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A change to typical Gang activities
Making Gang RP feel less small worldly

It's no secret that gang RP has evolved over the past few years and made many changes. Both good and bad, as someone's whose been on both sides of that RP, I always tried to think of a way to have some significant impact with my roleplay. But I've also fallen short in many ways and perpetuated what I think is harmful RP habits created from before gang RP changed into what it is.

I think gang tolls while seeming necessary for these combat characters to have an income and be able to recoup from losses, are more harmful to the community than they are good. While we want the mix to feel like a hostile and dangerous place, being hounded by the same characters for a measly thousand chyen makes the mix feel small, and also feels like the NPC base isn't apart of the same struggles you are. Barely ever do I see a ganger PC tolling or even talk about tolling a known NPC. I mean why are you tolling the massive population of Red anyways? You'd think with how cramped mix streets are, gangs wouldn't be able to stop someone walking down the street so easily. Why not flip gang tolls towards a bigger target? Extort business for protection money, instead of the small fish. It's also frustrating for newer players, especially those who aren't donating for a pad, for otherwise lack disposable chyen like that to be conveniently farmed for 1 kay every week, or face even rougher punishment including multiple beatings, and deaths for not paying out. I myself have been a part of continuing this RP and I don't like what I believe it's done to the game.

What if instead we presented some ideas to help change gang and criminal RP for the better. Nothing to specific, but what's a scenario you think someone could work toward that would satisfy both a need for criminal RP, but also truly show how big of a place Sindome really is.

I really dislike whenever tolls are said to be small-worlding. Here's how it works: the players antagonize other players, they literally can't antagonize ambient pop. And the ambient pop of their own gang exists too, which would logically be antagonizing the ambient pop that the players can't access, which is shown in the ambient messages in Red of gangers hassling people and shaking them down.

There is (or was) actually a mechanic for tolling NPCs, for gangers with rank, as well.

Small worlding is not when players antagonize other players, I don't think it's fair to insinuate any attempt at robbery or stealing or extortion is inherently small-worlding just because 'what about the other mixers on the street?' as that makes for a game where people are afraid of interacting with other players, lest they be small-worlding.

Find creative ways to handle the problem. Tolls are a core part of the ganger gameplay, it's extortion, they do it because they can and your character is not in any position to say no. Offer things other than just chyen to make up for it. Nearly every coded job has some kind of coded benefit that is essentially built to be abused, as long as you are subtle and smart about it.
I personally think tolls are fine, as they generate conflict RP when dodged but also can be adjusted and come in the form of more flavorful favors and so on which also generate more RP. Also keeps PCs earning and active when they are also active and about. Known NPCs are generally significant people and wouldn't be in the purview of pledges and such who typically handle tolls, but higher tier gangers do get the abillity to do as you suggested, taxing businesses and such.
1k is a bit more than anyone can make in a day (maybe half an hour actual play) through coded means. I don't see why it is an issue, and I've had no problem finding the money even as a brand new player.
I'm in favor of removing tolls if the alternative is that ganger PCs mug way more often than they currently do, but that's the only reason, and that can be done within the current system, anyway. The reality is that tolls generally do more to protect newer players rather than harm them, and paying gangers (who often happen to be new players), builds opportunities for roleplaying and possible protection (depending on the player).
There's no point in 'removing' a player-made tradition. Tolls are supposed to be an option other than mugging. Tolls should be collected much like muggings are handled, it's just the path of least resistance, where the ganger doesn't beat you half to death before taking your money. 1,000c is just a convenient and agreeable amount compared to taking literally everything from people, constantly. Toll dodging shouldn't lead to death, it should lead to vicious robberies. What leads to death is usually the disrespect that comes with toll dodgers, which is a separate issue from the simple act of not paying tolls.

