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Disguises and META players
We see you

I've seen enough instances where players try to game or win when it comes to disguises. It's almost always your combat oriented PC's in the heat of the moment trying to game by using flimsy excuses to motivate OOC suspicions.

That's all it is, OOC suspicions. In a city of 75 million people or so there is no way you can tell me your flimsy suspicions are enough to make the call to order someone to take their disguise off. That renders disguises useless. Sure, you could if you had reason, but acting on your OOC knowledge, which this is, in an attempt to game your opponents because you can't beat them the good old fashioned way is poor and you should be ashamed.

I've seen this happen to my own PC and once a little while back again in relation to my PC and joebaka said 'Is it you, X?' when they had NO way of knowing or telling. It ended up with said joebaka dying due to the misunderstanding and for being a gaming douche.

Not enough of those instances happen however where players mistake stronger characters for their enemies and I wish it did. Because players carry on as if there is no ambience and only the player population populating the dome. You offer nothing valuable to the game besides trying to game to win, you act on your OOC knowledge (Don't even try to deny it) and you render a skill that is ALL ABOUT DISGUISING and remaining ANONYMOUS useless when you use flimsy shit as reasoning for your actions.

Thoughts on this? Since an admin told me it's perfectly alright for someone to demand someone to take off their disguise based on suspicions, which makes me question what those are when your disguise hasn't even slipped (refer to META ie. joebaka knows x style of combat, it has to be them, take off your disguise) and I think that is total bullshit in a city of seventy million people.

You can ask someone you're dealing with to take off their disguise, or refuse to deal with them if they're wearing a disguise and you're paranoid, but you can't make any assumptions about a disguised player. As long as their disguise hasn't slipped, you can't know it's them. No excuses. Report anyone who meta ID's someone who's disguised, or tries to pass it off as their character literally being suspicious of every single disguised person in the Mix, whether saying 'hi' to them, or assuming they're someone else, or randomly attacking them. It makes no sense, it's meta and small-world thinking. :)
I should elaborate on the instance, joebaka said to another PC is that you xxx? It ended with joebaka dying after the disguised player refused to take their disguise off. This just goes to show the extent players are willing to go to try and game to kill their enemies.

This has happened at least two times that I know of in regards to my PC, where other combat oriented characters (notice the trend) have mistaken others for my PC due to their flimsy suspicions and bullshittery. Each instance was involving two completely different PC's and today they got lucky after many attempts of trying to game to get me. Frankly, it's poor behaviour and I don't like it. There's no point in having invested in disguise at this point.

Maybe the disguise could also hide if the player is in excellent/spectacular/magnificent condition if it's a shroud? That would definitely lead to more people jumping badasses without knowing it, which I think sounds really fun.

I'm not perfect at this but I have worked up a system for avoiding some bigger blunders.

First of all, don't think "Is this enough to know it was them?" Start with "Is this enough to suspect it was them?" I don't know how often I've skipped that first step, trying to confirm and identify someone I had no business even suspecting.

Before you even suspect someone you need to have some serious evidence. Having the same common clothing, same gear or same build isn't enough. Hell, I'd argue that having all three isn't enough. What might let you suspect? An exposed tattoo. A VERY unique item on display. A recognizable voice combined with other factors. An exposed birthmark. Error on the side of caution. Respect disguises that haven't slipped.

Second, if the code didn't show their name, you did not see enough to ID them later. At all. Just leave it. MAYBE you saw enough to SUSPECT but I really doubt it. In the last two years of playing I can only recall seeing someone in a disguise that hasn't slipped with enough identifiable features to suspect them later 2 or 3 times.

Third, don't ignore ambient crowds. If you're on the streets of Red (and probably also Gold) you probably don't see someone at first. Maybe at all. Same thing for a busy bar. Any place that is full of people. If you're not sure just look into the room in question from a neighboring room or read the rooms description. I have literally stood with someone who was undisguised and who I had IDed when they robbed me (disguise codedly slipped) and did nothing because the street was too busy.

Lastly, when can you ignore a disguise? The only scenario I can think of is when you see someone who is undisguised put their disguise on. Then you know it's them as long as you keep them in sight. But if they leave your sight, then you have probably lost them.

Anyways, just how I approach disguises. It's not perfect but it has helped me be meta a little less often.

^^ Above idea about disguises, especially ponchos, hiding whether your character's in spectacular/magnificent/excellent condition.. We NEED this in our lives. Maybe only have something show if the character's bleeding/all fucked up or something.

