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Archetype Cantrips
Fun and Useful Commands for Underserved Archetypes

The impetus for this idea is based around Deckers, and that significant Grid 3.0 functionality to enable the archetype(s) in-game seems like it might be years off still, in lieu of any furthest discussion on that very well-trod topic, my suggestion was to add a few simple command-based abilities for the underserved skillsets — based around already existing mechanics and code — that would, in effect, give those characters 'buttons to push' to have some useful effect, based on their UE investment.

The concept of 'cantrips' here is borrowed from Dungeons and Dragons, a very basic spell that can be used at-will. Most of the best skills have some kind of mechanical action, initiated by command, that does something, and I think this could be extended to better support some of the more niche and underserved skill-sets. Essentially my thinking is of three abilities, spread across the UE curve from minimal to extreme investment, each one doing something practical and immediate and on-demand, that scales based on skill-level, and is initiated by a command — and, for the sake of ease of implementation, also does something that is already codedly possible whether that's through an item, or whatever else.

Basically giving some characters more immediate utility, and encouraging their inclusion in gameplay, rather than an item. Giving them something fun to initiate and do on demand, like sneaking, theft, combat, et cetera.

To give a few examples to illustrate what I mean (though these are just throw-away concepts and have not been like, considered for balance, or whether the abilities make sense for archetypes I'm less familiar with. Cantrip number ranges from 1, low UE investment, to 3, extreme, and N scales on that investment level):


Cantrip 1: Boost local SIC signal for N time. (1-5 minutes)

Cantrip 2: Disable target alias SIC signal for N time. (10-60 seconds)

Cantrip 3: Locate alias SIC location to N precision after 60 seconds. (Sector, sub-sector)

Electro Tech:

Cantrip 1: Disable sensory cyberware on target for N time. (1-20s)

Cantrip 2: Disable all cyberware on target for N time. (1-10s)

Cantrip 3: Disable all cyberware at target adjacent room for N time. (1-20s)

Auto Tech:

Cantrip 1: Reduce target vehicle speed by N percent for N time. (25-75%, 10-240 minutes)

Cantrip 2: Increase probability of vehicle accidents over baseline by N for N time. (10-25%, 10-120 minutes)

Cantrip 3: Disable target vehicle for N time. (10-60 seconds)

Secure Tech:

Cantrip 1: Disable target surveillance device for N time. (1-10 minutes)

Cantrip 2: Disable all proximate surveillance devices for N time. (1-5 minutes)

Cantrip 3: Disable all surveillance devices at target adjacent room for N time. (10-60 seconds)

As far as usage, they could either draw from stamina, a fixed number of uses per day, or a relative number of uses per day based on UE or associated stat. The better cantrips might require the accompanying use of some archetype appropriate piece of gear (like a term for deckers) but the idea is to transpose stuff that items do onto the characters themselves to give them more practical, daily utility in order to involve them more in the coded conflict systems in place.

To re-iterate these are just examples that I came up with after a few minutes of thought, not meant to be hard and fast fixed things, maybe three abilities per archetype is just too many to be practical, and a single scaling command might be better -- but I do think it would be beneficial to everyone to give some of these archetypes something powerful to do, considering how weak and underserved a lot of them are in coded terms, especially if it means giving them some coded function that would otherwise be found on an item that you can't RP with.

All of this seems OP as fuck for "cantrips".
To re-iterate these are just examples that I came up with after a few minutes of thought.

Combat is OP as fuck, no one is complaining about that. If I sink a year of UE into pistols I have 10x as much utility as a someone with comparable investment in non-combat skills, I don't think it would harm the game to spread the power around outside of combat archetypes.

Let me break out my full explanation hat...

If this is the sort of scale you expect "cantrips" to be on, then you have a severely misplaced sense of weight.

And yes, we get it, 0x1mm. You hate combat.

Right now there are items in the game that are more useful and powerful than many non-combat archetypes in practical terms. I don't think players should be weaker than things, especially when it can take months of investment to get to that stage.
The nerds will definitely inherit the Earth.

Yep, some of those actual suggestions sound terrifyingly OP, but the concept in general sounds great to me.

It should always involve their tools though, surely? Decker going to boost SIC signal? They're going to need their term, or some other gear to make that happen, same with the rest...

