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Gang Discussion

This seems to be a hot topic in the town hall thread. Post all your thoughts/concerns here and discuss.
Gangs to me seem to be less active than they were.

Some of this is just a thing about cycles -- when they are active, people want to play in them, and when they aren't it's very hard to be the 'colonizer' who is a lone pledge in an empty world.

I do, however, see several specific changes that I wonder about the impacts of.

1. Faster gang promotions.

It used to take months as a pledge and months as a blood to become a walker, and now it's become considerably faster. I have no idea what this means. It seems like it might make the gangs more attractive, but possibly it makes them less so? If the top gang PCs don't seem like badasses you want to emulate, maybe it makes it less attractive to join a gang. I'm not sure.

2. Increased medical and other costs for gangers

Maybe six months ago there was a change requiring gang PCs to pay for the rezzes of their gang members, and also a general increase in pay for medical bills of gang members. This had the effect of making weekly medical bills for gang members skyrocket from maybe 4 or 5 kay to 10+ kay. Is this a determining factor? I don't know. In general, though, it seems like gangers make a lot less flash than they used to.

3. Gang Puppet Changes

I've perceived a strong push from gang puppets to have gang PCs conform to a very narrow band of behavior, and to come down hard on ganger PCs who step outside those lines. Additionally, more people have been brought into the code -- like pledges -- and also there's been a greater push for gang puppets to push gang PCs into topside conflict. At one time, gang puppets were telling gang PCs not to aggravate the judges because it would get everyone fined and killed, and now they are regularly leading raids on the Hall. 2-3 month old characters attacking the Hall are just going to get vatted -- the puppet-driven gang raids are very performative -- and I wonder if that serves to push people away.

Are any of these things the answer? Do they have any effect at all? I have no idea, but it's food for thought.

Just going to bump this, as I was thinking about it recently.

Faster Gang Promotions

I wouldn't consider this a standard. More of a necessary consequence of the environment a year ago. I don't think it applies now.

Increased Medical Costs

There is nothing new about this. Don't really want to go into details. Ultimately, RP around this as you see fit.

Gang Puppet Changes

There was a recently heavy lean toward comic relief behavior that the GMs likely (rightfully) perceived as unthemely. Gangers are not your friends. They are the knife at your throat in the Mix; there to protect you only when it serves their own interests. While the occasional laugh might have been fine... a constant stream of it ultimately affecting the image of the gang, or gangs as a whole affects the game negatively.

Now.... what I wanted to bring up.

It seems like there's a trend of players dipping their toes into ganging and pulling out prematurely, for whatever reason.

I want to just reassure you guys that ganging, in its current form, is one of the safest forms of combat centric conflict you're going to find. Are you going to earn wads of flash while you do it? Maybe. That's completely up to you. You could either end up rich, or barely skating by while you pay for your chums' medical fees. Don't base your expectations of what you should have on what other players have or have not achieved with their characters. Make your own way.

The GMs have made a solid effort to make gangs an "entry level" field for combat centric conflict. Please don't ignore that and think that it's just a nuisance and "laying low" is the preferred alternative. If you find gang RP, or the associated hardships intimidating... you are not ready for what comes next.

Try ganging. Eat some shit. Fuck up a lot. Pick fights. It's fun, and you'll miss it when it comes to an end. You'll also be better off for the experience if you're relatively fresh.

Ganging is really good, especially for new players. However, one thing that I can say is that ganging is singularly stressful and was a huge source of bleed for me when my character was a ganger. Your Sindome May Vary, but for me, I felt completely out of control of the situations I was put in and incapable of improving things for my faction. The constant barrage of shit talk IC from both players and NPCs, maybe moreso from NPCs, caused a lot of bleed for me, and I eventually had to take a lengthy break from the game.

Ganging is currently THE combat proving grounds for new players and characters, and it's the safest environment to test things out and get your feet wet while also having some great character development. But if you're prone to bleed like I am, and I'd dare say, most people are, you're probably going to be left feeling really strange about the whole thing. Be warned, not for the faint of heart. Also a major time investment.

I think the reason why players are not going towards ganging so much nowadays is the lack of current gang characters. It's easier to get into a gang that is populated by at least one player since they are easier to approach than puppets. Being a lonely pledge is very difficult. This could be improved by having certain NPCs say they're looking for pledges, reminding new characters that it's an option, and maybe letting new players know the option, who may not otherwise think it's an option.

And at least in my case-- and maybe this has changed since the Town Hall agreement that NPCs were often too harsh-- ambient SIC bullies who like to constantly put gangers down, sometimes at least percievedly lopsided or one-sided in their judgement, were extremely stressful to deal with, and are a reason why I am REALLY glad that there are now reminders about how NPCs are fallible and are not the opinion of staff.

It felt like certain factions had certain reputations that are not malleable or changeable, and that any victories or successes made by your faction or character as an individual are largely ignored. This is themely, to an extent; bitter assholes are going to be bitter assholes, magnify your faults while ignoring your virtues. However, when there is seemingly little recognition afforded for success, it becomes stressful quickly, as you do not feel like your efforts are actually going anywhere, ICly or OOCly.

Some thoughts I've managed to collect after all this time. I love gangs since it's a super themely outlet for newer combat characters to beat the hell out of eachother and create roleplay. But as good as it is, I (obviously) think there's some issues that may be warding players away from trying it all out, or possibly just making players drop out after getting a taste of what they're in for, which I have seen quite a lot of.

I'm going to have to hard disagree with a lot of the sentiment here.

Ganging is easy and the fastest, most profitable avenue of success in Sindome at this moment. Most gangers who actually succeed at navigating from Pledge to LT will get out of the gang with close to a million chyen in my experience.

Compared to Incorporated Citizens and pretty much every other faction in-game - that is a significant delta in max income.

If it seems difficult, stressful, or time-consuming it's because it is lucrative. That said, the playbook of how to be a ganger is so established that all you have to is buckle under leadership constantly and it's basically guaranteed.

I think this as usual has to do with expectations, players expectations that aren't met, NPCs expectations that aren't properly communicated or at all due to lack of staff time (because faction characters are more demanding) and we end up only receiving the fallout consequences of our actions after the fact most of the time.

