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Linekin AMA
Ask Me Anything

Hello lovely players and staff. While I'm away, I do have time to converse on the BGBB with you all. So, I always meant to start an AMA like Fengshui and Cerberus have done.

My first "ask" will be an answer to something which came up in the Town Hall which I felt didn't get adequately answered.

"What do the GMs consider an interesting plot?"

Speaking for myself: Anything which gets many players involved! Or which has the potential to redistribute wealth or gear. I like capers, swindles, and positioning. I like something which is going to require strategy, commitment, and follow-through. And I like something which is going to make the player choose between difficult options.

Between the beginning of a plot and the end of a plot, committed and invested player-characters should move from where they started to some new situation. And we GMs should be able to see ways for that to happen, once we see what you want to get up to. Will they strike it rich by selling out or by selling someone else out? Will they try to get ahead and get slapped down and have a new enemy now because they fucked something up or got too greedy or weren't trustworthy enough? Or will they just wind up pretty-much back where they started with no changes in their life as the result of the plot or the RP.

Next question :)

What do you see as an acceptable line between Corpies and Mixers? Some say they should be almost completely segregated, but realistically is the playerbase large enough for that to be true? Is the answer "they need each other but hate it", or something else?
I came up in Sindome during a time when the playerbase was less than 1/4 the size of today's, and, the "segregation" was much, much more rigid.

The playerbase is large enough. If people are avoiding roleplaying the theme, "not finding enough players in my sector" is not the reason.

There is a certain theme to the game. You know it before you create an account and roll a character. The theme is:

Up topside, Corpies are disgusted by, and fearful of, Mixers. Even more than they fear Mixers themselves, they fear losing what they have and becoming one themselves.

Down in the Mix, Mixers are resentful and fearful of Corpies in general and Corporations even more in particular. Even more than they pity Corpies individually, they fear the Power and resent the oppression.

Now. I completely understand some players' desire to RP with characters from the other side of the maglev tracks. But if you're a Corpie, then, having a group of Mixers to visit, or, worse, crash at, your Central Green-sector condo isn't themely. What's themely is meeting them clandestinely, far away from your regular haunts because business like this should be kept out of sight of your neighbors and co-workers. Maybe everybody has a favorite courier, ponyboy or pusher, but they don't treat them like they aren't scandalous at best and dangerous at worst. The fact that you, as a player, trust the other player not to have their character rob yours when they get together for ice cream, poetry or blow jobs doesn't mean your character shouldn't think their character won't.

If you're a Mixer, then, having your Bitch'n Chik'n-eating, dogmeat-selling street-urchin character cozy up to your nice friends at Grunen's isn't themely either, unless you're working on a swindle. After all, that's what Corpies think you're all up to anyway. If that Corpie is really your friend, would you embarrass them by allowing them to be seen with you by their neighbors and co-workers? It'd probably blow your cover - you're more likely to get away with taking advantage of them if you keep the association quiet till you get what you need from them.

Fine, fine, everyone can point to Romeo and Juliet as a case study in crossing boundaries because humanity can transcend them. But Corpies and Mixers aren't "roses by another name", and Sindome isn't a love story whose moral is about overcoming prejudicial obstacles.

In short:

There are reasons within the theme for Corpies to associate with Mixers, but carefully and discreetly. There are reasons for Mixers to associate with Corpies, but primarily those reasons should be for profit or advantage.

Subverting the theme is one part of my argument about why ignoring the class divide is poor gameplay. The rest of it is about stuff I'll lump under a label of "agendas" - which is to say, fluff, plot, roles and goals.

Theme-wise: Unless your characters are using this class-mixing to drive agendas, then you're literally ignoring the Lore, the theme, the in-character history, and the very nature of cyberpunk just so that you can play besties with everyone and avoid roleplaying behaviors which you might be uncomfortable with as a real-life person in the real-life world. It's a game - playing the game as presented is gutsy and sporting.

Agenda-wise: Cooperative competition is about cooperation AND about competition. Mixers who aren't using Corpies and Corpies who aren't using Mixers are all cooperation and no competition. You aren't helping each other get anywhere, you aren't giving each other challenges. Now: I understand that not everyone here plays to "win", or even to get their characters ahead. That is completely fine. There are many different things which different people might or might not regard as "winning" or as "progress" and there are a variety of different kinds of people who play the game. People can have different kinds of OOC goals about what they want from the game, and different IC goals about what they want their characters to achieve. But the game structure is something to take advantage of, not something to ignore. Ignoring it will undermine what you can achieve with your character.

Fluff, plot, roles and goals. You can pursue fluff. People do it all the time. The ones who do that the most tend to be the least involved in plots - player-driven or GM-driven ones. When your role is poorly defined, it's hard to engage others in the kind of play which drives cyberpunk stories. The strongest progress toward in-character goals tends to be made by players who are very clear about, and committed to, their character's nature, niche and values.

For most of us, the top "agenda" is just "good RP", right?

But to me, "good RP" is honoring the parameters we're given and playing the role we choose to play within those parameters.