If I catch you trying to make my already crappy SIC signal worse though, I'm definitely going to punch you right in the face >:(

I think @HC's point is more that these cantrips are basically things that you need to run plots for right now, because they're weighty, important, and prone to abuse if misused. Shutting down cams or crashing chrome is a crazy ability for someone who's essentially faceless in a crowd wearing a shroud.
And yes, we get it, 0x1mm. You hate combat.

No, I believe non-combat characters are dramatically under-supported in coded terms and artificially under-represented as a result. I play a nearly purely specialized combat character, no hypothetical improvement to non-combat abilities would benefit me directly. My interest is seeing more variety in what people play, and better support for things that aren't weapon skill + dodge + (notional RP role skillset).

Stuff like this should definitely require specialized equipment.

There's also cool gadgets currently in the game that should 100% be using tech skills but AFAIK don't have a skill roll at all. There was a thread about that awhile back but I don't think it went anywhere.

All of this as an innate ability is way off the way game design works in Sindome and the stuff that can be accomplished through these means is done via plot or existing means that rely on items rather than magic powers.
Talon expounded a bit further.

Yes, these suggestions are insanely powerful. And a lot of gear already does a lot of them. Gated behind chy and RP as well.

I don't think plopping down abilities on "Class types" is going to do the game any good.

All of this as an innate ability is way off the way game design works in Sindome...

Attack, grapple, sneak, steal, and more besides -- all innate abilities. All things you can codedly and immediately do based on skills, or tied to skills.

I don't think there should be items that are more useful than a whole player with 1-3 years of UE investment.

Yes, these suggestions are insanely powerful. And a lot of gear already does a lot of them.

As I say, these are suggestions, though I think it's fair to say that combat-specialized characters will likely object to anything but the most watered down and non-influential abilities given to other archetypes.

And the idea was to take what is already present on items or other mechanisms and distribute it to players instead, making combat characters more reliant, or more interested in cooperating with non-combat characters in regards to combat and conflict RP.

I don't know where people get this idea that a techie needs to only have tech skills and only do tech things.

I never bother hiring anyone for "specialist" work like this because few people who go for those roles can be relied upon to participate in my experience. It's always a letdown, especially when you need something done in a timely fashion.

Anyway Sindome is about money and if you spend money you win. Things, not people, are powerful.

I do feel like the primary point of the OP is being a bit glossed over here. They weren't asking for any of these specific abilities, but I don't see why giving some of these archetypes some ability to join in with some action on the fly without relying on an available GM is a bad thing.

It's CP as fuck to have fragile techy-types backing up your combat-monster character to make sure that hit/heist/random act of vandalism goes smoothly, isn't it? :/

Also, Vera, perhaps if the 'specialist' types actually had a bit more ability to influence events with their skills, you'd find more people doing it, and actually be able to find those reliable ones you want?

Things, not people, are powerful.

Does that really seem like the ideal circumstance? Wasn't there just a long discussion about getting more people engaged in conflict RP?

It is the intended and ideal circumstance yes. Money is king, the entire game is about it.
Then give these people some more expensive gear to have to buy to be able to access some more useful abilities?

I don't know why there's such hostility to giving CP-specific archetypes more utility in a CP game...

People aren't on board with this because you're presenting them as fire and forget magic spells, not because they're averse to non-combat roles getting anything to play with. Pretty much every coded action you take has some weight and potential risk and consequences attached to it.

Again, anything like this should be locked behind specialized equipment, come with limitations and the risk of discovery. And items already in the game that do this kinda thing should require tech skill rolls.

As I say, these are suggestions, though I think it's fair to say that combat-specialized characters will likely object to anything but the most watered down and non-influential abilities given to other archetypes.

Please don't generalize. I fully support non-combat and tech characters. I also respect and advocate the point made by others that you can both do combat things and be a technical character. I'd MUCH rather see more people with a few diverse interests under their belt than people who have two skills on their sheet.

That said: I think there's a huge disconnect between expectations of what people think you can and should be doing as a decker and what you can and should do as a decker today.Everything you're describing, and more is accessible to people in the archetype right now, provided they RP, plot, note and otherwise do decker such things. It's just not available on a RP prop item and automated. I feel that's probably a good thing, and I'll explain below why.