A lot of these issues are due to a long chain of player-trained gangers being broken and new gangers needing to pick up the pieces with not much guidance. Maybe a town hall topic on the matter would help bring out players who used to be gangers to give advice on these matters.
So maybe the answer is to expand upon the way tolls are done. Because I agree that when done with some flavor they're not terrible, but it really does seem like the standard approach if not small worldly, at least feels lazy. Especially when you're asked by the same ganger every week over a private sic as soon as you appear in WHO.dat. In the past I've seen other players work out deals with players instead of tolling them. Those deals turned into uneasy relationships and fostered more RP because of that. Whether it was through an opportunity to backstab one another or get a leg up on another character. I know tolls can lead to rivalries and conflict, but I wish there was a bit more too the current way of doing things, which really just feels like Aim at X and Say "Gimme your money." As far as extorting other business and people leasing buildings, does this actually happen these days? I'm glad if it does, but I've yet to see that personally through my years of playing the game.

I understand these players need some sort of hustle, and I'm not trying to attack anyone whose currently collecting tolls these days. Gangers do keep the mix feeling alive. But maybe there is a way we can both toll players and it feel fun for both sides. Because I've definitely heard the sentiment that one side tends to feel like they're being farmed for chyen. If the answer to that is more violence and harsher actions towards other players, then lets do that. At least that gives other players more to play off of and better reason to want to retaliate.

Personally I don't struggle with paying tolls on any of the characters I've played. But I do struggle with retaliation. It feels like I can't retaliate much because its just as it's just 1000c and my characters have bigger problems living in the mix than the local pledge.
Former ganger here, I could say that you get more RP out of making deals if they can't pay toll, or have them do random things, like cleaning rival gang's graffiti up, market running, cabbies paying with Chex services, etc instead of outright beating them, or killing them just because they don't have measly one grand.

Be creative, really.
I think calling them 'tolls' may be confusing to some people. It's really more like a tribute. The gangs are big groups led by essentially warlords, and they have de facto rule over Red sector, or at least the areas of Red they control. Pillaging their territory repeatedly is stressful and difficult. What is easier is to offer an 'easy way out' in the form of a tributary payment.

One kay is not a lot, compared to what could feasibly be earned if they simply systematically robbed you every single day. It also ensures that you have enough money to keep paying, every single week.

Tolls are a contract between the individual and the gang that more-or-less says that they won't ruin your life as long as you keep paying tribute.
The term toll is basically like an IC tongue-in-cheek joke, same as calling pay-offs 'taxes': Characters are being shaken down for protection money by loudmouths on the street, that is basically it. You don't have to pay them, they don't have to collect them. Go forth and be free to cause chaos with this knowledge.

That it developed into kind of a gamey self-aware ecosystem with people lining up to pay at bars every week says more about what player characters allowed the gangs to get away with, more than it says anything about the underlying concept because none of that was ever mandated, it's just what people ended up doing to themselves.

If someone's giving up all tolls every week, they're looking at 152,000c a year they're donating to someone else's DCD fund. For the average player that will be like 30-90% of their income. If that was the case maybe time to wonder if rolling over isn't the more expensive choice compared to fuck you, come and take them.
I'd also point out as 0x1mm brought it up, people coming into bars to willingly pay gangers tolls was an artifact of the power that previous gangers had, not something that was meant to be status quo. You should rightfully question why the current gangers are worthy of that, and they should teach you why, if they are capable of enforcing that.
I see both sides of this. I have seen how it looked before and after tolls, as they exist today, were a thing. Do I have a preference? Yeah. Get out there and stop characters and demand flash. Do it to NPCs and PCs. And stop being obsessed with that 1000 kay figure.

But I don't think this is any one side's fault. The gangers are doing it this way because other mixers LET them. Not a single PC I ever played ever paid a ganger anything unless it was demanded or beaten out of them (depending on the PC). Never have they walked into a bar on 'toll day' and voluntarily paid up. It's not themely to me personally.

At the same time, gangers seem to fall into doing things how they always seen them done. I don't blame them. It's hard to be creative all the time. To put your own spin on things. I also rarely see some of the suggestions laid out here employed by gangers, like providing alternatives. I also feel like their expectations are skewed as far as what they 'deserve' or 'need'.

So it's not just one side. If players want to see more gangers on the streets tolling/mugging, then stop playing toll game as it's defined currently. For whatever reason, players for some time now seem to prefer tolling in it's current form. They sure aren't doing anything but supporting it in a majority of cases that I've seen. And if that's how the community prefers things, that's alright too.