Some gangs are in huge disadvantage to others, from people not respecting the code and having no consequences from breaking it, to the NPCs being weaker than their rivals per default, to boss gangers not socializing much with their subordinate members and having a low tolerance for fucking up, leading pretty much to everyone in the last year to quit or get kicked out sooner rather than later.

I've had both good and bad experiences since the code was implemented, at the end of the day the faction ends up being what you make of it for the most part.

If you are a lone ganger, try to lure new players into your faction because playing alone or with little NPCs support is not a lot of fun. Have low expectations but also big dreams and in time you might get somewhere satisfactory or decide its just time to move on.

My suggestion would be for gang NPCs to try to be more active and present and for pledges to be sought out and recruited in small groups of 2 or 3. And trying to maintain a meta balance of the gangs so you don't have one gang with 10 members and another one with just 1, because that is bad balance and will drive rivals to quit.

i think the reasons why i felt ganging was stressful and causing bleed for me was either not communicated properly or just too vague to give ReeferMadness a good idea of why it was

i agree that ganging is 'safe' and easy from a basic standpoint of just making money and vibing until you graduate out of the gangs, i agree that it's probably the easiest money you're going to make as a new combat character, or ever, but money, combat, conflict with other players or gangs, is the least stressful part of ganging.

the stressful part of ganging is your character constantly (or seemingly constantly) being put on blast, essentially every day, not just from players, who you can reasonably respond to, but from ambient SIC and other puppeted NPCs. for some people, like me, this is especially stressful, especially when it seems very one-sided and that, again, there is no clear path to improve this or turn the tables.

if you are going to play a gang character, be ready for a constant stream of verbal abuse. if you can handle that, great, but after six to eight months of it, i think you're essentially guaranteed to have some bleed from it after a while.

Ganging requires too much initial time investment to get into one of the sets.

In my opinion it should be easier for new players to pledge up.

I agree with Villa. It should be easy to pledge. It's the start of the journey. Getting to blood should be a long and arduous journey, it's a lot of fun, and it starts when you pledge, not when you're a pre-pledge or 'prospect'. Lowering the bar to get into the pledge phase will bring more pledges into the gang scene.
Is it not that easy to pledge? Seems fairly simple to me. What's so hard about it?
Ganging is entirely way too easy, and way too safe. Unless you're pretty much mass-dumping chyen into plots, it's a simple matter to gang for x number of months and get pretty insanely filthy mix rich. The ability to hire out strongarm help with this strong cashflow, plus the overall safety of the job/career makes it so gangers are essentially the kings of the mix if they play intelligently behind the keyboard.

It's a simple matter to stack a single gang with bodies and unless people want to sign up to 'lose' for a bit in other gangs, that one gang gets pretty much free reign to farm UE and Chyen until actual competition comes along. NPC gangers act as a force multiplier in this regard. I think there was a policy at one time that you can only roll X number of bodies deep PC or NPC, but not sure if that's still the case, as I haven't been in the ganging scene as a PC in a good while now.

Once jumped into a gang, you get access to NPC's that can handle the vast bulk of most mixer on mixer encounters for you, giving you six months to a year's worth of UE to 'punch up.' There's supposed to be rules and guidelines as to not abusing this, but it seems to vary a lot between gangs and be inconsistent in enforcement. You also get access to NPC intel on who or what killed you if you do manage to really piss off other players, which can lead you to finding out who or how you were aced, which, again, allows you to punch up much more effectively than might be initially imagined.

Proposed solutions: (Please note, these are a handful of suggestions, and I don't intend for the suggestions to be used all in conjunction with one another!)

1) Give NPC gangers randomly assigned aggro tables so that there's always a solid chance of getting your butt kicked in a fight as a pledge or young blood.

2) Make gangers more reactive to turtling. There's this tried, true, and frankly, tired solution of beating AI that falls flat on it's face as soon as a puppet happens during a gang fight and causes stance changes on the NPC's. Make this automated so that gangers will change stances randomly/or on a limited logic tree.

3) Make sure players aren't stacking gangs. I.E. spread pledges so that if one gang has say, 2x the players than another gang does, the gang leadership just vetos taking on new pledges. One goes to gang X, then only gang Y or gang Z is actively recruiting until that situation changes and the numbers are closer to 1:1. Ideally, gangers should be in each other's faces as much, if not more than non-gangers.

4) Make it significantly easier to get removed from gangs for code violations and/or not playing to that gang's theme/ganging theme overall. In previous times the burden of evidence needed to get a blooded ganger kicked from a gang basically boiled down to 'they have to just admit to it themselves.' or required overwhelming evidence. This seems to have changed in recent memory, but that could also simply be isolated incidents. This pairs well with Villa's suggestion that getting into gangs be made easier as well. Easier in, easier out.

5) Do away with the rentseeking culture of street gangs. They get insane amounts of money off automated systems as it is. Having tolling and taxing supplement this puts the monthly income into very high numbers, without a real significant amount of RP generated off the additional player income. I'd argue that laundering weapons and other gear provides a better new player experience and more RP for new characters than bashing them with tolls and taxes right away, IMHO. (Yes, I am taking into account the 'grace period' most gangs have when saying this.)

I'd hope that whatever changes are made (if any) don't discourage people from joining gangs. They allow newer PC's to get their feet wet in combat with some padding. This padding often gets them in over their heads and they see how they stack up when they really step in it later. A common complaint I see among newer players is that they feel like "they can't do anything" especially in the combat department. Gangs solve that and get them kneck deep in theme with other newbies.

Talon's suggestions about random attack patterns from ganger NPCs is cool though. It would mix things up. As far as I know PCs shouldn't (by rule) roll with over a set max of NPCs. Other PCs will let them know on local ooc if they're breaking that rule. These are hot contests and that kind of edge wouldn't go unnoticed.

Gang engagement seems lower now than I've seen it previously. I'm not sure why. It's really up to an enterprising and persistent PC to build a reputation and crew, which I think is really cool. They generate a shitload of RP with tolling. People hate it and it drives a ton of conflict. If anything it should be easier to get into them and engage, since there isn't representation across the mix.

