehashing it, or, just never moving on from loss, it seems to me that some people can draw out a failure to such a level that it's soul crushing. I recognize we can't wipe away all consequences, but it seems to me that sometimes we take it to such an opposite extreme that it makes a person's OOCly experience just tiring. No one wants that, they need to have something that keeps them going and it seems to me that lately sindome is much more a case of let's remember the old days of Sindome, or lets find that one person we can constantly just make sure they're constantly losing. People live too much in the past, or let the past linger too long in some cases. Something I've noticed. May not even be worth anything.
Tangently related but people have the misconception that because the world sucks and life is a grind, everyone is automatically supposed to be an abusive and oppressive bully murderhobo.

I've lived in shitholes somewhat comparable to the Mix, and most people are normal people trying to get by. Even though we're the outliers and the brilliant stars in the spotlight, it's important to keep tact and not be cartoonish when we need to put someone down.

I don't disagree with the anything Mobius is pushing forward here, it ties to other staff posts elsewhere about the instinct to embracing hardship, losses, and the RP found therein, and not immdiately boothing when your character faces consequence and presuming there's no climbing back. I think these are things particularly newer players have a hard time working through, the longer you play the more you find value in what comes from a character that endures, and how rich Bad Times RP can be.

That said....SomeoneLoveable has it 1000000%.

As someone that specifically wrote a character who was very flawed and I knew would veer into poor decisions and more Hardship RP by nature because I find those narratives and kinds of characters interesting, I lean into those narratives and situations, if anything I over-sell sometimes as opposed to no-selling. But let me tell you, what happens when you give that engagement to the Winner, when you let yourself be the Loser in the situation, put yourself under the thumb, show weakness and blah blah -- it can be VERY hit or miss how other players will handle that. You basically learn quickly how much you can trust them, and who to trust at all. Not IC trust, but OOC cooperative competition kinds of trust. Who you can trust to offer some give and take over time in those dynamics and narratives, and who will just not read the room, who will just take, or who think they're giving back to you but are really just utterly sapping you of your will to keep playing the game, because the situation has become so tedious you're ready to booth because it's become exhausting and boring. Winners have a responsibility to handle the situation interestingly and not just browbeat the situation into the ground in boring ways, over and over, especially when the Loser has long since rolled over in surrender.

Narratives and dynamics between characters need progression. Things need to move. There needs to be some kind of engagement with the violence. I get it you can't always RP during Red Text, but ffs can people maybe at least offer at least more cryptic engagement after the cloning gel is drying off? While sometimes there's no message because the reason you died is obvious, the amount of creasing, no message, and people have literally no apparent idea why they got killed is kinda silly. And ofc sometimes you don't even want them to know why, you just want them scared and paranoid, sure, but again we're back to give and take, and remembering that we're all mutually responsible for aiding in each other's enjoyable gameplay experience.

Putting someone in a situation where all they feel they can do is hide in their apartment forever, or booth, or stop logging in, just because you can, while not against the rules expressly, is choosing to be a very poor member of the community. While some people will act that way on their own even IF you're giving them other RP hooks do respond otherwise, some Winners really do push people that way, intentionally, and then wonder why they don't have as many people to engage with.

As much as I could let these experiences shape my character... My character can't remember them and being told about it after the fact is like "Oh, someone killed you. Don't know who. Or why."

The other thing is, there's no incentive to giving your opponent a course for reprisal. And oftentimes, there just isn't one available for people to take. When the fight is so one-sided one side literally has no recourse against the other, what's the point of fighting it? And, you will see this in people in real life. People will often simply surrender to overwhelming force. And you'll see other coping mechanisms come into play.

Compound that to a series of murders without any incentive, effectively rendering the player helpless. You can only wonder what the player will choose to do next when it happens again despite rolling with punches.

Speaking from experience from both ends of this equation, the reason shrouds walk up and press the murder button without RPing is usually because they get extremely jaded from days, weeks, or years of trying to RP crime, torture, shakedowns, criminal mastermind exposition, etc only to be met with no-selling, people AFKing or as Mobius said, just not engaging.

I feel that is a poor reason to only use the 'kill' command because you assume they are non engaging. Out of that 10 or 20 players that do no engage, what would happen to that one who actually does want to engage? You just help them establish that there is no reason to even try to engage. Why try to resist when death is just a few text away.

Player being dragged away. Player resist and yell for help. Player resist and tries to engage with the attacker.

No response. Death.

Player is being attacked. Player yells for help. Player tries to talk it out while unable to defend myself against a combat character. No response. Death.

When the third time happens, why should the player even try to engage? The player already know what is going to happen. Die. So if they do get grappled? That signals it is time to get up from the computer, make coffee, avoid the potential bleed and frustration.

