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Meta?
Change my mind

So! Fun facts. I'm a returning player from years and years ago and I'm having a little difficulty wrapping my head around what appears to be the current perspective of the game as a whole. But I also don't know that it's the game as a whole, just something I've seen enough times that I'm starting to think about it. This isn't a "what the fuck, guys? You're being dumb!" post so much as "Am I thinking about this wrong, or doing something wrong?"

So here's the deal. When I played last, you made a point of interacting with PCs, because the game wasn't any fun otherwise. You didn't entirely ignore the ambient population, but it wasn't something that was constantly brought up, almost like a defense mechanism either. Now I'm noticing there's a bigger push to... ignore PCs, and let people decide if they want to do something that will get everyone's attention. At the same time, there's explicit encouragement to interact with PCs in the rules, and I've been instantly picked out of a crowd a number of times. I'm starting to get whiplash trying to balance this out, and I feel like I'm becoming more reluctant to engage other PCs, given the occasional IC comments of "Oh, you just picked me, out of all these people here, to ask that, huh?" or the like...

I'm going to be honest, my immediate reaction to this is that it's being used as a metaphorical club to discourage uninteresting parties or a particular type of RP they don't want to happen (i.e. getting mugged, basic immy stuff they've gone through a hundred times, interrupting their current agenda, etc).

Hoodies are another matter (note: not shrouds... hoodies, which show other clothing). Looking over the forums I see a lot of push to start overlooking people with disguises, to the point that Slither went through the trouble of coding up generated shrouded and hooded NPCs, and that's fine. But surely there are times when it's perfectly acceptable to say "Hey. That guy in the red hoodie wearing all that protek gear, and holding the uzi looks EXACTLY like the guy I saw hanging around here earlier before the place got shot up! Let's get him!" Is that not perfectly acceptable? If they're making no effort to hide other identifying features, then surely I can say "that might be", right?

Legitimately, am I thinking about this wrong?

When someone enters a crowded location with intent to interact, they should make a pose about entering and what they're doing before beginning to interact. There are a few exceptions, but mostly this.

With a disguise, you should be trying to both fool the character ICly and the player OOCly. I think the unspoken rule is that you need more than one indicator to IC suspect someone is who you're looking for. Shortdesc+Unique clothes, Voice+Unique location, etc.

Mistaken identities are indeed a thing and plenty of poor NPCs have been brutally slain due to mistaken identity as well.

Help disguise says that voice is enough to ID someone, but I recently asked about this and it's what ynk said. You need three or four pieces of ID info for it to be suspicious.
If people are picking you out of a crowd instantly then that is on them as a player, not you. In crowded locations players have to police themselves and not instantly pick out the PC standing in a bar full of people unless they obviously know them or something. However this does not mean that you can't just randomly wander to them and engage in RP especially in public places -- maybe throw a pose overlooking them, or doing something. If someone tells you off for trying to engage with them fuck 'em. This is a RP game. It's situation specific really. If you're just looking for someone to RP with, walk into a bar and see a few PCs and then try to RP with them? Sure go ahead.

If you're looking for someone you've never seen before to try and kill them and they're in a bar, or you just were on the phone with someone who tells you to go to X location and you do and instantly assume the caller on the phone was the only PC standing there? Don't. It's a lot more flavor to try and identify the other person first.

As for the stuff about hoods and ProTek, if someone with protek pants holdign an uzi shoots up the bar and then another few minutes later walks in with just a hood on, with their same gear and weapon on display? It's definitely a reason to get suspicious, but not to the point where you can say "oh Joe had the same outfit, so this hooded person also must be Joe!". Then you should RP it and try to get CONCRETE evidence that person is, indeed, Joe Shoot-the-Bar.

Every street and bar is absolutely jam packed with people, and a lot of them are wearing hoods or ponchos. If you're at a bar or out on the corner you should probably not be bothering poncho guys unless there's a reason--maybe ask them to put out that cigar or buy 'em a drink if they're at the bar and you're feeling friendly from all the na-3z.

Ambpop is there to cushion RP. It gives you a plausible reason at all times to not want to be bothered or to not notice something going on. It is not however a shield against interaction. If someone is bitching that you singled them out for a scam or a mugging then they're having an inappropriate OOC reaction to IC events. If you want to be invisible, that's what the stealth skill is for.

Two different -- often non-overlapping, answers to meta-gaming PCs:

1) What various players think should happen

2) What is actually enforced under the rules

If you are undisguised, in my experience you can go blue in the face talking about what you think is reasonable based on ambient pop, et cetera, et cetera, but the justifiable meta-game protections for undisguised PCs are very limited.

If you are disguised properly, and don't give obvious tells of your identity, that's a different story and the meta-game protections there are considerable, and players should involve GMs in those instances where they think their identity is being discovered through OOC, rather than IC, means.

I've been informed on numerous occasions that interacting with players wearing disguises in populated areas (streets, some parts of bars/clubs) without some really good probable cause for doing so is metagaming.

Since being coached on it several times, I've simply taken the stance that people on streets or other crowded areas are wearing magical cloaks of invisibility.

I agree with Ben st- uhh Vera here. If you are singled out, its the luck of the draw, be glad you got some interaction, a mugging or scam can start a real fun path.
In fact, I actually remember having a conversation with staff at one point about asking them if it was okay to target people wearing shrouds specifically because I -wanted to rob them of said shroud- and being told that it's not okay to do so on streets.
Wait what, how is not robbing someone of their shroud a valid reason? Shrouds are very popular finds.
Appreciate the responses. There's definitely some things I get "knee-jerk" meta about, and I've been called on it a few times, so I've been more or less doing what Talon said and just ignoring hoods altogether lately to curb it.

To clarify, I'm always welcome (and looking) for any PC interaction, good or bad. It's just the seemingly inconsistent nature of whether or not to deliberately interact with PCs that gets confusing. I'm here to interact with players, and emoting to myself in hopes that someone feels like RPing with me at some point is a little boring and tedious. So I was hoping for some confirmation that occasionally picking PCs out of the crowd was acceptable, and I think I got it.

Because you can't pick one single shrouded person to "mug" them of their shroud that's also coincidentally a PC out of the hundreds of other shrouds and hoods in bars/streets/public crowded rooms.
@Evie The rationale was because there was 500 other shrouds on the street, therefore targeting the player object wearing one was metagaming.

I get it completely, but it does make break crime related to stealing them down to basically 'I see you in a apartment and I just murderhobo you for it.' which I don't think is really ideal, either.

Yes, please do pick out undisguised pcs and try to draw them in.
@TalonCzar Fair enough, but who are you going to rob then? I don't think they'll be okay with asking them if you can do a roll on whether you manage to rob a random shroud ambient pop instead.

The whole thing around shrouds is sorta getting silly. It's like as long as you have a shroud/hood, hardly anyone is gonna target you. You're invincible to all but those who really are dedicated to their goals of hunting you or something.

From this thread and others ive read, it seems like that honestly... Wearing an expensive shroud should make you a target of random crime, not less of one.
@Evie

This discussion should probably be taken to another thread, but I think it's one that deserves discussion. Between the get-out-of-consequences nature of disguises, along with the ability to layer them to an absolutely stupid extent now, I'm sure we have a good amount of things to discuss.

It's like as long as you have a shroud/hood, hardly anyone is gonna target you. You're invincible to all but those who really are dedicated to their goals of hunting you or something.

As it should be in a city of population ~80 Million. The IC detective work to properly identify PCs wearing shrouds and more involved disguises happens all the time, and it's trivial to meta-game that work through OOC means, so these protections exist for a reason.

Oh, one thing I thought about, if there's so many hooded and shrouded people everywhere, I feel like they should maybe balance out the economy on said items, too. How did all these lowlives get hoodies and shrouds when sometimes they're so rare they cost a few more kay than they used to? Et cetera. But that's not really related to this topic, I guess...