I've played other games in dystopian settings where deckers were given free reign to do decker-style things as you would imagine from CP literature. It was objectively terrible, and actively stifled RP and promoted people sitting in apartments and being the equivalent of hikikomori. I'm wary of such things becoming the standard here, because I do see neat decker RP and plots firing off in a regular rotation, and it seems like really cool stuff from the outside looking in.

I would say thay the problem here is looking under the surface at what issues the game faces. What 0x1 is asking for is a system that adds a randomized factor to make it so gameplay isn't a pure numbers game with the answer already determined before the encounter. That's what abilities are for. I don't think this is the solution SinDome needs.

I remember a discussion that pointed out a notable flaw in the economy system. Currency is largely sourced from combat characters, spread to utility characters. This should be the opposite where combat characters are hired by the business oriented instead of always being the owners. I think the solution to the problem presented in this post is putting more weight into trade skills and things like that. Make it so it's tough to operate without a brainiac.

Then it just becomes tough to operate.

I've played high and low end management roles topside and in the Mix and good help is obnoxiously hard to find. A universal constant has been that a lot of the time it's less that I can't find work for a decker/tech/whatever to do, it's that I can't find one who's trustworthy or good enough at Sindome enough to bother with, or they're simply unwilling to take on the risk/effort.

This is less true of thieves and fighters, who are often going into the game with risk-taking in mind and don't have as much trouble stepping up to the plate. It remains true that good (and timely) help is hard to find though.

Techies could do with more gadgets sure, but let's leave the magic powers out of this.

Pretty much every coded action you take has some weight and potential risk and consequences attached to it.

Nothing that says any abilities would have to be consequence free. SIC chip could buzz that you're being targeted, other abilities could be overt and require line-of-sight like 'attack', and require archetype specific items like terms, or otherwise.

As I say these are just suggestions. I think coded things to do are fun. I think it adds value to players that don't otherwise have much beyond their baseline RP ability, and I think there's a lot of coded systems in the game that could be adapted (whether scaled down or up as required) to spread out the mechanical advantages to players and get them involved more in daily conflict RP.

A universal constant has been that a lot of the time it's less that I can't find work for a decker/tech/whatever to do, it's that I can't find one who's trustworthy or good enough at Sindome enough to bother with, or they're simply unwilling to take on the risk/effort.

Do you not see this as a natural consequence of combat skills being the best skills and many others having almost no practical daily utility?

Make deckers, or other archetypes, more viable and fun to play and there will be plenty of them popping up to help with whatever conflict plots you might want to undertake.

Speaking as someone who plays a non-combat character, I can say my character doesn't take the same levels of risk as combat oriented characters do from a purely pragmatic point of view. It is much more difficult to defense or revenge yourself as a non-combat character. You -have- to outsource to combat characters, who have just as much if not MORE earning potential than an average non-combat character does. So it's a negative feedback loop.
Isn't this a chicken and egg debate, though, 0x1mm?

If people want to play less combat and/or conflict-driven characters, then we have archetypes for that. Just like we have archetypes for other play styles.

I feel this is less an issue of combat characters getting all the toys, and more relevant to the issue that you can't very well roll a combat character and be successful if you're super risk-adverse.

Are we telling all deckers, mechanics, doctors and artists that they're playing their characters wrong because they don't have the tools to geek people or otherwise ruin their days with?

I don't think there's a clear answer to be found down this rabbit hole.

In a lot of ways Artistry characters have it easier in this because they can pull in money to fund what Red mentioned and then some more. It really depends on your stats/skills and how well you can write, of course, but you get the idea.

The principle behind this ideas post is simply suggesting other techie and utilities characters enjoying the same level of ability. OP isn't literally suggesting let's give magic tricks to int characters. It's a fun idea. Probably going to be vetoed even if all of the community is on board because I figure the staff would like some equipment or mechanical requirement for this, but that doesn't mean we can explore other ways in this thread, right?

Besides, what's so rabbit hole about this? Are combat-centric characters so afraid of losing the domineering presence in game? Even if techies and the rest of the game somehow gain equal footing in presence, that doesn't mean combat characters would get any less RP.
Making a comparison of artistry characters to tech characters isn't a balanced one. A great artistry character, who pulls in a lot of flash, is a character with a player who pours an immense amount of effort and creative energy into the game along with UE investment.

Combat characters aren't afraid of losing a domineering presence in the game. This is a matter of balance and that combat characters actually do want to hire tech-based characters for plots and activities, but as Vera's brought up it's a hard task to pull off when you cannot find people to do it. Or when you have tech characters who will not create business for themselves through proactive means.

If I roll an archetype that has the physical strength and constitution of overcooked noodles, then that means I'm doing so consciously making the decision that I don't intend to go and try to break faces.

The cantrips and abilities mentioned above are things that would 100% get you killed if you were ever discovered doing them.

Now, I'm not saying that you SHOULD be risk adverse as a player, but if you are going to be risk adverse, then there are character molds specifically made for that play style.

Thus, my chicken and egg analogy.

And can we be adults and stop constantly making this an us vs. them argument when that's not at all the point? Nobody is suggesting that we rip guns out of the game when we add decks. Let's not inject that nonsense into the argument. Deckers being good does not explicitly or implicitly mean that combat characters are losing -anything.-

Trust me, I know, crashdown. I know it too well. And that's why we're discussing. Okay it's a hard thing to balance. Which is the staff's job. Why do we need to just shut down every aspect of this discussion though? It's hard, so let's not even talk about it, is that it?
I don't think the loop exists.

I played in the Mix for six months on a character who was not capable of hurting anyone. If I ever needed any fighting done, I had to outsource that. Money would be the easiest way but the heart of the game was about socially manipulating people and making myself valuable to others in ways that didn't include fighting.

Getting plot done is mostly that. Being the person who does the actual redtext only gives you the means to do that particular chore yourself. Same goes for tech stuff and any expansions you could add to it - if characters aren't proactive about plotting, cooperating, and competing, they're not gonna have a ton to do.

There are tons of successful characters who don't fight and have tons to do, and there are a lot of characters who are combat monsters but sit on their butts all day waiting for plot to be handed to them. More gadgets = more fun, sure, but it's not going to change your gameplay experience much if you're expecting the joy of Sindome to come from your character sheet.

My chicken and egg comment was based on this, which I had intended to quote but was distracted and forgot.

Do you not see this as a natural consequence of combat skills being the best skills and many others having almost no practical daily utility?

I'm not attempting to shut this conversation down in the slightest. I was pointing out that making a discussion about tech characters and then making it into an argument about tech vs. combat was silly.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm in full support of tech characters ICly and OOCly, and I'd like to see love given to them. I just don't think that this suggestion is the right method of doing so. Debate, yeah?

Deckers can and do get plots and play pivotal roles in them. We just don't have a lot of hands-off utilities for these characters. Which, is probably a good thing, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, because when deckers get pulled into plots, they tend to matter quite a bit, be it getting bombastic data, blanking out bank accounts, etc. These aren't things that joebaka should be firing off willy-nilly, and that, in my mind, is why they're locked behind plots. It's not that it doesn't exist, it's that it needs active moderation, like most other things in the game do.

We just don't have a lot of hands-off utilities for these characters. Which, is probably a good thing, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, because when deckers get pulled into plots, they tend to matter quite a bit, be it getting bombastic data, blanking out bank accounts, etc.

Characters having to xhelp or @note just to have basic interactions with the game-world is not really anything like gameplay. Killing someone is often one of the most powerful acts you can do to someone, but no one argues 'attack' should be locked behind xhelp.

Currently there isn't the staff support to engage with plots or character support with anything like regularity that would make the mechanical gameplay for some of these archetypes interesting -- Deckers have an actual disclaimer that they don't have support codedly, and it's not like they're going to be this way forever they're intended to become more powerful with Grid 3.0, this is suggested as a stop gap since that might be years off in terms of decker things practically happening in-game.

These don't have to be game-breakingly good ability/abilities, but some common conflict-oriented functionality that doesn't involve staff intervention would be an immense quality-of-life improvement to the characters playing these archetypes, and foster more diverse player engagement with conflict that has been argued exhaustively as being the core of the game.

Attack is locked behind xhelp unless you're in (most of) Red.
Since when?

I have been told to xhelp before attacking an NPC topside, but is it now the policy to xhelp before similarly going after another player?

I don't want this to come off as preachy, if it does, I apologize. I'm just trying to share my experience.