There will come a time where a player would question why bother wearing anything other than clothing from the immigration depot. It isn't going to make a difference if they last 5 seconds longer in combat. Whats a Du-wear or Nexus for? They are just being farmed for free money while advancing their so called plot. Especially if it keeps happening over a short period.

I remember a few years ago, when someone was murdered for their mistake or to prove a point, the attacker had the courtesy to stick their equipment (or 50% of it), and drop a message as to why. Maybe they only wanted that rifle. Maybe you were a friend of their enemy. At least there is a course of action ICly. They didn't have to do it. But it definitely gives the victim a reason to pursue, not just on an IC level but an OOC level as well.

Lately, a lot of the victims are forced to repeat a routine because they do not remember and go into a veterans farming them until they lose everything they worked for because... Who knows?

And that makes it easier for victims to disengage.

"Just kill me and take whatever you want. Saves us both time."

Isn't that what you're after anyways?

Winners have a responsibility to handle the situation interestingly and not just browbeat the situation into the ground in boring ways, over and over, especially when the Loser has long since rolled over in surrender.

Narratives and dynamics between characters need progression. Things need to move. There needs to be some kind of engagement with the violence. I get it you can't always RP during Red Text, but ffs can people maybe at least offer at least more cryptic engagement after the cloning gel is drying off? While sometimes there's no message because the reason you died is obvious, the amount of creasing, no message, and people have literally no apparent idea why they got killed is kinda silly. And ofc sometimes you don't even want them to know why, you just want them scared and paranoid, sure, but again we're back to give and take, and remembering that we're all mutually responsible for aiding in each other's enjoyable gameplay experience.

Putting someone in a situation where all they feel they can do is hide in their apartment forever, or booth, or stop logging in, just because you can, while not against the rules expressly, is choosing to be a very poor member of the community. While some people will act that way on their own even IF you're giving them other RP hooks do respond otherwise, some Winners really do push people that way, intentionally, and then wonder why they don't have as many people to engage with.

This, as @Jameson has worded it. Personally, seeing myself or other players put into a situation where they have been creased countless times till they can't afford their clone and rent, then doing 'dailies' to obtain that money again, only to be creased again.

It is only fun for the 'Winners'. And the most common thing they will say is that its a dark and dangerous place, and you need to learn to 'roll with the punches'.

I've had some -amazing- scenes with people as a villain were they fed back into it, and every single time, I've been far more lenient than my character might've been. It isn't about winning or losing. It's about taking rare/uncommon situations and making the best of them. You get that? Then everyone's won.

100% agree!

The victims-and-losers in conflict tend to be reactive; they usually aren't the ones initiating it to begin with. They take their cues from the person who has gotten one over on them, and usually, that person knew they could. A player whose character loses a conflict has to make a decision of how much energy to devote - as a player - to the victor, and how deeply to engage with that story. No surprise, better-written villains who demand interesting stakes get better engagement.

If you're playing a character who can effectively start and win conflicts, it's on you to pick good stakes. Don't pull your punches, but if you want hours of engagement, start reading the loser more: have you written a story where they can have fun? Doing so maximizes the chances the other party is going to respond in ways that are compelling and fun for you.

The responsibility to compete cooperatively falls on the winner first, because they are leading the dance.

By its very nature, Withmore isn't fair. It's a world where there's always someone larger, someone more powerful, someone richer. Some of those people escalate well, create good stakes, and offer approachable ways to disengage. Others create an endless cycle of loss, never compromise, and never give an interesting out. I've seen people in this thread describe both experiences and I've seen both happen ingame. They are night and day.

When you win a conflict, strive to do it with such excellence that the loser wants to come back for more.

So many times I've seen great conflict interactions between two characters dog-piled by uninvolved characters at large to join in on punching down on the 'victim' in the equation.

Whether that is uninvolved people talking shit at that person (sometimes for months) about 'losing' or being an idiot or whatever, or people actively punching down on what they perceive as a weak target. I've never personally experienced this, but I've seen other players outright quit from it.

This is overwhelmingly coming from less experienced players who don't understand the give-and-take dynamics involved, but I suspect it strongly disincentives taking a hard L publicly.

I think if people are going to be encouraged to take risks and engage with their losses, it has to come with a culture change of accepting and even approving of loses. Right now the OOC support is (maybe) there, but IC it's a totally different story.

I admit I've definitely chastised and criticized characters for taking 'stupid' risks before. I am fully part of the problem in a cultural sense, though I don't think the game's underlying mechanics really encourage risk-taking or engaging with losses (or victories) even if that's what is trying to be encouraged by staff and players.

Things take forever to achieve, and seconds to lose. You might earn something back, but you might not too. People are going to be cautious in that atmosphere.

Put my vote in for more RP from the winners! Redtext gets my hopes up for some victim RP, and "you are dead" dashes all those hopes. ☹️

I'd give the same for you if the tables were turned!