I feel like if you're running shit in a gang you should be making bank though. Tolling people can get you creased. Moving gear can get you creased. You're constantly exposed to beat-downs or deaths. Other gangs are putting hits on you. The people who you're tolling hate your guts. You also have to do a ton of work managing newer players with this gear. If you can manage to RP well enough to attract other PC's to your gang and you stick around, you should get rewarded for it. It's surprisingly difficult to recruit newer players into long term commitments, even if they're pretty mellow. With OOC scheduling issues, and everything else, getting them to volunteer to get their head caved in repeatedly is a fucking miracle.

A good ganger PC is worth their weight in gold for the game in terms of driving conflict and RP. The mix should be rough, and as a newer player nothing gets that theme more engrained in your dome than someone and three buddies "asking nicely" for money you know they can take if they want.

The automated systems are a hell of an incentive for people to engage with them. It gives them the chy to make plots, and gives people a reason to come to them.

A lot of Talon's points about things being "easy" or "lucrative" are the kinds of things that newer players need to stay engaged, especially with combat. Newer players don't have a lot of weight to swing around when they come in the dome. And they need to earn the ability for NPCs to follow them. In my experience most players get the boot from gangs once they get too big for their britches to make room for newer players. Gangs drive most of the conflict in the mix, which is saying something.

One of the things that never really made sense to me though is how gangs mostly buy their own weapons. The end result is people buying or stealing their shit and selling it back to them, which is a bit weird. They'd lose a bit of their flavor if they mixed things up, but it would make more sense.

Also, I know people think they make too much money but I've noticed a decrease in gang population since the somewhat recent payout nerf on weapons. For better or worse, people like IC money. It had ripples way down the chain, including making the job less attractive.

Ganging definitely used to be much more popular. A year or so ago, all the three 'big' gangs had active players, and even the 'side' gangs had pop. I'm not really sure what changed to make them less popular, I'd imagine partially due to the semi-random ebb and flow of players coming and going, but it would be good to hear from people who stopped playing gangs semi-recently.

I can tell you that being in a 'weak' gang can suck, and there's definitely a tendency for players to stack on a gang that's more populated, because doing otherwise (unless you're strong enough to make up the difference, which is unlikely if you're ganging anyway) means you're setting yourself up to lose, and as much as Sindome is about losing, nobody likes to intentionally lose.

One thing I would like to mention is the perceived notion that gangers are often in danger/conflict from sources outside of rival gangs. Your mileage may vary, but I've never really seen this. In fact, I've rarely seen any sort of hostility from non-gangers to gangers from anyone other than big shots who are way out of the league of the average ganger (aside from personal feuds). That always seemed really off-theme. I found that a lot of players are more than fine with getting tolled and having to pay to do stuff in turf, etc and gangers are generally treated very well by the general populace. It's just easier and people would rather skip the conflict than potentially having a gang on your back.

As a final note, I really do not like the idea of gangers being 'mix-rich'. A walker or LT? Sure. But pledges and bloods can make extreme amounts of money, especially if they have no competition and even with competition, they're arguably at much less risk than your average mixer, thanks to the code. Ganging already gives you some security, power, and RP, and you're naturally going to make money from combat. The fact that they have multiple other sources of income on top of that ON TOP of having the same hustle opportunities as everyone else does is pretty overboard.

"The automated systems are a hell of an incentive for people to engage with them. It gives them the chy to make plots, and gives people a reason to come to them."

I wanted to highlight this quote because it applies to nearly everyone in every phase of the game. I argue the same for Corps. Money makes things happen. Money is what you need to recover when you lose.

I really think most jobs should have a little more salary so it doesn't take months to do things. The other thing is that there should be serious consideration to plot money for most jobs. Sure... Massive salary bumps would be destabilizing, but giving players access to plot money to be used on others/schemes should be a lot more readily available. If people want to drive plot, they should be able too and it shouldn't always come out of their limited discretionary funds.

"Tolling people can get you creased. Moving gear can get you creased. You're constantly exposed to beat-downs or deaths. Other gangs are putting hits on you. The people who you're tolling hate your guts."

This seems like it's common in practice, but honestly is extremely rare or the exception to the rule unless the ganger is deliberately playing to lose (which most people, naturally, don't do.)

In a year or so of ganging, I think I was killed maybe a handful of times due to gang-related biz, including tolling people, being a shit, beating up randoms, robberies, etc.

People fear gangs because they're ICLY powerful and staff has, in the past, come down super hard and busted nuts on players fucking with gangs to promote theme. It honestly doesn't nearly as much as it should.

Now, I want to say that ganging is an EXCELLENT game system, and very well supported and coded. But it's not in line with the rest of the mixer experience, at all. Gangs print cash with a very, very low UE investment, and are, quite literally, probably one of the safest jobs you can have in the mix. Yes, you're generating conflict and RP comes out of it, but it's all in how you, the player ganger decide to push things. Most gangers don't go in for vats, which I think is a good policy overall, and in return, tend not to get vatted.

YMMV depending entirely on how YOU, the ganger decide how to play your cards.

I can only speak from the outside looking in, but my experience is that it provides a little too much safety to people who are familiar with the game. It essentially makes them bullet proof to most other players. They decide to make enemies and pick fights? Only a few PCs in the game can take them and the gang repercussions on and not get ganked into oblivion, and even then I'm sure it would be discouraged OOCly for one player to slaughter an entire gang. I get that the point of a gang is to... well, have a gang, but from a player perspective, it is hugely powerful.

If there were more leeway for bad decisions a ganger makes catching up to them, then it would be fairer. Not new player/mechanics mistakes, but actively going out of their way to make enemies should have consequences. Right now, it feels like they can do anything and some individuals know it.

Just my two cents.

At this point I'm from the outside looking in, but I think one thing that's been bugging me about gangs is how the overwhelming force they apply to anyone attacking them actually encourages a more furtive, less roleplay-oriented method of attacking them. It doesn't dissuade it, not entirely.