There are many, many instances where you absolutely do need to @note and xhelp before doing red text. And if you don't do so, there is usually serious consequences to your actions. I don't think that's really news to anyone, on the latter point.

I've attacked and killed a whole lot of people in SD. It involves notation. Many times, if there's even a doubt to the decision made, staff will follow up when able and ask what the intentions where, why you did it, what lead your character to act on that attack, etc.

Based on my experience with these things personally, I don't think that anyone is actively murderhoboing in the game, or does so for very long without some stern talking to by staff. And that's a good thing.

My point being in saying this, is that there's a lot of staff involvement at every level of the game, and with various archetypes. Some people see this as a feature in the game, some people criticize it. Personally, I'm a fan. I guess my feedback here, for what it's worth is that we have a lot of tools in the game for data gathering, we have tools in the game for messing with electronics and such, for keeping hidden or making areas dark. They're just not specifically locked behind cracking or programming.

When I do see said tools and such getting used, it's usually by veteran characters who are in the know about them. I don't see any reason why you can't make a character as a decker, use these tools, as well as doing the usual things deckers do right now, and make that your identity. That's where the roleplaying comes in, in my mind. If a decker gets some information and then sells it to me and tells me they stole it off some server somewhere, I'm going to take them at face value for it, even if I know where it's coming from is not some non-existent decking thing. Part of that is selling the character.

Instead, in my experience, all I see most decker archetypes do is complain about how there's nothing to do, there's no grid 3.0 and therefore they can't do cool decker things. We have tons of cool things going on, take it, use it, and make it part of your decker identity until 3.0 comes out. Sure that data might not be *exclusive* to a decking skill, but there's nothing preventing you from being a great broker as a decker. That's really my point in all of this. And I'm only using data as one limited example here, it seems like the easiest of the fruits to reach.

Attack is locked behind xhelp unless you're in (most of) Red.

It...really isn't. Players are directed to xhelp before committing crime where there is WJF presence, but there's a universe of non-criminal combat occurring, and believe me that players very often do not xhelp first, it's not codedly locked at all, and those thefts/assassinations/bombings that result don't get rolled back.

There's nothing like the same staff-support limitations on combat characters as non-combat characters. Combat archetypes are far and away the most powerful, in almost every circumstance, by a wide margin. Which is why anyone with a specialization is generally (chosen specialization) + (combat skill) + (enough strength to wear necessary dough).

0x1mm, I would caution against making such flippantly inaccurate takes on admin policy, you are giving the wrong idea to other players.

Any crime plans topside need to be xhelped and greenlit by a GM to supervise and oversee them, period. An NPC reaction is not always possible, depending on what is happening, but a GM is always watching in case one is warranted.

There have been no assassinations/bombings/other topside fuckery occurring in the last little while without GM approval.

Essentially everyone in the discussion here is playing a combat-oriented character, I think that's pretty suggestive that it's just better, and I don't think it's that players who play combat-oriented characters are just better players, better role-players, I think it's because that's what the coded systems support best, what gives the most IC gain, so that's what most people do as a result.

I can count one long-time max UE support-oriented player without combat skills among all the players and characters I know, and what few other sub-max support characters there are, they are mostly also combat specced or basically trying to role-play their archetype with minimal support. It would be as if playing a game like...Shadowrun or something, and offering a choice between a character that could experience the story with gameplay abilities, and one that could just experience the story. The story might be the central purpose, but I suspect people would (as demonstrated by player demographics) chose the route with more gameplay every time.

Sindome may not be a MUD, but it's also not a MUSH -- coded systems are an important contribution to player role-play, and they are coming inevitably, at least for Deckers, so the argument that they just shouldn't have more abilities doesn't really seem to be reflected by the development roadmap.

I'm going to level with you, 0x1mm. I don't agree with your assertion that combat characters are the most powerful archetype in the game.

If I had the choice to choose between the best combat character, the best broker, or the best fixer, I know that 99% of the time, I'm not choosing the combat character.

Why? Because your ability to spam people's screens with a wall of red and send them to genetek really isn't that important in the overall scheme of the game. Combat characters are more common then 100 chy bills, and I highly doubt there's ever going to be a shortage of them.

