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IC Punishments, OOC Fun
Death, Prison, TiDi, Mind Wipe, Banishment, Cryo

Hey Everyone -

We have a wide variety of IC punishments that we (and player characters) can use to enforce the IC laws. These are varied, and it's a punishment fits the crime kinda thing.

Many of you have had a run in with 'The Law'. You might have gotten a fine, or clone death, or maybe something 'worse'.

The thing is, people who are getting in trouble with the law are typically people having a lot of fun and creating a lot of fun for others.

10+ years ago I had a character who was banished. It made sense ICly, but at the same time, it removed me from the game for 3 months, in the sense that my character was stuck outside the dome with no one to RP with except the random NPC that was puppeted for me. This wasn't the most fun experience I've had on Sindome.

We've implemented a number of additional punishments over the years. These are meant to be fun and entertaining, but also not keep you away from the roleplay for long periods of time.

Time Dilation causes you to experience years and years of being locked up, but the actual experience lasts like a day. Allowing you to be 'punished' and for your character to have a real fear of this ever happening again. It gives you a chance to steer your character in a different direction (perhaps from brash no fucks given criminal, to secretive and careful criminal). It gives your character new motiviations and ideas to work with.

Mind Wipes, without going into too much IC detail, blank out some or all of your characters memories, allowing them to get out of a situation where ICly it would make more sense for them to be killed, or perhaps perma-killed by whatever entity they are in super deep with.

Actual prison is another possible punishment that we employ in some situations, using the new prison on Red. We have it setup so that there is some cool RP possibilities there but it's still a very tailored and GM heavy experience and it is only employed on certain occasions.

Banishment is always an option, but it puts a burden on the GMs to provide entertainment while outside the dome.

Cryo is another option. It's like a vacation, but with a very specific time limit. Your character goes into the freeze, Demolition Man style, and comes out with a desire to KNIT. Sometimes we even allow people to be reprogrammed during this process and then become unpaid Cryo Judges for a period of time to 'repay their debt'.

All of these punishments I've mentioned, and many that I haven't due to IC info-- are intended to provide a fun and entertaining punishment for all the cool shit your character did that got them in trouble. We have to balance the IC punishment with the OOC fact that you are a player in a game and want to have fun. However, there are situations where what makes sense from a theme perspective is calls for drastic things (Time Dilation, Mind Wipe, Banishment). We do these things, because we trust you.

We want you to take these experiences and incorporate them into your character. It should change their motivations, their goals, maybe even to an extent, their personality. Roll with the punches and enjoy yourself if you happen into one of these punishments.

Any questions / issues / discussion points on this?

-- S

TiDi is so bad from an IC standpoint. I can't see going through even a year or two of sitting immobile in solitary leaving a person able to get back to any semblance of a sane and healthy life, let alone the 10+ year sentences that pop up. Even in a world where people walk off grenades and run toward gunfights eager for loot it's a pretty weighty thing.

For the 22nd century hypercriminal, clone death or banishment don't seem so bad. If you've died eighty times, one more is (outside of the mortal terror of the moment and the human instinct to survive) maybe going to seem like an acceptable risk. If you're already an outlaw, getting back into the city illegally is something you could probably figure out. Either way, you'll probably come back madder and deadlier, which keeps the whole cycle of violence going A+.

I have a hard time envisioning 10 years of TiDi turning any human into anything other than a shivering wreck forever. It's extraordinarily cruel even by Sindome standards. Doesn't mean it isn't doubleplus good, but to me it definitely feels weightier than any of the other stuff for a career criminal.

Nicely said, Vera, this reminds me...

Michael Stevens (Vsauce anybody?) in his show Mind Field tried locking himself in a room for 3 days. They had no sense of time as the lights were kept on 24/7 and there were no windows nor any sights of the exterior world. At the third day he was beginning to present signs of mental degradation. Pretty much he was going insane. Now imagine that experience multiplied by 1000 when characters are thrown into exactly the same for 5, 10, 15, 20, or a thousand years. They'd be pretty much unsalvageable and beyond any repair.

You can see the video here: I remembered it when TiDi was first introduced in the game. Really mindboggling.

I enjoy the range of punishments given to the Law and the Judges that can be employed. There are many things offered, and one thing to keep in mind that even if it is a punishment in the IC sense, even the WJF is there for entertainment purposes and keep the RP going.

I think it's wise to consider the character and player both ICly and OOCly before giving them an appropiate punishment - Judges can tailor their punishments for characters to make it more fitting and adequate to them and provide the best development/RP possible.

For example, while cryo could be used on someone, maybe TiDi would be more fitting and fun for the player from an OOC standpoint.