To extrapolate, someone pissed off at a ganger may beat the shit out of that ganger, and get a massive bounty placed on them by the gang. People have observed this happening many, many times. But all this has done is made people less likely to engage in roleplay around the conflict. Instead of teaching this punk ganger a lesson, we're gonna just vat them, silently, with no explanation. This is the logical end-point to dealing with one person in a large organization that may stomp you if you're caught fighting them.

Is it themely for one gang to bring it's full weight down on any unaffiliated person who dares touch one of their members? Depends on what rank that ganger is, and how valuable they are to the gang. Your average blood getting whacked isn't, or shouldn't be, worth tens of thousands of chyen to the top brass of their gang. However, if it becomes an issue, for example it keeps happening and maybe other bloods are getting hit too, then maybe it starts to make the gang look weak. Then they have to put an end to it.

I feel like low ranking members such as bloods should not be so readily protected by their gang-- after all, there's tens of thousands of bloods in each gang. I feel like pledges should not be protected by top brass -at all- unless blooded members get caught in the crossfire. The occasional blood or mix walker sticking their neck out for the underdog, sure. At least from my perception, this is how things used to be when I first played a ganger. Now, it seems that there's this feeling across the mix that pledges are part of the gang they're pledging to, and attacking them is just as dangerous as attacking a blood. Pledges seem to think they have protection from their gang, and act as if they do-- maybe they're not wrong, I have seen a few instances where they have been protected by their gang.

This may seem contradictory to what I just said about people bullying pledges or low-tier gangers, but in reality, if you want people to engage in lower-intensity conflict, you need to reduce the risk of engaging in conflict with them in the first place. If you make it a one way trip to the vats to fight any ganger ever, you invite people to turn up the heat and instead silently grind the gangers they don't like to dust. Encourage lower intensity conflict, encourage beat-downs as lessons rather than inexplicable trips to the vat.

+1 To Batko's post. I fully agree.

I noticed that shift as well, regarding pledges being protected from their gang.

A lot of people join gangs for protection. And that makes sense. From a gameplay view though, I joined a gang because it was a direct avenue to conflict based roleplay. My character may be doing it for their own protection, but in the end I'm hoping people fuck with them.

I noticed a huge difference in the way gang rp is now handled ever since my character got blooded. When they were a pledge, it was said countless times to my character that they're not actually in the gang. No one cares if they were to die. And no one is getting them any help. Does this mean my character was helpless? No. They made proper connections and friendships so people cared about them for who they were. Not because they were a pledge.

After the character went through the blood process, I seemed to noticed a big change. The only people willing to conflict with my character are either other gangs, or people who are absolutely certain they can win any scenario involving us. Unless my character starts the conflict first.

My character was also pledged for a really long time compared to characters who came after him. Part of that is my fault as a player. I had a couple of different moments where I had to step away from the game. But it seems like people can get blooded way too easily, and it hurts even worse when the new blood quits because the stakes got elevated and they weren't ready for it. All that hard work on both the staff and player kinda gets thrown away.

Playing a pledge in Sindome is not easy. People will constantly fuck with you and you'll probably die a lot. Even with the code in effect. But if we make it too easy, were lying to both the player what gang rp is really like. And were not playing on theme. Being in a gang should be a rough way to live.

Now it really seems like pledges all act like members of the gang. And it seems that everyone around them reacts that way too. So I can't blame them. And usually pledges tend to be new players of the game. I usually agree with the idea that vatting characters (if that's all you do to resolve conflict) can be one of the more boring ways to handle a situation. Especially when the rp stops after a vat nap. And if your a new player, vatting a character that you feel like you've done a lot of work on, can be really discouraging. Pledging can be a lot of work for someone who just started out.

I don't think pledges should have it easy. It wouldn't be in theme. But maybe we should all look at the reasons why the code was implemented in the first place. Losing and dying can be fun. But if someone just vats you and the plot drops after, it's discouraging. And who really wins? Peace time isn't fun for me at least.

Have you character jump them with some friends. Or steal their input. Kidnap them and hold them ransom. Something that actually creates a plot. These little moments can be enough for people to get hooked with the game.

I was pointed to this topic from "mix is weak one", didn't realize there was this discussion.

Anyway I was playing a pledge, my second attempt at one recently (big surprise which one given that there are only two, and only one disappeared) and each time what drove me away from the game was not the vats, not the being-along and having to forge your own solutions and connections, etc or even very high level characters getting directly involved into very minute conflicts for very petty reasons. What pushed me out both times was just the absolute pointless !rp vats.

Here staff will tell me how "oh but there are notes stating that you must solve it icly", except that from the perspective of my PC (especially if you actually RP your stats - which for a pledge is going to be tanked int and charisma for first few months, just to not be completely shit at combat) they cannot possibly even pretend to know how to solve those problems, or who to ask, or afford to ask really. And as the perps of those situation do not care to make it more interesting, it just gets to ridiculous cartwheel of vats. Literally my first attempt at ganging at some point was updating twice a day, and that wasn't enough to keep up with vats, it was to the point that, when asked, I was told that this PC doesn't really have to RP death-fear anymore given that he comes out of genetek pretty much every day (sometimes twice). And how much RP did any of those drive? None, not once did the person killing him approach him, set some terms, try to work things out, make some insane demands, there was literally nothing coming out from the other side.

And that situation repeated itself now, and with experience of how it goes (and it's a common complaint you can see in Reddit about Sindome) I just cut my losses and moved on. Wasn't even going to post this reply but someone OOCly pinged me to this topic.

What really irked me about it as with this character he was so easy to manipulate and control, if someone put effort into creating a story. He had few things that could be exploited (very easily and obviously, as he was open about them) to make him do literally anything, and instead it just turned into no-talking vats. Boring and unfun. I don't know if this is true for non-gangers, but each time when I play one, this was the result. Given how there is very few ganger players around, and how few stick around (plus what you can read on Reddit), I'll take a guess that I am not alone in that.

Conflict is great, I tried to drive it anywhere I could, but if it then ends in a vats... That's just not fun. And it seems that those actions mostly come (directly or via hires) from old players each time, young ones seem more happy towards the lessons/beatings/more creative plots, which is a shame.

