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Death to the Poncho!
I put on my robe and wizard hat.

In the guided discussion today, we brought up how ponchos were really a legacy disguise item that had little merit in storytelling due to them being a black hole of descriptive elements.

It was also brought up that without them non-combatants would suffer to abusers.

What are your concerns around this potential change? What would make it better? Should we? Shouldn't we? Discuss.

A good and themely alternative for the poncho would be metachrosis skin. You can see it discussed further here.

I think this idea belongs to the joke ideas thread.
I think if there is a robust system of disguise that works as well as just slinging a disguise soft and a poncho on, ponchos will be needed and will be used.

I would LOVE to have meaningful alternatives that are as cost effective as a poncho but while there are other things to disguise with they have large draw backs that do not even put them close to how good a poncho is.

Rather than nuking poncho's boost other disguise items perhaps?

In regards to non-coms and poncho's in the Mix a poncho is basically the only defense you have because if anyone enters into combat with you, you are done. So you have to prevent that, and while there are other options nothing out there fits the same need a poncho will fulfil.

Ponchos are really a bandage, avoiding the whole issue of @name and shortdescs and appearances being something a player can instantly identify, in situations where a character probably wouldn't be able to.

I think that they've become the default tool for all characters in virtually every situation, regardless of their skills, is demonstration that they were really effective at patching this issue. However I think the problem with them is two-fold:

1. They're kind of silly. It's ridiculous that plurality (or even majority) of ambient and actual characters in the world are supposed to be wearing head to ground sheets that also cover their faces completely. How does anyone SEE?!

2. They limit the design space for all other disguise/stealth options because they're better than any other disguise object can be and all disguise (and stealth) items and mechanics have to work around the fact that ponchos are already so ubiquitous and powerful.

Removing ponchos with nothing in their wake would obviously cause problems because the game isn't really designed in a way to allow for pseudo-anonymity, but I think starting to plan for their removal and how other, better systems could replace them is a good idea.

There's a huge range of themely options for more cyberpunk disguise items like holographic chrome, scramble suits, and anti-facial recognition items, but also cutting ponchos out I think gives a lot more room for items that already exist like helmets and masks to become a bigger part of the day-to-day world while at the same time opening the design space for deep investment in disguise and stealth to become way better than it is now.

Ponchos invalidate most all of the other disguise items in the game, especially when you consider it's totally valid to wear them anywhere dome-wide now.

They also act to discourage the continuation of RP threads. I put on my wizard hat and robe, then shoot someone with my magic missiles and sneak away. The 11 witnesses saw a generic robe and unbranded wand. There's no follow-up. