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Are we S.P.E.C.I.A.L?
Unlike the ambient pop.

This is something I've been considering for some time, so let me be clear. This is not to 'smallworl'd things but rather provide a realistic explanation as to why people generally knows of your character's existance, why you stand out on SIC and on the streets, especially in Red since it is so incredibly crowded.

The title's a bit of a joke at the Fallout games 'SPECIAL' stats, which technically are the same order in Sindome if you look at it from @stats (though oddly different in @assign ue). Anyway, that's unrelated.

So my theory is this, since most of the Mix is poor and starving, many are homeless and resort to literally scraping for food or in the worst case, eating people. How come this rarely happens for any of the many PC's in Red? In fact, quite a few mixers seem to be doing as well as some corporate citizens. The thing I've started to figure out is that every player character is SPECIAL, they might just not know it yet. They are more ambitious, or more lucky in finding work, than most of Withmore City's population. I don't know why, they don't know why, but they find opportunities where 70+ million people wouldn't. Whether it is some kind of charm they got, or whether it's because they're very ambitious, player characters can have really big downs but they also have a lot of ups that most of Red sector's individuals ever have.

This helps me to smallworld less, even if my character believes he isn't special, at least not until he's significant enough to matter. It helps me not to 'break the fourth wall' and make overly obvious hints at people for seeming small-worldy. In a sense, it gives me a reason to notice certain individuals more and with probable cause.

Also considering cyberpunk is all about samurai heroes, protagonists and big names, I'd say from an OOC point of view, this is fine to consider.

I may be totally off the rails here, but I'd like it if people were constructive in their replies. Anyway, what's your thoughts on this?

I think that's pretty spot on. PCs are supposed to be the standout characters from the grey blur of Mixers and Corpies crowding the streets. Even the poorest Mixer or the most zombie-like Wageslave PCs probably have some qualities that stand them out from the average ambient-pop person...

And I'm pretty sure Sindome's own publicity material on one of the MUD reviews sites actually describes the stats system as a 'Fallout-style S.P.E.C.I.A.L' system ;)

I would never consider this theory IC of course. This is purely from an OOC perspective.
I feel people play out 'knowing' who you are too fast and loose and sadly monitoring this 24/7 is impossible, just yesterday there was a GM shout about this.

That being said, I don't know who most people are because this game is a character grinder revolving door and new players have caught up on how to survive longer *wink*.

Also, I try to overplay not knowing or not caring about other people because that's on theme and can fuel some RP too.

Sure there is some big media idol that maybe I should know about and maybe I do in those cases, but even then everyone is replaceable and interchangeable. Today's Juicy Vee is tomorrows Jimmy Babylon, scanner?

True legends and outliners are people who leave their mark even after they are gone.

The reason most Mix players don't appear to be poor or starving is because they're supposed to be roleplaying that and aren't.

It's cyberpunk, nobody's special.

There has to be some level of suspension of disbelief going on for us to meaningfully interact with other players. If our characters truly did not matter all that much and we were simply another face among tens of millions, then we'd all be studiously ignoring each other OOCly. We'd never hear other players on SIC, we'd not see them in jam-packed streets, we'd never react to each other getting attacked in the streets, etc.

To me, preventing smallworlding is all about being able to tell interesting stories and a big part of that is enabling characters to be able to be shits ICly. If the HoJ diligently smashed every criminal act topside then playing a corpcit would amount to being SIndome being the most boring cubicle simulator ever.

Similarly, in Red, we'd never interact with other players. Or if we did, it would be a chance encounter and statistically nearly impossible for us to find one another again. I think that this is largely why teaching new players (especially if they are new to the genre of text gaming) the ins and outs of smallworlding is so challenging. It's a super delicate tightrope-walking act that takes a lot of practice and trial and error on the part of the player to come to understand. The best we can do as players is try and steer people with our IC reactions and let staff handle the outliers.

As for IC, my character tries hard to treat every other character as if they're a player. This includes chatting up and greeting known NPC's, attacking NPC's who fit descriptions of whomever they're looking for, and other such activities. It gets them in trouble more often than not, but that's all part of the fun!


I agree.


You make many good points, that if we all saw each other as another person out of millions, we wouldn't get to know a single person properly. There'd be no RP, because we'd avoid each other.


I don't think it is because people don't play poor that they aren't, I think it's the fact that everyone wants to make something interesting out of their character, and not just be one in the crowd. From an OOC standpoint, characters from any sector is a lot more fortunate or experiences more eventfulness than the majority of the city's population. In some cases, they experience less. Supposedly there are muggings and pickpockets and deaths all over Red. But quite often, people never get mugged, never die or get dipped.

Of course I think we should provide RP such as avoid or slander the other side of the class divide, and in many cases this creates more RP. But I still feel that OOCly, the game's supposed to make something out of your roleplay, your character. And it doesn't take long for you to do so, if you're determined. Sometimes I've been amazed how simple it can be to become corporate, as an example.

Rewards for putting effort into your character and roleplay are certainly a thing, but an air of 'specialness' and a bit of Mary Sue-yness is probably sending the wrong message. Nobody is a protagonist.

I think that playing up your character's importance or sense of self-worth is good RP. The fake it till you make it approach.

I also think that being entitled and having a over-inflated sense of self is also good RP, provided it's kept IC!

Don't confuse narrative focus with importance.
The struggle is getting people to act fallible, to be honest. People need no encouragement to play a uguu special snowflake badass, that's basically the default state. What's hard is getting people to play flaws, embrace the suck a bit and be unappealing assholes.
Special doesn't necessarily mean important, smart, strong or perfect. It just means you have a narrative, whether you ICly know it or not. My character does not think he is more important than other people, but there is definitely something around every player character that makes them pop out for other people.

Of course, people don't need more encouragement to act like they are important or special. This is something people overdo already. This is just a theory to help (at least help myself) cope with some of the more lacking sides of the game. Such as playing a game with 50 ish players at a time, but ICly has millions of people. Not to mention that the majority are shit poor. This helps me find reason within these facts, OOCly.

And on the flaws side: I always give my characters significant flaws in their personality, and they're no jack-of-all-trades.
I don't get what you mean by lacking.

You have to respect ambpop. If I walk into the bar and your character is the only PC in there, then I might strike up a conversation with them above all the ambient NPCs in the room. Did something about your character demand the spotlight in that moment? No, but I've got to talk to SOMEONE and for the sake of the narrative that just usually winds up being a player character.

PCs have a lot of potential but most of them never reach it and for the most part even the ambient NPCs are just as cool and amazing or boring and silly as they are.

Almost every character does start out as one of the poor homeless starving scrappers on the streets.

On your SPECIAL character sheet, "Ordinary" isn't 2019 chummer ordinary. It's 2104 ordinary. You are the atrophied, unwary, weak, gross, dumb, uncoordinated mess down on your luck. But you live and overcome, day by day (via UE). You rise up and become a normal, competent 2019 adult. And then, a badass.

This gives me an idea...

I don't mean to say this is how it is ICly. I just mean to say that why you can build yourself up from nothing while some people grew up in Withmore never amounting to anything is because you as a player have more opportunities than nameless bodiless ambient population has. This inspired me to see the players as the hidden heroes in the narrative. Like in a TV show but every main character is separated individually and maybe never meet the other main characters. This is purely that. And it has helped me accept the fact people react so strongly to each other on public SIC, as an example. If you're just one in 80 million. At least you're making moves in the city, et cetera.
Your character isn't special though. Nobody's is. There are no more heroes now that the megacorps have pulled human civilization into a death spiral. No one matters anymore.
While I agree that we don't have white knights in shining armor in Cyberpunk, I do disagree that characters can't have their own heroes. It's up to the character to determine what, if any heroes they have.

Sure, jobaka swooped out of the alley and blasted the hell out of the chum that was about to kill your character, but your character has no idea that joebaka was just in it for the contract on generic baddie's head.

I also think that it's kind of denying human nature to ignore just how myopic people are in the day-to-day. Sure the planet is dying and megacorps are sucking the soul out of every single possible way to make more flash, but your character just got a two stack tip for doing a pizza delivery and they're having an AMAZING day, you know?

Sure, but God is dead, the city moves on, and the universe does not give two shits.

I mean go watch the new Bladerunner. The whole theme is about finding something to care about in the face of utter meaninglessness.

I remember the idea of Player Characters being "special" coming from when I was playing AD&D, years ago. It could be an easy way to explain why they could be so powerful compared to a basic peasants.

But being "special" could also mean that PCs were "adventurers". They simply had ambition or at least the will to break away from their predestined condition, take risks and discover the world.

I see Withmore it as a huge concentration of people. This comes with a whole lot of opportunities of all kinds, from the small special shops of BladeRunner to big gambling scams. I don't see all mixers as miserable. Lot's of them figure out how take benefits of situations and make their way up the poorest.

Some PCs suffer, are miserable, eat people. Some climb on the back of others and some figure out how to make good chyen, but not most of them. Many work at SHI and run crates.

Maybe PCs show more ambition and try a little harder to rule their destiny and make a little avantage in the balance of success compared to NPCs. But not that much. It see it lost in the mass of people in the city.

This is not necessarily poorly role played. The 'smallworld' sensation could be due to the fact that people with ambition naturally tend to hang with similar people simply because they see in them more potential to help them attain their objectives than with old factory workers or tramps dying slowly in dark alleys. Even numerous, those people are just not noticed, like if they were part of the landscape.

I like the way you think @Rabajoi.

And you too @TalonCzar.

I'm not saying we're supposed to be or feel or seem special, but some people either enforce the theme overly much so that it breaks the fourth wall, and some people undermine it overly much which instead breaks immersion. I think having a good balance is the best outcome. Where you do not intentionally smallworld or act like it is the real world, but at the same time don't necessarily overlook people just because there's a crowd in the street.

That metaphor of people being very shortsighted is a good example. It's like that. I remember having a friend calling it the 'protagonist syndrome'. We're all stuck in our own mind, unable to truly see from another person's perspective.

And yet, we are all characters and the ambient population doesn't have as much personality or depth as the characters do. Honestly, the only reason I created this theory for myself is to help support myself and not question why people are even bothering screaming at certain nobodies on public SIC 24/7 because they should just blend in with the multitude of nobody-peoples' voices. It helps me make reason of it.
About 'smallworld', I just recall a parallel in real life.

In the countryside, someone may easily know well all of the 250 inhabitants of their village, all quite different.

In the middle of a huge city, someone may know well 20 close friends and 30 co-workers quite similar to them, and be lost in the anonymous crowd.

The 756 contacts of your social network do not count as people you know, right?

OP, this is how I think about any character thats literally in the game to be interacted with, PC or NPC. These individuals stand out for some reason.

This is also part of how stealth works, becoming just another nobody in the crowd.


Thank you! This is just the kind of thing I'm thinking of.


I live in a city with a population of about 137 thousand people (by early 2016, so probably more now). Yet it is still pretty likely I'll run into someone I've met before, or someone I know. Especially if they take the same routes. So you can go both ways about this. Sometimes the world feels smaller than it is.

lol i actually intended to play my character as a wage slave. and just hope something pulls him out of his monotonous life. just as an experiment. ive yet to actually play this game. i just lurk and browse and think about various RP games to try...but i havent really given them a commitment
"Also considering cyberpunk is all about samurai heroes, protagonists and big names, I'd say from an OOC point of view, this is fine to consider."

Cyberpunk definitely is not, inherently, about the heroic underdog.

There are of course exceptions with more light-hearted approaches, but no one is a hero. You might think you are, but eventually you're faced with gruesome and grizzly choices. Even more so in the tone of SD.

You're a unique and special snowflake, sure. But so is everyone else. And no one cares.

Tears in the rain.

From Dr. Horrible (

It may not feel too classy

Begging just to eat

But you know who does that? Lassie.

And she always gets a treat

So you wonder what your part is

‘cause you’re homeless and depressed

But home is where the heart is

So your real home’s in your chest

Everyone’s a hero in their own way

Everyone’s got villains they must face

They’re not as cool as mine

But folks, you know it’s fine to know your place

Everyone’s a hero in their own way

In their own not-that-heroic way

I see it as a balance.

On one hand, yes. The PCs and NPCs and characters you can interact with are usually outliers. They are literally not so 'ordinary'. The have the potential to draw more attention and do far cooler things than your ordinary ambient population guy or gal. A mixer able to afford a clone and regular updates is already something special when compared to the ambient mixers who are fighting over a a scrap of food. So special doesn't necessarily mean insanely powerful super ninja assistant prize fighter.

On the other, I do feel that people have a hard time respecting the mix theme. The dirt, hunger, desperation, and need to do whatever it takes to live to tomorrow. It's a slum , a really bad slum. So many PC mixers are super clean, picky eaters, happy go lucky sorts who just want everyone to get along. I encourage anyone playing a PC mixer to embrace at least some aspects of the mix a bit more.

I also think there is a balance to be had in terms of how noticeable a PC/NPC is. Some PCs/NPCs honestly nothing that visibly stands out much in an eclectic city of millions. So consider where you are and all that when deciding how noticeable someone is. At the least, consider taking the time to throw up a pose that kind of justified/explains why your character picked out another.

I appreciate you underlining that, Mobius.

I feel like I've noticed a lot of "Protagonist Syndrome" going around. Which has always been the case, maybe just more frequency, but there's a balance like you said.

There's a reason why there's a personality category in the wiki

Cyberpunk doesn't have protagonists but it does have anti heroes who enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame. They aren't the heroic protagonists we imagine in movies but the outliers and dissinters who broke the mold.

Even with 75 million people there are characters (ambient or real ones) that everyone hears about and it makes sense that everyone talks about them because they stand out and aren't one more of the 75 million.

There are individuals in 2019 that live in a country of over 300 million inhabitants and its people can't stop talking about them. Politicians, celebrities, and serial killers with cult followings.

One of the staples of Cyberpunk literature is the actions of the anti hero.

Sorry for necroing an old thread, I hope this is okay, but what clicked to me is that it isn't that the PCs are necessarily specially talented or unique, it's not even that they're rising stars, since many PCs are fine with treading water at the same state of being indefinitely. It's that PCs are those with the potential to become something more. Once in a while NPCs make a move to climb or protect themselves, and they can go very far, usually even beyond us, but they're still pieces of a larger game at the end of the day, doesn't matter if they're a laborer, a legendary solo, or a media personality richer than God. Once they became an NPC their actions move at the speed of tectonic plates and they have mostly exhausted their potential, they have reached the summit of their achievement. PCs on the other hand possess a near infinite potential to be anything, to grow and to regress until they either die or retire to become another fixture, an "NPC" who outlasts most of the hotshots but whose day in the limelight is over.