Also, you often get people remembering the most minute details about someone, and using those details to ID them later on. Just a reminder to play to your character's stats. If they don't have very good perception, chances are they're not going to notice/remember that one slit in that one guy's poncho that mugged them five days ago.

Oh... One last thing:

Approaching everyone and demanding they take off their disguise on Red just doesn't make any sense. There are thousands of mixers walking around in hoodies and ponchos. And there is no way you could claim to have approached ALL of them and demanded they take off their hoods. It is not even mechanically possible to ask them to do so. So this just ends up allowing you to target players who should really just be blending in with the crowd. Now, if someone approaches you, go right ahead and tell them to dehood or scram. Maybe go for it if someone does something that REALLY grabs your attention (chances are most mundane poses won't do this).

In places like Gold and Green, it makes more sense to be able to single out and accost hooded individuals. Same if you are in an uncrowded area.

Again, just my approach.

I like that. Hiding one's "spectacular/magnificent/excellent." Maybe also hide their attractive/good-looking/gorgeous descriptor if it isn't already done. Though, if you hide the attractive/good-looking/gorgeous, I would also suggest that it impact their ability to sleaze while the disguise is on.
Disguised players already have their status concealed (magnificent, spectacular, etc) with the proper disguises.

Also, while it's true that this has been more or less a problem since I have a memory, also you should understand that there is probably more going on than what you believe or perceive to be meta. Some players aren't as discreet or low-key as they would believe to be. In this case the best thing is to consult with staff to make sure everybody's playing by the rules.

I'd like to add that disguises don't necessarily make you invisible. If you're a big baka causing shit while wearing a poncho, you're still a big baka causing shit. Somebody's probably going to respond to that stimulus. I had to learn this the hard way because I thought since I was going around causing ruckus while wearing a disguise, there wouldn't be any reaction from PCs or NPCs because they wouldn't have a reason to not care about a random chummer out of seventy million instead of their actual enemy. Turned out to not be that way.
If you think someone inappropriately ID'd you, you should definitely xhelp about it. Even though there's 70 million people in Withmore, the pool of players who might be potentially using flimsy logic to kill you is small. Having a GM question them about how they determined your identity might start a conversation that leads to better habits on all sides.

I say this as someone whose character has been killed twice now while disguised, by the way. In each case, there was 'enough' justification for me to not feel cheated, although one of them was a stretch.

I am JoeBaka.

I had a really lengthy conversation with a GM about this and I know they are discussing it behind the scenes. My expectation is they will come to a decision and share it with us all.

Tracking and identifying someone is a challenging and fun. Disguise is not an end all be all anonymizer. Mistakes -should- happen. We talk about the scale of Withmore as something as an inhibitor from "small world RP" but there's also a lack of some "big world RP", for better or for worse. There's still an incredible amount of work that goes into successfully or in some case unsuccessfully tracking someone down. Whether you do it or pay someone else to do it...or better yet just buy some bad information on the street - someone generally put in the time or convinced you they did.

I've been on both sides of the fence. If you think something is sketchy xhelp but I put a lot of faith in the GM's and the players.

I think some parameters should be clearly defined as a big *suggestion* to if you should pursue what could result in meta behavior.

1. Do you know the character more than an Average character would? By that I mean do you interact with this person a shit ton?

2. Have you seen this person remove and apply the same disguise over and over and over in the same area doing the same thing?

I'm sure it can be added to but that's what I can think of off of the top of my head. I don't think it is much of a stretch to suspect someone if you know their quirks, voice, build, where they work and hang out at and have seen them apply and remove the same bullet ridden and colored shroud or hoodie over and over doing the same things you've seen them do without a disguise. I -try- to avoid pursuing it just because I don't want to deal with someone who feels otherwise.

If you don't know a chummer like that, then yeah, you're being meta.

I've also been in a situation where someone just gave me bad information on someone to go harass. Many characters do not go by their coded name. For example, if your coded name is Herpes but you call yourself Aids. It's smart. It helps divert people from Meta'ing who you are. No problem with that at all. My point though, if you don't OOCly as well as ICly know who that person is, and you've been told where they might hang out and rough but incorrect description of them, is it your fault for confronting them (even it doesn't result in any losses)? Should you instantly assume ((META))? I don't think a coded disguise should be the end all say of you're not allowed to figure out who someone may be, I think there should be exceptions (like noted above that are super obvious) because honestly we are all not as slick as we percieve ourselves to be.