As far as smallworlding, I think it's borderline. Which is why I always avoided it as it's currently done. I see nothing at all wrong demanding people come pay you at The Bar. I do think that somehow managing to always know who has and has not paid and targeting people based on this is very questionable. It's not enough for me to demand they stop it but it's enough that I personally choose not to play that way.

At the same time, you can play with this too. Next time a ganger stops you for your kay, lie. Tell them you already paid another ganger. Make up a name. These gangs are huge and full of drug addled questionably educated types. See how they handle it. Be creative on your end too!

Just be prepared for how things might fall out. You may end up in a world of pain and, in my experience, plenty of gangers seem to think that scorched earth is the only policy. Your mileage may vary!

I think I want to summarize this. It was RP that brought the current state to be. I think that, if it's going to be changed, it needs to be RP that does that too. In character. Could be a slow cultural change or a concerted effort by some PCs. But I think the change, if there needs to be one, needs to be handled almost entirely IC.

Thanks for everyone's honest inputs on the tolls and whatnot. This has helped shape my opinion a little differently, and given me some fresh ideas to deal with tolling and being tolled. Ultimately I agree with the sentiment, if there needs to be a change then it should be done from within the game.
Prefacing this by saying this isn't directed at current players as much as they are ideas moving forward.

I see tolling as just another protective bubble placed around gangs that they shouldn't need along with The Code. Both serve to remove consequences from gangs. As it stands, gang members can't be killed by other gang members. If a PC kills a gang member then they risk the whole gang teaming up on them. Gang members can travel pretty freely between territories to attend bars and restaurants so they don't miss out on RP. Gang members collect tolls from low-mid level PC's to replenish lost funds so they can buy more weapons and gear in their endless cycle of fight/take loser to clinic to heal battles, then buy the gear back from the winner.

The real problem I see with tolls is the coin that is collected isn't then redistributed through fun stuff to do for the people that pay it. It's lost in that endless fight/heal cycle that only the gangs benefit from. Gang members used to involve PC's in their RP all the time. Siken was the King of putting mixers to work, grooming people to work for the gangs in all different capacities, using mixers to get jobs done, or just sending them on errands or as fodder. Tolls wouldn't leave such a bitter taste in people's mouth if they were actually getting cool things to do in return I don't think. The Code wouldn't be controversial if the gangs created more activity and RP for Mixers, and hell, corpos too.

Grey's right. If you don't like it you'll have to change it through RP, but whether or not tolling is small-worlding itself or not I think it creates small-worlding by sucking up resources that could be used throughout the game. Let's face it - it's not just 1k. It's 3k and that's about a whole week's worth of crates for someone a couple of weeks into their character. If I'm a new character and I have to spend 2 hours a week of my time or so just to hand over my earnings to a gang member and not get anything for it then I'd be upset and probably leave too.

TLDR; I don't think people would complain about tolls if they got something cool to do for paying them and not just feel like they're funding the endless fight/heal cycle that only gang members benefit from.
Big disagree on the endless fight/heal cycle being something only gangers benefit from. I'd say of any 'cycle' in the game it is the one that fuels the economy and activity the most. You lose a fight as a ganger, you need a medic, you need your clothes patched by a tailor, you go to your fixer to get back the gear you lost. You win a fight as a ganger you get some gear to sell, you make chyen that you spend with your local tender, you save up enough to eventually get at a mechanic, you get enough rep to bring your aggression to bigger targets such as corporations, and so on. It touches virtually everyone, and having proactive gangers funded is a fantastic way to inject life into general activity and business.

I agree gangers being movers and shakers is incredibly important to the game, and that they should be the ones pushing to involve a lot of people in the low-to-mid range in their stuff. For that reason, protections are necessary. Not because they couldn't manage without said protections in a more perfect world, but as mentioned in this thread prior it is rare that conflict generators don't get hyper-focused by people they probably shouldn't. Usually due to either large 'friend' networks drawing in big names, or people believing they are too important to be messed with by lowbie characters, despite the fact they represent big organizations. Of course gangers shouldn't be immune to getting slapped around should they overstep their bounds, and they generally aren't when those people don't go too far or make it so personal in my experience. Same time, I think we'd be lying to ourselves if we said there isn't an issue with letting conflict breathe, and that's why the protections are healthy when not over-enforced.
Agree with Soft about gangers using tolls to fuel things going around in the mix, when you think about they could basically be seen as mix corpies.