Even though we do have a lot of punishment alternatives right now, I can see many more being introduced eventually - maybe even post on the Ideas thread with themely, immersive, fun alternatives. Maybe forced labour in the sewers or working in the WCS for a period of time hauling corpses for lighter crimes, greeting new-faced immigrants and always reminding them to obey the Law and prove to the WJF that you're a good boy from then on by teaching immigrants on how to NOT be a criminal.

In that example, I don't mean that the player should be forced in a job they won't have fun in - just providing an example that punishments like the cryojudge are cool in the sense that they allow players to take on jobs that are needed for the game at time.

Need more WCS? Offer small time criminals forced labour in the City Services for a couple months.

Make them a service worker and serve coffee to the very ones that they hate as Mixers.

Anyway, those are just light things that I think would allow players to experience more in the game while also keeping the health of the game in mind. These wouldn't be forced if the player didn't want it - maybe just an additional way out for those that don't want to go the usual prison/fine route. I think there's a lot of possibility in that.

A somewhat tangential point - I saw an NPC threaten to perm a character once if they took a certain criminal action that they were preparing for. Said character instantly did a 180 and walked home.

It was a fairly appropriate IC response given that there was no question that that NPC would have been able to do it, but I was left wondering OOCly if they didn't expect that person to do it anyway. Perming is a really, really weighty consequence with huge staff side restrictions and when NPCs bring it up, everyone clenches a little.

This is a really, really good topic! It feels like a hard one to discuss while being careful with IC info but there have been many times where I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do OOCly as a player, where I have wanted to take risks and do things to stimulate RP both for myself and others, but IC threats kept my character in line.

Making loud trouble is my favourite because it allows other players to see RP is going on and get involved, even though being a quiet and secretive pays off more for the individual, but being a loud mouth tends to attract punishments, which by their very nature are designed to curb bad behaviour.

Pretty much all of my favourite moments in the game have been scenes where bad shit happened and there was lots of RP around it. It provides heaps of inspiration and motivation.

At the same time, punishments can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow OOCly - I feel bad if I screw other people because I know how un-motivating it is if you feel like you can't make progress, especially for newer characters who are the easy targets - but also because we are all still human players and usually need the bad experiences to be balanced with the good.

Another thing is that it's hard to know what is expected of you as a player sometimes, what GM intentions are for you, what kind of RP is expected or desired from you, and how to know if you're on the right or wrong track.

I once had a staff member ask me why I didn't take an IC action that my character clearly wanted to, and the answer was that the IC consequences were simply too bad and too much of a sure thing. The staffer seemed a little bemused as to why I didn't just go for it anyway.

I dunno about everyone else, but I don't play to walk facefirst into every trap and bungle every job. I like trying to get away with stuff and sometimes succeeding, and the risk of IC consequences is enough to frequently deter me from bad behavior as I generally don't want to see my character fail.

It's hard to guess what staff expects out of you sometimes, and it's probably best not to worry about it and just do whatever seems IC. I guess that means sometimes doing nothing, but that's immersion for you.

I think we all get confused sometimes on what staff expect from us. Are we doing the right thing, the bad thing? My take on it is that if you're doing the wrong thing, you get signs of it. Staff value players that attempt to do things - whether it fails or succeeds - so if you get staff attention when you need it, for example, it usually means you're doing the right thing. Try not to drown and question yourself if you're doing good or bad from an OOC standpoint - the staff will guide you, and there's no need to worry.

On the topic of punishments, I do have one advice. You shouldn't be afraid to take risks or cause trouble. SD is a Cyberpunk world and it is about crime as much as everything else. The WJF isn't there to punish players from an OOC standpoint - they're there to provide entertainment, RP opportunities, plots and development from their own standpoint. Yes, IC consequences happen, but those IC consequences are part of the game - let it happen, good or bad, just do what is better for the game and what'll make you have fun.

Bear in mind that I don't think it's ever the intention of staff or WJF players to perm other characters or take away their fun of the game. Just like Slither says - cooperative competition. They have their own ways to provide you new paths to develop your character and have fun, as it is really the job of Staff to improve the user experience, and there is also a reason why WJF is a position that requires a lot of trust.

So, don't let the consequences of the Law deter you from proceeding with a plot or just plotting and being an active player.

Yeah I mean you say that, but we're playing a role playing game here where our characters are presumably at least a little invested in their own wellbeing and survival, and some of these characters are even pretty smart. A lot of time it's hard to justify walking into the incinerator IC.
Oh, no, it wasn't just directed at you. I get what you mean, too, and of course it's sometimes alright to take a step back, consider what you're doing and weigh the pros and cons.
I will gladly walk in to traps OOCly and find an IC way to justify it (even if my character gets upset about it!) just because I -love- seeing things happen.

I'd do a lot more of it and even invest in creating more of these opportunities if I felt like I could ICly sustain it. I just don't want to get my character permed as a result of trying to stimulate RP.