Not sure if this question fits the parameters of this discussion wholly, but it seems it might in a way. If a person is hidden and whispers to another PC/NPC and stays hidden, it's correct to assume that another PC in the room doesn't hear or 'notice' the whisper? I ask because I've had this happen (being the other PC in the room) and I chose to not react to it - so I'm just making sure that's the proper way to RP that.
Ya'll acting crazy when I leave town.

Disguises ALREADY and have been for over a month at least disguise your spectacular, etc condition...

It also hides your minor wounds as long as it doesn't lower your condition below excellent.

Also, as stated before in the town hall. If you're disguised, you're disguised, no if ands or buts about it.

Anyone 'guessing' conveniently on disguised people is dead wrong and should be reported on xhelp for metagaming.

I know I spoke to two different staff members on this and got mixed answers, one was prompted the first time and the second staffer inquired to clarify for me the next day. The original staffer said it was IC and reasonable and the second staffer who inquired said that the situation and two others pertaining to my character in the past month were iffy and the players were in the wrong all three times, including the situation that made me write this post.

I'm confused because I had been disguised at the time and guesses were made as to who my player was. I don't know the reasons or their motivations GIVEN to the staff but the fact that the second staffer said it was flimsy leaves me dubious. I've received mixed answers from three staffers now and haven't had the situation elaborated to me nor do I understand what justifies someone demand a PC remove their disguise.

Some clarification on what reasons justify another PC order someone to remove their disguise would be nice for future reference.

Mano,

If people are hanging out in the express tubes with disguises on. If you don't think that's suspicious, there is nothing else I can do to help you understand.

it's all circumstantial common sense.

Good luck.

Look, disguise isn't just about talking the walk, but doing the walk. It's not a magical wand that removes your coded name and replaces it with "A shrouded midget" and that's it. You still have to actively do things that your character WOULDN'T do. Example: If your character is a known hothead who announces on SIC that they will kill Joebaka at X location, then a disguised figure goes to X location to kill Joebaka...draw your own conclusions. This also includes how well you are able to change your @lp, your @voice, your mannerisms, the way your character speaks, are all abilities inherent in the disguise skill. Players, for the most part anyway try to policy themselves with this sort of things. Context is everything as Cerberus said.
Sooo....Thought I'd just post here instead of making a whole new thread. Main question/point I'd like to bring up is: How much should ambience be considered when disguises are involved?

Grey0 touched on this briefly in his post above and also mentioned:

"The only scenario I can think of is when you see someone who is undisguised put their disguise on. Then you know it's them as long as you keep them in sight. But if they leave your sight, then you have probably lost them."

So here are a few pretty common scenarios, I think. I've seen different players RP differently when encountering each scenario (or something similar to it).

Scenario One: You're in a bar and Bob says, "Let's go have fun in a different bar." So you "follow Bob", who puts on his disguise (and becomes a shrouded boy) then starts walking down the street. You're a little slow and you lose sight of a shrouded boy in one room, but you quickly catch up to him in the next room(which you know is Bob OOCly). However, he is still disguised, so should you "follow shrouded boy" and assume he is Bob or have you lost sight of him for good?

Because there should also be ambient boys with disguises in each room.

This brings me to the second scenario: If you see a shrouded boy in one room, but then they disappear for awhile and you see another shrouded boy in another room near the first room some time later, should you assume they are the same shrouded figure? Because, I know again, ambience should be factored in.

Scenario Three: SIC yells "Hooded tall boy just killed someone on Bob Street." And you walk over to a Bob street, where you see a hooded tall boy. However, ambience-wise, there should be more than one hooded tall boy in the room. Should you assume that hooded tall boy is the one referred to on SIC or not?

Scenario Four: You want to kill Bob, an average man. You walk into a bar where you see Bob undisguised, then walk back out and wait outside for him. Soon, a shrouded average man walks out the bar. When ambience is factored in, you've probably seen a few average men in disguises walk out, so should you identify this shrouded average man as Bob or not?

And that's all for my questions on ambience and disguises.

On a less related note to ambience, but still on META and disguises: If a character has a tailored pair of sneakers with a sizable @worn paragraph that describes a normal-looking pair of sneakers that can be found commonly, should they or should they not be identified by that pair of sneakers while disguised with a hoodie? I've always assumed not, but have experienced differently.

Thanks for reading!