I didn't mean to be unconstructively criticising here by the way. But I do agree with the post-creator that sometimes people overly assume there is meta. I remember one time when I was somewhat newer, maybe a year ago or more, someone said in OOC that I wasn't 'respecting shroud dynamic' or something I honestly couldn't interpret at the time, and they ignored me IC when I had spoken to them. This fortunately doesn't happen a lot, but it's annoying.

might want to make a separate thread :-)
Someone male a thread then.please?
Except you don't know who is on the other side of the shroud, even if you have an idea as the player. Or that's been my experience.
I'm not gonna do it, it doesn't bug me personally often enough for that. The topic on meta assumptions interests me a lot more.
Except sometimes we dont care who is in the shroud, we just want the shroud. That should be reason to go after it.
I'm a little on the other end of the spectrum here, it seems. I think people far too often forget the ambient pop and that staff is very willing to let things I would consider meta slide for the sake of potential RP. Could just be me.

@Errant I get where you're coming from. In my opinion, I think it's both that and the opposite. Sometimes people ignore ambient pop too much. Sometimes they notice it so much that it just flat out ruins possible RP.
It could also be that I naturally think of terms of plots and broader portions of stories, and meta thinking goes right along side that for me, and I'm an ass about what isn't meta thinking but I think it is.
That's probably the truth, Evie. We do have a bunch of people here playing in different ways. Which is great, that's how we get so many amazing stories.
There's two different considerations: Role-play, and combat. While there may be a cooperative role-playing element to meta considerations, in that I'm not going to ignore the one other PC in a bar if I'm interested in being social, there is also a competitive PvP element -- which is to say, I want X dead, and I know X wears Y disguise, so I see Y and kill them, ignoring the fact that Y is just one of thousands of Ys, because I know there's not actually thousands OOC, there's just X.

Technically both meta-gaming but one is much more likely to be enforced than the other.

what 0x1mm said

it's situation specific and it's hard to generalize everything under one rule, it's more case by case instead.

For me, the last one is the fun part. Just pretend you really don't know! Do all the drek you would do to find out in real life, that's a whole section of RP. Possibly with more people. Maybe not if you're being sneaky, but you can still do the work to confirm it yourself.
If you're playing someone who is really stupid or maybe actually is delusional, you could just walk up to a shroud and ask them for directions, because you think they look interesting, you like people in shrouds. I don't know.

And I guess I don't see it much from the combat aspect, I don't often play combat-focused characters. When I walk into a situation, I do so with the intent to RP fairly, co-operatively. Not to use something to my advantage, OOCly. Sometimes I get the feeling combat is maybe a bit too competitive-focused. Most of the times I've been killed, I've not even been allowed to really react to it. I would much prefer getting the chance to roleplay injuries and such before I ultimately fall. I guess that only really happens when someone decides to torture you and not kill you, though. Combat often feels like a 'gameplay mechanic' rather than roleplay, to me.

Torturing people takes a whole lot of effort and 99% of the time PCs don't react appropriately to it, at least in my experience. With killing PCs there is usually a lot of RP that goes on around it, with GMs checking to see if someone is going around being an asshole murderhobo.

Generally if someone has gone through the trouble of tracking your character down and you've been attacked, RP has gone into it. They can't stop to emote with you or the attacker risks becoming the attacked. And it's not fair to say it doesn't seem like roleplay because gameplay mechanics are there to enhance RP. By that logic tailoring or mechanical work would just be 'mechanics'.

As for the competitive RP bit here, my personal opinion is that when it comes to killing PCs in SD you should give them the chance to get you back, just not in a suicidal way. Otherwise gear can be returned at a discount, you can give PCs a chance to settle up, etc.

That's my two chyen.

on the flipside. feel free to try to rob my character of their shroud despite having no idea who they are, what weapon they're carrying, or their capabilities.. just don't cry about it when my character sends you to the vats with no RP. it was self defense :)