On the whole pledges acting as members of gangs... I made him act like that icly, for sure ("Oh you don't respect gang X? A shame!" whenever someone refused to pay tolls etc) but then anyone who actually spoke with him knew that he asked none of the bloods for help with anything, citing that "if I brought this to Blood-Npc-X, he would just toss me off a nearby roof for wasting his time, pledges have to sort their own drek". And he never once sought help from bloods, NPC or player one, despite posturing like a whole gang stands behind him. But it's posturing, as obviously he is just a pledge and tries to muscle people who he cannot beat (and often enough succeeded).

That's one way to look at it.

But it's the other way.

A pledge is just a minnow swimming with sharks, and they get just enough support to give them a bit more weight than any other random immy to back up the posturing. But a lot of the time the players get a sniff of this authority and forget they're not actually sharks and then they get a red scroll reality check to remind them of that.

So, 0x1mm as this is a topic about the issue of not enough gang players, what's your solution for the problem? Or do you disagree that there is a problem at all? Or really are you willing to elaborate at all, on how those !rp red screens are good for the game, where force-feeding someone their eyeball, or turning them into a virtual slave, would not serve the same purpose but also write more interesting story?
I have to agree on that.

Vatting someone without providing them a plot hook or hint shortly after they come out is anti-fun.

It doesn't even have to be revealing. Send a messenger to Genetek, or something of that nature. Give them a phone number to call to resolve matters. Don't just leave them with nothing.

Sorry to see you go, Marleen. If you ever return, maybe try a non-combat character?

I really do not want to derail it into Marleen topic but I always play a conflict driven character - that's what's fun for me, and clearly for many people on here handling this in red screen is the way to go. And that's just not compatibile with what I want from games like this, hence moving on to the RP rock I crawled out from.

While my characters are never 100% conflict at all times (even, or maybe especially on Sindome), as that makes for very flat and boring characters, conflict is always on the center and otherwise I am simply not engaged as I RP to cause havoc in way that is, hopefully, fun and engaging for everyone involved.

And all the stuff you suggest doing as post-genetek, you can do before too just fine. Sometimes I like to practice is ladder of escalation: first you tell them to stop X, then you punish them and repeat, then you vat and repeat... and so on, so you keep escalating it, and give enemy a chance to redeem themselves at every point. Does that mean you are more likely to be found out doing so, yes, definitely. It is also a lot more engaging for all the involved parties, and that's generally what's RP is about, at least in my humble opinion.

Now if it's not worth possibly risking exposing yourself to teach some immie a lesson then how it's worth shroud-vatting them? That's what I would call playing for some imaginary win, not to create great stories together.

It's terminal protagonist syndrome for a player to believe they are entitled to consequences only on their own terms or they'll take their ball and go home.

These are the most powerful and lucrative factions in the game, if any player goes in expecting it all to be just handed to them right away, however they've justified to themselves, then yes: They are in for a very rude awakening.

An immy is nobody. If they want to be somebody then they have to earn it.

To comment on Marleen's post, I'd say that half my characters deaths were silent, one-sided, ninja pops out of nowhere and crits you into oblivion with no RP before or after. The other half were fun scenes with great players who made it memorable. But my attitude is generally to just avoid RP with people who make it clear they're just throwing UE around or abusing mechanics. If you have enough UE that you can bully most players easily, you also have a responsibility to make it interesting for them AND, most importantly, not just go and kill them when they say something mean to you just because you CAN. And I empathize that sometimes, it's very difficult. Sometimes, people don't reciprocate, sometimes, trying to make it interesting just ends up getting you killed instead. Staff can't police it, they can't watch exactly who you're killing, how and why and then tell you if you need to tone it down, unless you're going really overboard.

Which is why I don't think this lethality is the main reason ganging isn't as popular as it used to be. I would say that if you played that same conflict-heavy character outside of a gang, you'd get the same treatment, if not worse because you have no backup. I can confirm this as more or less every 'hostile' non-ganger character I've seen routinely gets the living fuck beat out of them and faces regular deaths. At least for the first 3-6 months. Most of them don't make it that long, which is sad, because those are characters generating a ton of RP and theme in the mix.

But just to play devil's advocate a bit, and reiterate what 0x1mm said. A pledge is not worth much. I think people have this strange notion that just by pledging, you now have the full force of your gang behind you, and they act accordingly, boasting around, talking shit to everyone and acting like they're untouchable. The gangs dominate the mix but you are not the gang, you're just a pledge. You bring them their candy, you light their cigarettes and you do the shitty, low-end work they don't want to do whilst you build up connections in the gang and outside so ONE day, the gang will respect and back you up in your vendettas.

Just because you're expected to toll people doesn't mean you should toll everyone. I think this illusion of power maybe is more likely to be the culprit behind low ganger numbers/retention, but I'd love to hear more opinions on it.

I'm just going to come out and say my hot take on this.

Ganging used to be extremely high risk, but also extremely high profit.

Now that 95% (what it feels like, at least) of the mix is competing for the ONE HUSTLE you get as a ganger, gangers have a hard-assed time making money off doing what it is that they're supposed to be doing just to get faction and be able to join that gang in the first place.

I tried, for pretty much a month straight, to join a gang, and I literally couldn't get enough coded faction for the gang to join it because I wasn't willing to shit in a tube sock and log in at 4:17AM and run resupplies when they were actually codedly available. So why would I want to be in a gang, hustling players, occasionally getting vatted for it, when I can't offset those losses. I don't have a good fix for this, but the cat's way out of the bag on certain hustles being profitable, to the point that it's nearly a waste of time to even try them. YMMV.

One last comment I have about the state of ganging in 2106 is that tolling is basically just basic bitch rentseeking behavior nowadays. I know, this conflicts with what I JUST SAID about gangers having a hard time making money, but hear me out on this. Tolling isn't good RP. Beating people up because you weren't a big enough e-beggar to convince people to give you money that week isn't fun RP. Everyone's wallets are full of mothholes, and everyone is dreading getting tolled, which makes even more people want to duck it. Not to mention the people who actually have the money to spare totally ignore tolls, or just outright kill you/rob you for even trying/asking.