My opinions, mostly in italic:

Scenario One: You're in a bar and Bob says, "Let's go have fun in a different bar." So you "follow Bob", who puts on his disguise (and becomes a shrouded boy) then starts walking down the street. You're a little slow and you lose sight of a shrouded boy in one room, but you quickly catch up to him in the next room(which you know is Bob OOCly). However, he is still disguised, so should you "follow shrouded boy" and assume he is Bob or have you lost sight of him for good?

Because there should also be ambient boys with disguises in each room.

It would depend on the scenario I think. Does the person WANT me to be following them and does my character know that? If so, then I'd probably just continue following them. Otherwise it would probably be safer to just lose them in the crowd.[\i]

This brings me to the second scenario: If you see a shrouded boy in one room, but then they disappear for awhile and you see another shrouded boy in another room near the first room some time later, should you assume they are the same shrouded figure? Because, I know again, ambience should be factored in.

I'm going to replace 'shrouded; with 'disguised' here. And I would say no, not unless they are rocking some very identifiable features like scars or birthmarks or something that your character ca see.[\i]

But it also depends on location. On the streets of the mix, you have a ton of people. On the rooftops, not so much. So if you see the disguised boy on one rooftop then a short while later you see them on another rooftop that can be accessed by the last, then it is probably okay to -suspect- they might be the same boy.[\i]

And how long comes into play. Has it been minutes? Hours? Seconds? t matters![\i]

Scenario Three: SIC yells "Hooded tall boy just killed someone on Bob Street." And you walk over to a Bob street, where you see a hooded tall boy. However, ambience-wise, there should be more than one hooded tall boy in the room. Should you assume that hooded tall boy is the one referred to on SIC or not?

I would say no. I mean, a street is a big thing, event he small ones. And there are corpse in the gutters on most if you read the ambient descriptions that pop up. If it is a small street and the body is fresh and the hooded tall boy is tripping the corpse of gear, then you are probably good. But otherwise, you probably don't know. You really have to consider the situation.[\i]

Scenario Four: You want to kill Bob, an average man. You walk into a bar where you see Bob undisguised, then walk back out and wait outside for him. Soon, a shrouded average man walks out the bar. When ambience is factored in, you've probably seen a few average men in disguises walk out, so should you identify this shrouded average man as Bob or not?

Again, unless Bob is sporting some visible identifying feature that you character knows about and can see, probably not. Could be anyone. But this could go from a probably not to a probably with some help and coordination. Did your chum inside the bar send you a private SIC just as they were leaving and mention the color of the disguise they saw him put on? Then you had a strong reason to suspect the dude.[\i]

As you can see from my responses, I am firmly on the side of applying common sense to the circumstances and erroring on the side of "I Don't know." Every time this has come up with me the GMs are interested in details. Locations, timetables, exactly what was worn, what tools/friends you had to aid you and more. And I can honestly say that I have screwed this up before despite my best efforts.

In the end it comes down to, "Can you make logical argument, from an IC perspective and taking into account ambient population at the location(s) in question, for having IDed that dude?"

1) Staff straight up told me in this exact scenario that if a friendly breaks line of sight for even a minute or two in an ambiently busy area, you do not recognize them unless you have other evidence (IE they just SICed you that they were going to be wherever you found them the second time)

2) No, unless you have other evidence.

3) On the street? Probably not unless you got a poncho color or the person is covered in blood or holding a murder weapon or something. Remember that Withmore is more crowded than Tokyo. It's more crowded than Mumbai. Especially in Red the rooms are potentially huge and there are people -everywhere-.

You can get evidence about ambpop by looking into a room (provided it is free of NPCs and players) to see whether you see a steady flow of people or a heaving throng or whatever. Note also that if it's foggy or night time or pouring rain you may have a harder time picking people out of a crowd, especially if your perception stat is not very high or you don't have cyberware to help with picking up details.

Sorry for double posting, but I should also mention that there's a lot of gameplay skill to learn in picking out disguises, tracking people, or staying disguised that is more of a player knowledge thing than pure stats. Don't be afraid to ask serious operators to train your character how to do this kind of thing if you want to get better at it.
If a very bored person wants to rob someone, can they attack a random fully-shrouded person? Or perhaps just the next shrouded person who walks by?
Sure. Being in a shroud protects you from being IDed. It does not at all protect you from anything else.
If a shrouded person steals something from you and then runs off to hide, could you say that you're going to kill every shrouded person of that particular height until you get your stuff back? And oocly, it just so happens that the only shrouded people nearby you is one who stole from you.
Regarding your question FairyBlue, some questions I think you should ask yourself come to mind.