I've played non-combat characters in the past. I don't see it as any harder or easier than playing a combat character. You don't even really need to play all that differently, really. To me, (combat) power, money and influence are corners of the same triangle, and it's much easier to ask a friend to kill someone or pay a solo to kill someone than it is to actually do the red texting yourself.

Storm -- not my intent and I apologize, of course, players should be xhelping for that, and I wasn't suggesting they can get around it, just that the commands themselves were not locked out codedly.
If I had the choice to choose between the best combat character, the best broker, or the best fixer, I know that 99% of the time, I'm not choosing the combat character.

Well...all of the top end brokers and fixers I've known have also been hitter-level combat-specialized as well, you don't really have to choose is the thing. Should every character be configured that way? I's optimal, is it ideal for the role-play landscape, or make sense from an IC perspective -- I'm not as sure.

Thread got derailed by slapfighting.

Being able to hack cyberware or a room in real time would be neat. I like the idea behind the suggestion, but as specialized gear, not innate verbs. More jacking in type stuff when 3.0 arrives maybe?

I've spoken in the past about how I spent over a year playing an extremely successful character who almost never engaged with the combat system. IDK where the accusation that I have a blind spot there is coming from.
That and there's going to be some serious game balance swings once 3.0 hits live if many of the teased features by Johnny become a thing - deckers are going to go from 'ignored nerds' to basically major mechanical plot pivots for many social spheres. Perhaps padding this with extra verbs added to relevant decking equipment that replicate some of these promised features in-MOO would be a good start?

I think the central idea I'm trying to promote is 'push button; do thing', or rather 'type verb subject; do thing'. If they're useful and practical things that help promote minority archetypes, I'm totally unwed to any specific abilities or powers.

So here's some specific feedback to keep things on topic.

Ignoring all the complaints about how combat characters are supposedly "the best" somehow or how fixer characters are allegedly "the best" for some weird reasons, let's take a look at these cardtips...

Assuming there would be an expensive tool to do these, that they would be blatantly obvious, and that you could do like one or two a day depending on your Int or whatever, and that these are just opinions...

-Boost SIC in room for X seconds.

So you can scream bloody murder or advertise your bar. Neat, I guess.

-Disable an alias's SIC signal for X seconds.

Obviously for a support class aiding in a hit. Make them have to be in the same room or something, because no-risk-no-RP abilities are dumb. Where's the non-combat use?

-Triangulate someone

Lol no. I can't even begin to think of penalties required to balance this.

-Disable cyber eyes and ears on someone in your room for X seconds

Eh. So someone else can sneak through a room? This seems like you'd get murdered in an instant. Which isn't a bad thing.

-Disable all cyberware on someone in your room for X seconds.

Great, now you can have someone beat them up too. I don't see any practical non-combat use for these except to troll your friends.

-Disable all cyber in adjacent room.

Again I don't see the non-combat use or how this would be made obvious that you did it. Maybe some examples?

-Make a car slow for X seconds.

Neat. You can mess with street races. Remember street racing?

-Make a car crash more for X seconds

Well that's just a dick move. But hey, street racing!

-Disable vehicle for X seconds

Well now you're just being blatant.

-Disable camera for X seconds

Digital spraypaint powerrrrrr. Just use spraypaint?? I mean it's kinda neat.

-Disable all something something for X seconds.

I don't know what this is.

-Disable camera from a room away for X seconds

Well how is someone going to see you then? What RP does this encourage?


All in all I think most of these ideas need work. Maybe show how they promote RP without lessening RP.

Some of them are neat.

I don't have any feedback on the ideas being presented, but I do want to push back on people saying combat characters are not OP.

With one exception, every single powerful character I've ever known/dealt with (and I've known and dealt with a lot) has been either a combat specialized character or a combat character with a splash of another archetype (for instance, a cyberneticist who's amazing with swords, a bio-engineer who's amazing with knives, etc).

Being amazing at combat is par for the course among the game's most powerful characters. The one exception was one of the best players in the game and the character they played did it all via RP, personality and scheming, but they also relied on a super strong combat character to support them.

I'm not saying it's necessary to be a combat character to be powerful, and there's also a very different curve to it--combat characters tend to be a dime a dozen and only a few get anywhere, the few who are intelligent about how they do things, RP well, etc. It's not like combat itself is a win button. But it's certainly the most powerful skillset if you specialize and are a good player.