Can we just do away with gangers essentially being e-beggars begging for handouts? This is a part of gang culture that's spilled onto the fabric of the game and needs to be rinsed off. If you're a tough thug, go beat someone's ass and TAKE their money. Stop taking taxes from people operating on turf, and start demanding a cut of the actual profits. Dips working your land? Tell them you want half or you'll break their legs (could be a real threat, could be hot air.) Tell solos you want a chunk of the loot off their soon-to-be-corpse. Start flexing on people parking cars on your turf. You paid your car parking taxes, this month, motherfucker!?!

There's also some meta going around with ganging when it comes to 'I enforce the rules against people who I can beat, and don't say shit to other, more dangerous parties.' That's kinda shitty. Be ignorant of who on the wholist is joe supersolo. Treat other organizations equally, because from the top levels, we're told that big organizations in the mix are ON equal footing. Make friends and allies of the up and coming, and punch up with your RP using the giant catapult of clout that being blooded in a gang gives you. If you want to go up against an oldbie or organization for whatever vat or other slight, @NOTE and IC-GOAL it! Don't just hire a solo on some oldbie, then flip out and quit ganging/the game when literal blood and bullets starts raining from the sky around your character nonstop. Get staff involved by making them aware of what's going on, and what you're trying to do or accomplish.

I honestly have to second the tolling thing.

Tolls, tags, and interactions that primarily take place through combat with NPCs are repetitive and boring as fuck. It makes the whole thing feel like a second job, and drains the life out of the whole role.

I'd much rather a higher ranked ganger occasionally threw a bit of money their way to get some plots moving, observed how they used it, and adjusted accordingly. If said ganger invested solely in themselves, squirreled the money away, or dumped it right back into an automated system instead of recirculating or doing something that benefited the game as a whole, as seems to be a problem lately... Let them know via IC means that they're a selfish prick whose reputation with the gang is growing stale.

Given that promotions within gangs are regulated by GMs anyway, I wouldn't think this would be too much of a burden. Could be wrong.

I feel like tolls have mutated into some sort of weird mixer bureaucracy. It used to be a polite excuse to mug someone, basically, and now it's basically 'well I am in x gang and you need to pay x gang y money!' without having to back anything up, and people only comply because there's an implicit threat of complete annihilation if you don't bend to the will of even the most inconsequential gangers. See my post for more on that.

If anyone reading this is a ganger or is thinking of ganging, tolls are not taxes and you're not a tax collector. Tolls are extortion and you're an extortionist. You're a thug. Sure, reminding people on SIC that tolls are due is fine and all, but how about you engage in some interesting roleplay and actually find someone to go intimidate about it in person, in a bar, or maybe start taking things they have as their toll (even something simple as a hat, this can be a catalyst for roleplay). Tolls are robbery. Tolls are extortion. There's no law saying that mixers have to pay you tolls, there's just a bunch of shady people with machetes, bats, hatchets, and knives saying that mixers have to pay you tolls.

And as a reminder, if your mark genuinely doesn't have anything to steal, why are you wasting time stealing from them?

In response to Quotient, I'd rather not give gangers an insistent responsibility of creating plots, as they do have a lot on their plate, and 'hiring out' their work can be taboo, at least in some gangs, but YMMV. As it stands, if a ganger was thrown some cash for no reason at all, and they pocketed it all, I wouldn't really blame them -- as Talon said, there's pretty much a single hustle in the mix for gangers, and it's currently being bombarded by just about every mixer who can get their hands around it, leaving very little space.

I am going to focus on Batko's first post here and say that agree but that I also feel its about more than gangers.

It honestly feels like there has been a shift where NPCs are used more often than before to help solve a PC's problems for them. This could be NPC gangers or NPC members of other organizations. I am not a fan of this personally.

It felt like, in the past, a PC was provided with resources (money, NPCs they could command, gear, and so on) but it was their job to apply those resources effectively. Being n a gang was not a I win card. It was access to resources you COULD use to win.

Now it feels like NPCs just step in with big bounties and direct action to sole a PC's problems for them now and then. It is not a constant thing and I am sure that there is more to the stories than what I and others can see but that is the impression get.

I also feel that only one half of the equation is being looked at. I do think that NPCs should be wiling to give PC member of their organization a chance to grow and learn. A PC shouldn't be booted unless it's due to a truly serious or frequent issues. But there IS a point where a PC is causing the group more harm then they are helping.

Ganger is out there picking fights with randoms and they turn out to be tougher than they can handle so the gang spends a few hundred kay to fix it? Sure. Maybe once or twice. But the gang will tell that ganger to stop costing them all that flash as soon as they can!

That syndicate operative is unable to make friends and allies despite the massive pool of resources and prestige they are given access to? Then maybe it's time for them to be taught better or to be replaced.

I know it's a delicate balance but if NPCs are consistently used to solve PC problems then I feel it just changes how the game is played. It discourages more creative RP and encourages PCs to all go and go full in in the silent kills with no further engagement as that is one of the only ways to avoid the NPC pressure that doesn't take massive amounts of time and energy.

Again, just my personal opinion based on my limited view.

I both agree and disagree with Grey0's post.

I think NPCs taking direct action to aid a member of a faction is a very good thing if applied properly and if it is only afforded to actually important members of that faction, which it often is, but not always. People can and will small-world around factions, and if people just treat you as some dude with job benefits, then the faction ceases to exist, you just got a weird title.

If you're going to be part of a gang, people need to understand that you're not alone, you're part of a bigger organization that stands together. Now, does that mean they're going to solve all your issues? No. But there's a point where it stops being just your issue, and starts being an issue for the faction itself.

With syndicates, this is amplified. This is where I can't actually talk a whole lot about this, because while gangs are very obvious and in-your-face and anyone who's been in the game for more than a few days will know they exist, syndicates are different. I will say this, though-- it's extremely easy for people to small-world when dealing with both syndicates AND gangs.