Here's a radical thought:

If you have characters who are so committed to mixing company and crossing the class barriers, why not have them drive exciting, dangerous, compelling stories about doing so? Make them dissidents, activists, or martyrs. Does your Corpie really love some Mixer that much? Be willing to see her lose her job over it. Does your Mixer even really like Corpie company at all? Then have her climb out of the Mix, because a real Mixer breaks out in hives if forced to endure an environment like Grunen's Tavern. And maybe both of them should be aiding, funding, or joining the insurgents and provocateurs who have the brass and the integrity to take direct action against the oppressors, if they feel so strongly that Mixers deserve respect and rank-and-file Corpie drones are just victims of the same power structures.

(Note: Where I use the word "you" above, it's the impersonal "you". I don't know Barrien's character and am not speaking about any other specific player or their character either. None of you are one-dimensional, even if this question and my answer might be.)

I guess the most concise way to say what I think about this is:

It's totally fine to RP with characters from the other side of the class divide.

But I have criticism when people completely ignore or even actively resist recognizing the class divide in the content of that RP.

I'm leaving this on both AMA's up at the moment because I know i could benefit from some advice in this area and i hope others could, too. What, to you, makes a good @note? What kind of info should it contain or not contain. How much info? What tends to grab your attention? Or annoy you? Be as elaborate as possible, please.
Thanks for the question. I don't know if you've seen it or not, but I don't really have anything to add to my answer over here:

I'm back.
What kind of corpie characters would you like to see more of? Also, welcome back!
Welcome back :)

What's the current state of the factions? In your opinion, which one needs more attention directed to them? WJF, TERRA, gangs, etc.? And how can one, as a player, stir up conflict between them?

I don't know from "current state". I've been gone for 2 months.

As for corpies, ones willing to act as I described above to Barrien would be a start. Beyond that, I'll be working on giving themely corpies reasons to use Mixers and plot against each other. Sometimes they need to be given reasons.

"how can one, as a player, stir up conflict between" [a list of factions]

What's in it for your character?

What motivates your character to stir up conflict between others?

There has to be a point. Show me the money. If you know what the motivation is, then you know what needs to be done.

"I'm back."

False alarm.

I'm not back. Shit came up and my life hasn't let up on me.

Sorry. I'd really like to contribute, play, and pass what I know on to the next generation of new GM's.

Health comes first. I have some hard months ahead. I'll see you when I see you.

My current plot that I'd love to see pay off has really tickled my fancy and I think you'd like it.

It runs on the mass-distribution of wealth sort of thing but it runs on a basis of making Deckers ICly more important than they are right now, especially the darker side of decking. But, it requires lots of GMs intervention to try and run since it's one that could have (At least temporary) ramifications on the gameworld as a whole even if it lands the involved parties permed or banished.

However, I won't say more than that to keep everyone in suspense.

I don't like posts like that, Linekin. I hope everything's ok. Get better. We'll miss you, but take care of yourself and i hope we see you again soon.
Oh! Yeah. I really AM back this time!

Ask me anything.

How would you like to see corporate characters using there power more often? I get the segregation verbally and such needs to be enforced more, but is there some actions most corpies should start doing (ex. Sneering, spitting, looking wary of Mixers on the maglev, etc) to make things more themely in your opinion?
Is there an even balance of corpies/mixers or is there a short supply or need of one or the other averagely and if so which; if appropriate to ask. I know there is no shortage of players.

Is there such a thing as incorporating too much into a character backstory/history? Not talking about some super assassin that has incredulous skills and such; just pouring too many details and such in? I have the constant feeling when trying to make a character with pre-planned goals that I'm building them up too much; have found a character that is essentially nothing before the game, and is built by it; is easier and more believable but have several idea's at the moment and always come to the point that for that less than exceptionally planned character feels wrong, even though aside from a few minor details that I would bring to light to admin for context; would be plausible.

How should you approach a situation, when playing a new character; you face a character or group of characters you knew as your previous character? I know that your two characters have no connection to one another whatsoever and are entirely different people. I have always tried to put my character into different situations and around different groups rather than falling into the same circles, situations permitting. But what if faced with a character that given the right circumstance, your character would associate with that character that you knew with previous character? I would prefer to be involved with different characters all the time and I don't want to fall into the category of METAing, but as well I know that my play style is easily recognized, so am just curious of possible options and approaches before a situation like that arises.

How would you like to see corporate characters using there power more often? Is there some actions most corpies should start doing to make things more themely in your opinion?

Abusing Mixers is only a start.

USING them is going further into the theme.

Is there an even balance of corpies/mixers or is there a short supply or need of one or the other averagely and if so which; if appropriate to ask.

Borderline inappropriate, but I'll answer anyway - the balance is fine. Play which side you want.

Is there such a thing as incorporating too much into a character backstory/history? I have the constant feeling when trying to make a character with pre-planned goals that I'm building them up too much;

Detail? No, there's not really "too much detail", that's fine.

But yes, I would totally say that OOC expectations should be kept simple or small.

How should you approach a situation, when playing a new character; you face a character or group of characters you knew as your previous character?

The simplest thing to do is to just stay away from them.

Only slightly less simple than that is, if you are going to interact with them, just don't meta. Put a mild extra effort into playing dumb if you have to, and don't focus on those characters.