I feel like a lot of gangers might treat tolls as zero risk mugging, as it's difficult to fight back when it's literally the norm to square up to people demanding money.
I love when gangers are active, which was more common six months ago than it is now. They do create a lot of play in the mix.
There don't seem to be a whole lot of players wanting to play gangers, though. I don't think I've ever seen all three big gangs being active. The ones I'm seeing them being lenient more often than not - probably because they get a lot of flak for playing antagonists as is. I'd hate to stifle that more by taking away income and options.
There was a period three or so years ago where all three gangs were incredibly active and filled or at least 70ish filled for a solid year plus.

Gangers need each other to feed off each other's energy. The only issue I have is the come pay me tolls rather than collect tolls culture that has set in, but that's something that can be changed ICly by people who are directly impacted if they want.
Gangs and tolls are the entry-level subjugation all players are subject to and a pivotal part of learning how to manipulate/flaunt/hijack the system. If you feel powerless now, by the time you're facing off against corporations, solos, and such - you will be utterly crushed by the weight there.

Is it a problem that the player base primarily rolls over and takes it on the chin? Arguably, but not everyone has what it take to embrace the cyberpunk theme of resistance against authority, and even fewer survive such endeavors.

My opinions about the code and gangs are well-documented throughout the bgbb, so I'll spare everyone, but conflict is the core of Sindome. The IC rules, codes, and laws are largely a social construct and facade but it takes social RP to navigate them or direct action.
I wasn't going to post here again but Plebes post comes off as recent gangers don't RP and don't put people to work and that simply is disingenuous, coming from yes somebody who played a ganger recently. Maybe they just don't RP with you. I don't understand how you can start a post "this isn't targeted at ganger players" and then make it targeted at ganger players, saying "well maybe if they TRIED to RP more this wouldn't be a problem". Sorry, but what absolute bullshit considering some of these current gangers are very new and some of the former gangers have given their all to involve others in plot. Sorry I and these other gangers who "don't don't involve others" aren't on the level of Siken or 7x but reading posts like this completely invalidates those attempts we do make to put others in that gang RP and reading posts like yours I'm left with a heavy sense of why fucking bother trying? I would vehemently argue that when you are mugged, shaken down, or extorted, there doesn't need to be some guarantee of RP. That scene was the RP. Yes, we can ALL roleplay better and more. But Your money probably isn't going back into the economy, or back to you in some way, and nor should it.
I'm not immune to being wrong, and I'm sorry that was taken so personally, Leech. Sorry for coming across as elitist or haughty. I'll happily walk some things back and explain myself a little better, too. Soft was right when explaining the economic reach of gang activity in Red and you are right when you say that maybe the gangs are just not RPing with me. I understand that all of Sindome doesn't happen within my little bubble.

My personal experience with gangs when I briefly played in one a few years ago (I didn't have the time commitment for it because it DOES take a lot of COMMITMENT) was that gangers fought, got medics or sat the wounds out, bought their gear back from the victors. Rinse and repeat. That was my training from higher-up gangers. After that, I went topside and you're right - haven't been rping much with gangers until very recently.

I acknowledge gangers in the recent past and these new guys (who are what? weeks into it?) have involved others to different degrees. I honestly didn't mean to compare anyone to RP Icons or criticize their RP. It did come across that way, though. God knows I don't compare to those guys. I meant to compare the systems they work/ed in and try to give ideas or inspiration about how to move forward since this topic seems to pop up about every 6 months or so, still.

As a new character, I loved getting stopped in the street and given a task by some hulking gang leader - knowing that if i messed it up or completed it it might forever change their opinion of me and decide future work. A mugging is in itself RP, yes, and no the victim isn't owed anything like you said, Leech. But that RP also gets stale when the aggressor has the appearance of blanketed protections and there are limited marks they can focus on ie. low to mid-level PCs. Reefer's post explains away a lot of this, though, but i'm not sure Reefer's reasoning would be so apparent to newer players. Maybe it isn't supposed to be?

