Considering the recent discourse on what topside is and isn't, I thought people would appreciate something to help frame their mindset when approaching topside RP, whether as a current or future corpie, or a Mixer looking to interact. The following is merely a list of guidelines and expectations for topside RP, all of which are generalizations and hopefully vague, so please bear that in mind before spouting ACKSHUALLY or expounding too much on things that are better left FOIC. A lot of the intrigue to corporate RP is, surprisingly, the intrigue itself. So no spoilers, please, and mind the gap before jumping in about exceptions. Ready? No? Well fuck it, here we go anyway.
#1 Passivity breeds stagnation, stagnation breeds boredom
Extended metaphor time!
Topside is crazy 4D chess with multiple players and pieces on the board. And the players are pieces as well! However, chess is a long and drawn out game, hinging on careful decision making with long term plans in the future. Much less, the idea of turns is thrown out the window and you might get skipped entirely. It is a patient and methodical game, sometimes involving waiting for the right opportunity to move certain pieces... but that doesn't mean you can't move others in the interim...
What does this mean for a corpie? If you're not moving pieces, you're still part of the game. Other people can and will move pieces, a lot of the time with you unaware, even if you're the piece being moved. And corpies aren't the only pieces on the board!
Find out the rules to the game, even if it means being a pawn for a while. You might just make it to the other side of the board and become a queen!
#2 You are not your job
But HolyChrome, I am but a lowly nanogenic researcher or requisitions specialist. What can I do? Good question! A lot! "You are not your job" is a two-fold statement.
The first being not to expect jumping in as CorpSec will suddenly enter you into the field of crazy bullshit SpecOps. If you think by taking a role such as biotech, the GMs will flood you with hours of RP as you synthesize polymers, you're going to have a bad time. Occasionally, there are GM plots which will spurn you, but if you're hoping to sit on your hands and be handed the chance to get a promotion, it'll likely end worse for you. This isn't to say that some jobs -don't- supply more RP, but those also take a certain mindset and dedication to them. Some people get to use their skills more than others, but this is a very important fact of topside to remember.
The second part is that you are not a mindless drone. Don't be another NPC. Your character should have goals outside your job and even you corp. As reinforced by staff frequently lately, NPCs will tell you to do or not to do a variety of things. It's your choice whether to listen... and when you don't, that's plot!
Mileage -will- vary depending on what type of player you are, the job you choose, and what corp you end up in. But in the end, it's in your hands how you decide to act.
#3 Expectations are everything
A subject about expecting expectations concerning your own expectations? How meta...
One place I see many PCs get hung up on are pipe dreams they don't know are pipe dreams yet. Topside is obviously full of world changing potential, PCs recognize this, and get discouraged that the GMs don't want to let them build a brand new type of aero, create their own clone competitor to Genetek, or expand RePet to include cats, snakes, and velociraptors.
Or they approach the GMs with feasible concepts, but are shot down because they're not aware of extenuating circumstances, like being able to hit another faction but because of the low PC presence there, it wouldn't actually be any fun for anyone involved.
There's absolutely a "secret language" that comes to knowing how to thrive topside, and it all comes with experience and learning it through failures. Not just making attempts of certain actions, but also discussing them with NPCs. While there are many veteran topside players around, I also understand other PCs being apprehensive about approaching these supposed sharks. Which is why there's other resources to find out how to scheme. Simple tricks like knowing which NPC to puppet-request to cover a potential five different others is a great example. Or how plots that involve the creation of a whole new set of objects/place, or extensive puppeting, generally don't get approval. Or preparing your notes, puppet requests, and proposal in such a way that you only need to potentially answer a few minor questions and get a yes or no. GMs are more than willing to hear out your ideas and also tell you why they won't work.
Find out what's possible by trying. Bookending this where we began, passivity will not lead you to discovering things. And assuming the GMs will come along and hand them to you won't help you in the long run either.
Thank you all for reading this and I hope it helps inspire people. I'm sure some of these can help Mixer players feeling stuck in a rut as well. Again, all vague generalizations and if anyone would like to contribute with their own bits of wisdom, please keep this trend.