In real life, if you were to come face to face with, say, some guy who you're pretty sure is part of an Italian crime family, and he's making threats, the average person wouldn't be primarily scared of him. They'd be scared of the family. Their resources, their numbers, their contacts. But in Sindome, it's pretty easy to just look at someone who is alone in a faction, gang or syndicate, and think, well, it's just one guy, I'll get a few buddies and we'll beat their ass. If you did that, it may work in Sindome if their faction never gets puppeted and never protects them, but in real life, well, you're not going to survive.

Faction puppets protecting player faction members is essential to factions existing. Without the faction protecting it's own, it's much too easy to ignore the fact that whoever you're fighting is part of an international crime syndicate, or the fact that whoever you're fighting is part of a gang that controls a third of all streets in the sector you live in.

I'm gonna stop mentioning syndicates now, but I don't think I've ever seen disproportionate syndicate faction responses -- maybe because they aren't super public, so maybe I'm missing something.

What is important is that the response is proportionate and reasonable. Low tier combat characters should be able to beef with a gang and only maybe worry about a few bloods backing up the blood player they're screwing with, or a Mix Walker putting a small bounty on them, maybe not even to vat them but to steal their shit, cut off a finger, or something that can drive on more conflict and roleplay. Oldbies should be able to (with extreme scrutiny, because this can get out of hand) slap a low-tier ganger around a bit if they step out of line and the gang can hold off because starting a full blown fight with this one solo / operator / whatever is more trouble than a single blood is worth.

But if somone, especially an oldbie, starts vatting a ganger once or maybe multiple times or robs them repeatedly, or maybe other gang NPCs get caught in the crossfire? This is where the gang should come in at full force.

Gonna doublepost to put up a suggestion for, again, any gangers or future gangers that might read this.

You can roleplay with the ambient population in small ways.

Maybe your character just finished chatting with some ambient population bloods while your character was waiting for whoever to arrive.

Maybe your character is gonna shout at some lower-ranking ambient population gangers doing something you don't like.

Maybe your character pats some ambient population pledge on the back as they clean up some graffiti.

Once your character has access to NPC commands, don't just look at them like a combat boost. NPCs are a roleplay tool, not just another weapon in a fight. NPCs can remind people you're part of a bigger faction.

Talk to them, even if they aren't puppeted at the moment.

Give them things to do while you're roleplaying.

Have them fight people -for you- instead of -with you-.

All of these things can help people get more immersed in the reality of your faction. And these sort of tips aren't necessarily juts for gangers, I'm happy whenever I see people roleplaying with ambient population from any walk of life, from bartenders shouting at belligerent patrons to people getting bumped into by one of the hundreds or thousands of people bustling around the street.

"It's terminal protagonist syndrome for a player to believe they are entitled to consequences only on their own terms or they'll take their ball and go home.

These are the most powerful and lucrative factions in the game, if any player goes in expecting it all to be just handed to them right away, however they've justified to themselves, then yes: They are in for a very rude awakening."

So for you there exist only those two realities, people who want everything handed to them, fluff and all, or people who are happy to roll in !rp vats? That seems naive and simplistic despite that, I don't see a single actual suggestion from you on how to improve the situation. Do you think it's in a healthy state as it is, or just don't see a reason to improve it, even if it's not good for player base?

For me if you repeatedly see players who try to learn how to make waves and trouble just pack up and leave, that's a very big issue with the game, and strongly suggests that simply making waves as new person is not welcome/worth it. As while it drives a lot of RP for others (as many here pointed out), it is not gratifying thing to do. And when it's not rewarding to drive other people's RP then people won't do it - as everyone here is to enjoy themselves.

Yet it seems clear from all the posts here that people want low-mid-level troublemakers, that they drive RP for a lot of people, and yet universally the response to someone doing it is that, inevitably, they will trip someone off who will just turn them into a silent punching bag for X amount of time as a result, with no recourse. Actually that was IC advice I was given (from a few people) to do nothing, take the vats, eventually they will get bored, and if you try to do anything, it will only last longer... All over very petty interaction (I won't get into what exactly, but take my word for it). It may be "my character would do" for that person, but it's definitely is not fun for others which consequently does not really lead to collaborative storytelling.

So while I agree wih what someone has said that this is not exclusive to gangers, non-gangers can make waves just the same way, gangers are kinda at much higher risk/exposure for it, as they go out there, RP with everyone, try to hassle random people (sometimes high-level ones unless you are at least meta around it) with deadly enough consequences. Where as normal person you can be a lot more selective about your victims.

And then being a pledge is actually cash poor, especially for new players. Running items for just one gang is often enough a struggle to even fill the limit, even though you may be sitting on stack of big ticket items for weeks, and see everyone else running them for bloods all the time and you hear "Nah, need nothing, sod off". Tolls while are a bit of nice PC-driven income, in honestly they will only offset your medical/gear lost due to mugging/dipping and fighting other gangers, barely leaving enough to cover once-a-week-vat. This would be even more dire for a new player. So don't be surprised if they then don't bother to keep making waves and just ease off into raking in flash, as all this extra risk from making waves just doesn't pay. Even if you do something very big and public, and very on theme, that won't get you the flash, or make tolls easier, but will possibly get you vatted and in ongoing trouble.

So in my not well experienced opinion that's the crux of the issue. Laid-back ganging rakes you alright flash, and pushing it, hustling and making waves does not (generally) lead you into that much better spot, while exposing you to very easily become someones vatting bag with no recourse for you. Now if there was more reward to balance the risk, or maybe some tighter rules around low/no rp vats, then I can't imagine won't people won't take the chance.

Failing at something not intended to be possible is not tantamount to flawed game design.

A player should be cognizant of their weight class and not confuse their character's ego for their own, and understand, as a player, when their reach has exceeded their grasp.

A pledge is nobody, they are not expected to make big waves, they are not expected to start heavyweight conflicts. They are expected to use their role to grow into a position where they can, eventually, do these things. Players may choose to start those conflicts anyway but the reality is these characters are Red Riding Hood, not the Red Ike.