Also, maybe that's just nostalgia speaking, but from where I stand these new guys are starting Carte Blanche. All new. Filling voids and vacancies across the mix. that had had zero gang activity for a few weeks at least. These questions are coming up, now. Even IC at times. Why not offer opinions, advice, or just observations? They're big boys and girls, and they can take it or ignore it as they see fit. I think I'll forever disagree with the merits behind both tolling as it is and The Code, but like Grey said, it has to change through social interventions and RP.

There. That's my apology to players I insulted and my attempt to correct the tone of my previous post.
I see posts criticizing the gang RP of whoever happens to be or have been in the positions come up as often as this subject comes up, for years. You definitely aren't the source of my frustration here Plebe and thank you for explaining yourself, there's always merit in encouraging players to higher standards and talking about how we can get there. I apologize for taking it so personally.
One thing I have been thinking about is that the Mix may be less active and ganging less profitable because three years ago, the entire Mix was built on an economy of gang fights. Everyone was able to run a bat, bolo, or hatchet every week due to a bug that nobody knew was a bug until it was patched.

NPCs asked for more equipment than they needed, and it was enough so that they were constantly buying things from gang fights, and gangers were constantly selling to fixers, and fixers were constantly selling to immies and runners who would perpetuate a cycle that actually involved everyone. Everyone capped out their weekly income doing runs for fixers who knew how to push the right gear to the right gangers.

This made being a mixer considerably more profitable. It is not now. But it made the mix feel worthwhile to live in, it made it feel alive, and it made gangers make significantly more money than they do now relying on tolls.

So, maybe a consideration for rebalancing economy runs to be somewhere closer to how that bug was is in order. But that's just my own opinion.
We've had to remove some posts from this thread because of discussion of in-game systems. Please try to stay away from specifics about things that happen in the IC world here.

Thank you all for remaining courteous, even while disagreeing. For now, please focus on the ideas in question instead of hashing up how things are already done.
Keep in mind if you hand someone an L they may just complain through any venue because they didn't like taking it. There is no shortage of BGBB complaints about not getting enough roleplaying while being creased, or unfair this, or small-world that.

Complaints are so much hot air in isolation, because the competitive nature of things means players may complain both IC and OOC when things don't go their way. Everyone does it at one time or another, and sometimes it can be good to take into account and other times it is safe to dismiss.

When players play antagonistic roles, it is normal for some other characters to dislike them, and also expected that some players will also not like it and be just as vocal to that end. Fortunately their not liking it doesn't make their chyen any less spendable.
My reply above lacks context now but it was in response to (paraphrasing) it seeming like any hustling of chyen from people resulted in complaints of one kind or another.
Been thinking about this thread and one thing I've read a lot about gangers, and at least once in this thread. That gangs are a protective bubble around players; this is true. Factions in general will protect players, and while there are differing opinions on this, that is one of their major functions. Whether the faction should always be protecting them is a different question, which has been contentious in previous discussions, but the way I see it is simple.

Faction membership in Sindome is like an OOC social contract. You work to enforce the theme of your faction, and in return, your faction protects your character from people who don't like that. Gangers are theme enforcers, syndicates are theme enforcers, corpies are theme enforcers. Being part of any of the types of factions above (and maybe others) means your character enjoys the benefits of being part of a large faction with considerable power, and it also means you must pursue the themes of that faction. That means antagonizing people, but antagonism doesn't need to be constant loathsome combat or bullying people into suicide or perming people through chain vatting.

So, for people who dislike the protection granted to faction members, try to understand why it is that way and try to approach conflict differently and more subtly. These protective bubbles are almost exclusively protecting against vattings and outward, obvious targeting. Factions enable characters to make others uncomfortable in the confines of what realities their factions enforce; gangs rule by violence and brute force, they exploit the poor and take what they want because they can.

For players in factions, try thinking of ways to show off the themes of your faction without escalating it too far. Slow burn, low stakes conflict is just as important to the game as beating people to death. I am always trying to think of how to set up a scene that is atmospheric and immersive, I try looking at it from the shoes of a director; location, people, mannerisms, aesthetics, language.