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Staying Themely
How to stay themely in the world of Withmore

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to address a topic that comes up rather often, especially as players get more experience with the game. It's sort of an awkward topic and it means we have to discuss what constitutes meta gaming a bit, as well as what a GMs job is Sindome. It is also one of those topics that doesn't have strict right or wrong answers. Often times the answer is 'it depends'.

Notifying GMs of Actions

JoeMixer wants to go topside and beat up SamCorpie. He goes topside, beats SamCorpie up, and runs back to Red through the sewers before the SamCorpie (and the GMs) know what hit them! Success.

Or is it? It's difficult to say. Did Joe only get away because the GMs were unavailable, not paying attention, or otherwise occupied? If he did, then we might consider what Joe did to be 'being meta'. Why is this? Well, topside is supposed to be significantly safer than Red and definitely under a much higher level of surveillance. It is somewhat un-IC for the Judges to not respond if say, SamCorpie was at the bank when he got beat up.

If JoeMixer had told the GMs that he was going to attempt to beat up SamMixer, the GMs would have been ready for it and they would have stopped Joe. Probably clone deathed him too! Success.

Or is it? The GMs are not here to foil your plots. We are here to enforce the theme! We aren't going to preemptively stop you from taking an action or stack the deck so high against you that you have no chance to succeed-- unless that is what the theme calls for.

Here's some context: If JoeMixer let the GMs know via notes ahead of time, and then xhelped (and got some form of confirmation that GMs were available), and then headed to Gold to enact his plan, it might have been possible for JoeMixer to do what he needed to do and escape into the sewers, or a taxi, before the Judges arrived.

If that same situation happened on Green, it would be significantly harder, both due to having to travel farther to the safety of Red, and because the Judges are going to be more wary on Green.

If that same situation happened on Blue, well, getting away should be but a dream in the eye of babes. Unless there is some carefully enacted plan involving distractions and misdirection or perhaps even bribes.

It's supposed to be that way. Everyone needs to buy into the fact that we are all playing the same shared hallucination-- to paraphrase William Gibson. This is the world we live in. The GMs are not out to stop your fun. We just want you to be on the same page as everyone else, about what that fun entails. Going topside to rob or maim or cause havoc is super fun and I implore more people to do it. At the same time we all need to expect and understand that without GM supervision, NPCs cannot animate and react to the world the way they should. They cannot coordinate and hunt down fugitives, for instance. Or organize a response to a corpie being attacked outside their corporation in broad daylight, in front of numerous cameras.

We all have to understand that that isn't themely. It doesn't make sense. That kind of thing flies on Red because it's an everyday occurrence.

There is no hard line in the sand regarding what should or should not require you to notify the GMs ahead of time for actions you're going to take-- and often times there are situations where you the player are thrust into something and you don't have time to notify GMs because you're fighting or fleeing for your life. We understand that. However, please take care to note when your actions might be breaking the theme of the game, simply because GMs are not around to respond appropriately.

And also don't consider those appropriate actions to be us coming down on you. Don't consider GM response to be something you should avoid. If you start thinking like that, remind yourself that your actions might not be themely without the GMs intervening. You aren't trying to one up us and we aren't trying to one up you. If you don't tell us something you're doing because you think you'll have an easier time getting away with it successfully, then you might be about to take an unthemely action or you might be approaching the game from the wrong point of view. It's all about the challenge right?

I'd love to hear some player thoughts and feedback on this.

-- S

I'm surprised of no feedback as of yet, and though I agree with everything that was styled above, I have never looked at the GM's as negating the world of fun we traverse. I am however still getting accustomed to @notes.

I have noted instances and interactions in the past that fell more on my own expectations of a viewed role chosen to play, only to find from my own standpoint that I wasn't achieving the intended image and then felt I was playing the character incorrectly, and was caught amidst a plethora of frustrations wanting to further explain my intents but never quite getting to a point where I perceived them as genuine to the character until enough notable instances had occurred to shape the character further that it felt like if I was to @note them then, that it would spam every GM that logged on; while simply trying to convey a story that started off on the wrong foot and became ever better than expected. I have also avoided noting when still developing and culminating intents, plans and motivations; not wanting help furthering or energy wasted; on a nothing character that I still haven't figured out where to go with. I know those situations are much different than the ones listed but a plea of mercy is still pressed. I have established a few plot ideas for the city itself or for characters I don't yet think I could portray and do them any justice, in hopes the GM's may be intrigued by idea's and possibly even know a player that would fit the bill, but sent through unconventional means and not in @notes as of yet, as I've been pouring myself into something else.