I really disagree with this idea that new players can't cause waves or even make money as a pledge. I know of multiple immigrant characters (new or old players doesn't matter) that have show no problem starting shit with others players and cresting "waves" of rp. And these characters keep doing it, so it must be fun for them. I've also never had issues hitting the weekly cap running stuff to a single set of npcs. And no I didn't have to stay up all night waiting for a reset or anything like that.

Also there are plenty of ways for a pledge to make money besides coded means. You just have to be creative. Think of rackets you see criminals perform in real life. I've always found gambling fun personally. But there are a ton, like a prostitution racket. Flash isn't anything anyways. If you haven't checked it out, I recommend watching Slithers video on how to plot without chyen.

Advice given to your character, in character, isn't exactly advice that a player might give you. Characters have different motives, maybe that character gives you bad advice because they want you to fail. Just because you heard it in game, doesn't mean that that's how it is.

It's been quite some time since I played a pledge -- and when I played a pledge, there were no bloods in my gang, though the other gangs had bloods and walkers who were considerably better in combat than I was. Gang life was just me and another pledge trying to survive, and it was a lot of fun.

Since then, it seems like gang participation has gone down a lot. It's hard for me to point to specific reasons why (though I posted some ideas some months ago in this thread) but one thing I notice about the gang game today is that there are no "wise old gangers."

When my gang character was coming up, there was always a senior gang character in one of the gangs -- not always the best fighter, but someone who kept the pledges of every gang in line and enforced gang culture and the code.

In some ways, the code makes the gangs more like a single faction than three factions, and I wonder if the lack of any "leader type" personalities plays a role. Looking back on my experience, you don't need one in every gang -- but you do need one in gang life generally.

That's not really something anyone can fix; it takes time for a character to develop and the right IC and OOC attitude for that character to help bring the spirit of cooperative competition to gang play.

It's been quite some time since I played a pledge -- and when I played a pledge, there were no bloods in my gang, though the other gangs had bloods and walkers who were considerably better in combat than I was. Gang life was just me and another pledge trying to survive, and it was a lot of fun.

Since then, it seems like gang participation has gone down a lot. It's hard for me to point to specific reasons why (though I posted some ideas some months ago in this thread) but one thing I notice about the gang game today is that there are no "wise old gangers."

When my gang character was coming up, there was always a senior gang character in one of the gangs -- not always the best fighter, but someone who kept the pledges of every gang in line and enforced gang culture and the code.

In some ways, the code makes the gangs more like a single faction than three factions, and I wonder if the lack of any "leader type" personalities plays a role. Looking back on my experience, you don't need one in every gang -- but you do need one in gang life generally.

That's not really something anyone can fix; it takes time for a character to develop and the right IC and OOC attitude for that character to help bring the spirit of cooperative competition to gang play.

I was ganging recently enough to experience the last "golden age" of ganging (my opinion, and only one I've seen), melt away into this weird spectre of its old self. Every gang was rocking PCs in some form or other, and conflict rp was good.

One of the biggest things I felt I lacked as a newer player in particular was more to do with general mechanical knowledge. Fighting, at first of course, but that was minor, and it was rectified real fast via mentorship. I'm talking data gathering. I had a lot of mentorship on how to be a better fighter, and a lot of mentorship on conceptualizing strategy as it pertains to theme, but almost none on how to apply it mechanically within the boundaries of the game.

Whether fellow PCs won or lost their plots, it was both fantastic and disappointing to watch it unfold. They were doing all of these rad things and I had no idea how to affect the system to recreate them. It became very clear which were veterans of the system, rather than just high UE characters. In hindsight, I should have asked? Maybe in local OOC at some point. Anyway, I didn't and I'm still suffering for it.

I think if we focus teaching pledges and young bloods as much about how to mechanically use the system to carry out their rp, we'll see more stick around the gangs, as well as carry the knowledge into the bigger Withmore ocean beyond. I know it would help make my time more exciting, even now. If players are taught and empowered to know the system they're supposed to create story in, they'll be more likely to want to do it.

Just like a chess player recreating famous games on the board, or just going back to replay their own matches, you learn by observing all of the moving pieces. Teach players how to do this early, and I bet we might start seeing fewer !rp vats too. If all you know how to do is crease someone quietly, it stands to reason that's the method you'll employ.

Other than that, I 100% agree with Talon on the tolls. I think taking a cut of work makes much more sense from rp and mechanical perspective. It will generate more rp, negotioating, etc. and it sort of provides an opportunity for gangers to know what's actually happening on their turf.

Joe Baka: I wanna do some work on turf.

Ganger: Ya better be lookin ta pay fuh it.

Joe: I'm thinking twenty percent.

Ganger: Shit. That depend on what kinna work ya doing?

Negotiate.

I like operating like this now. It gives me a chance to set up crime on turf, where I sometimes can actually receive ganger backing to get me out of trouble if needed, because whoever I work it out with is losing out on more than a kay if my plan goes south. It also means I can rp when I'm able and not have to worry about forking over a kay a week just so I can be good if I do have time. Finally, the ganger gets to know what my work involves - they know what to expect and how to respond if some drek gets seen and shouted on sic. They have leverage over you if you fuck them over. And they generally have a better snapshot of what biz is occurring on turf. All opportunities for more and richer rp.

Ok, now. These are mostly oservations and answers to a few questions that were asked (as I knew them when I was last ganging).

1. There was (and I assume still is) an imposed limit to the number of NPC gangers in a -group- of same-faction players. Not per player, per the group. Players can't just go walking around willy nilly with every faction NPC spawned in at the time, for example.

2. Pledge interactions with allied NPC street members (mechanically and from rp) were very firmly aimed at the mentality of, "you're the bitch, here's some bitch work.". You deliver (item related or otherwise) what they want, you stay out of their way, and you get null assistance til you prove you're worth the time to have your back. You collecting tolls as a pledge (odd imo)? Pay that shit up the chain. You ain't one of us yet and it ain't yours. It's the gang's. Blood? You were just the rank and file. Even walkers weren't shit to some faction members if you stepped the wrong way. This was reflected in puppeted rp from higher echelon members. Any perception that pledges were hard backed by the gang was just that. Perception. The only real support you generally got as a pledge came from your PC faction allies - who were typically your mentors.