Consider the ambient crowd of 75 million and try some of these questions out.

A. Does your character actually know they were just robbed? Are you assuming the nearby disguised player stole something because you're suddenly missing something you didn't see stolen, and that player happens to be there (Among a crapload of other shrouded figures)?

B. Does your character think him/herself realistically able to commit mass murder on dozens of disguised people without dying first, just to find the right one? (This is your character's IC sense of self preservation/common sense about their ability to fight coming in to play)

C. Do it quickly enough that you actually think the thief would still be nearby IF you think yourself that badass. (A combination of A and your character's IC ability to understand generally, that most people who just commited theft are going to TRY to get lost in the crowd or leave the scene after.)

The point is this: Even if you realize you've just been robbed, and then somehow think your character is actually physically capable of doing what you're suggesting, the chances of finding the right disguised character are slim to none in the amount of time it'd take you to do it. Seeing a single disguised player, claiming to kill every shrouded figure on the street, and then going straight for him/her seems like blatant disregard for the ambient population, and exploitation of OOC knowledge to me.

Actually, I meant the thief performing a "wrest", so the stealing is visible to the victim.

I just recall others performing such moments of mass murder in the past, and have always wondered what made it legal.

Real life anecdote about being pick pocketed. My wife, myself and my parents were leaving an NBA game in downtown Los Angeles along with everyone else. This guy next to us was being really chatty and we were talking to him. After about 30-45 seconds of conversation, another guy kind of bumps into us. My wife immediately checks her purse and notices her wallet is missing.

I looked right at the guy who was distracting us, and I KNEW he was the distraction while his buddy took the wallet. But I couldn't for the life of me figure out who the actual thief was. My inclination was to grab the guy who had been distracting us and start beating the shit out of him until the police noticed and came over to pull us apart. Even though every ounce of my being was telling me that he was in on it, I also knew that he did not have the wallet.

The thing about pick pockets and crowds is that one, your body gets kind of desensitized to having people in your personal space. So even if you are trying to be alert, it's more difficult to notice. Pick pockets almost always work as a team, and I should have known better.

My only gripe with how pick pocketing works in this game is that there is not any option to 'stash' your chyens or other small items. IRL, when you go into high crime areas where you expect that kind of petty theft, people put their cash and other valuables in hard to get to places; eg sock, shoe, crotch, etc. Apparently characters in Sindome are too stupid to do something like that, despite the prevalence of thieves.

Try to rob a high UE character kit out for combat and they tend to have all the appropriate utility to see you, catch you, cut your hands off. Theft isn't meant to be something you can always or should always do, it's meant to be a utility skill for certain circumstances that can be used to gain the upper hand pre-combat, or grabbing some flash loot off of someone who isn't prepared to protect it.

Pocket change, wallets, all that stuff that people seem convinced they constantly have to go after just ups the statistical probability that your ass is gonna get caught. A dedicated thief isn't going to throw their clone away for a wallet with maybe 2000 chyen in it unless they're ready to fight the mark they're robbing.

Only desperate street urchins should be showing no discretion when trying to make ends meet with thievery in my opinion.

You can ask someone you're dealing with to take off their disguise, or refuse to deal with them if they're wearing a disguise and you're paranoid, but you can't make any assumptions about a disguised player.

What you should not do is point a gun at someone out in public, demand that they remove their shroud, and kill them if they don't when there are thousands of other people wearing shrouds and this is exactly why we have code to populate random shrouded people.

Completely unacceptable. You're 'lucky guess' about who someone is meta as fuck and if you do this you're meta as fuck.

Sounds like you're right Crooknose, xhelp if you haven't.
In situations like were mentioned above it would be best to xhelp as villa said. There could be other stuff going on that your character is not aware of-- maybe someone planted a tracker on you, or someone ratted you out, or someone has a camera network you aren't aware of and has been tracking you. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that someone has used non-meta info-- but you aren't going to be aware of it.

That's where the GMs can help. We might not tell you WHAT happened but we can at least check if something was above board and address the issue with the other player(s) if it was not. It might not change the fact that you died, but it should help correct the behavior for the future. OR the GM may say: Checked into it, can't say how or why, but it was legit.

What I run into a ton is people assuming I’m the only person with that color disguise, that build, etc. I’m the only person with that weapon, or with that car they don’t even know the color or license plate to. I just try to assume that maybe, just maybe, they had done a bunch of intel gathering and homework before I get upset about it. If I’m doubt xhelp it out right? 😊