I do find the @notes themselves intimidating, not the GM's that read them. If I were joe blow and I happened across some loose grenades lying about, I would make a note explaining the majority of the situation; getting irked by some upper-class corporate with an ignorant demeanor, I would note graphically.

If I got a tip off about said ignorant corpie going to be wandering home on the lev's alone, I would hope I had enough time to plan beforehand and note every scrutinizing detail of the emotions and fantasies dancing about in the depths of my chars mind and their actions planned to ensue, and continuing up until an interaction is made or at least until I head out in search of and where intending to look, though the location may be different than that that was expected.

I can't guarantee anything in the duration of the interaction, time permitting I guess. After the actual interaction though, especially if violent in nature; I would imagine the next note would come only after reaching a comfort zone the char is privy to, denoting the horrific acts that transpired when those plans finally came to fruition. Much as I expect RP to preside, I can't expect my char to stand around in a daze while I fight a war of keystrokes to @note what went down.. Can I?

In the same regard, what if the intent was just to go up to gold to do some shopping, and without expectation someone pushed one of your characters buttons, knowingly or not; and you're on the brink of an onslaught. Do you @note a very short and generalized notation of it and leave the rest until the smoke settles? Is it alright to play it by ear and note it if time permits or leave it until the adrenaline is wearing off?

What about characters that over analyze situations and plan for worst case scenario's? If they have a plan in their mind -if- a certain situation were to arise, is it best to note in case of, or again play by matter of instance?

I have put a lot more planning into my own play and you can expect to see several notes at first, but that will dwindle down once everything has a rough establishment, only time and instances permitting more but I again wonder.

I want to involve everyone in the telling of a story, and I know that is almost impossible but for grander schemes is it best to show only parts at a time as the time draws closer to reaching one of many goals; before revealing more leaving mystery to build on the pre-established intents, or is it best to note every tidbit that bears relevance to the hopeful plans, laying everything clearly on the table and just adding alterations as tasks complete and retractions when it has to be recalculated?

I have never documented so much information OOC'ly except in physical or digital notepads within my reach; in the past usually just involving characters and other plot related things entirely in the IC environment as it plays out and rolling with it, sometimes involving GM's with interest in the matter through submitted mini-plots and larger plots alike. I like the idea of establishing more OOC'ly as it holds the player to actions and consequence rather than just playing solely on whims of the moment and current mood, and leaves opportunity for several to foresee perspective approaches, possibilities and retaliatory measures but as well what if the story is nothing more than an uneventful street urchin living in the gutters?

A character that is simply surviving and rolling with whatever comes, living on circumstance and whims (though I still don't think I would run up to gold and kill someone on a whim). Don't laugh, sometimes when I'm shy on idea's I've found just simply playing in the background of the world can be fulfilling and sometimes even turn into much more without assistance whatsoever, just atmosphere, perspective and circumstances.

I have to say, some of the best fun i've experienced is when the GM's are reigning terror down on the city for whatever reason it may be at the time, player, plot or just random occurrence. They call you wiz and gods for a reason (okay game masters too), fear of wrath is as well, part of the fun, especially when playing everything as proper as one can, not simply slipping or META'ing.

Great topic!

So, I'm a terrible example of this - I rarely @note and xhelp...however, I make a solid effort to advertise my actions via RP (Involving other PC's, Using easily GM monitored methods of communication, etc) and try to remember to check @who if I'm doing weird shit.

Golden Rule - If it involves an NPC. A GM must be involved.

Silver Rule - If it involved a PC and something your character would struggle to do with GM's present...you should probably involve them. This also applies if you're doing something potentially unthemely, presents heavy consequences, or really just shitting in someone else's cereal. I am fond of making exceptions rule based on not killing people and furthering plot/rp. If my actions keep the game moving forward without dramatically being out of pocket - I say okay.

I relate this a lot to porn. It's hard to put into words but I know it when I see it.

Reefer: that last remark rings true, about the porn. I've always felt like I knew what I was doing and how to go about it on m own accord without involving the higher ups until necessity called upon it, even if it meant waiting for the right audience to enact something. Slither just awoke several aspects that I'm not entirely familiarly comfortable with yet and just want to make sure I'm on the same page as everyone else. I do my best not to let my play lack in the aspects I see before me, but I know there's always things amidst the background fog of the world, I never actually looked at it that my character may alter the world around it by it's history or planned intentions; but rather solely from actions themselves, or the escaping whispers of such plans from a cain's cold lips. The story involves us all, With what Slither called to light, I just want to clarify which is best to add to the flavour of it all, personally a fan of mystery but it's not just me playing either. No matter what, I love these topics coming about, assisting the learning curve of newbie and oldbie alike.

I'll know it when I see's it he says.. ;o)~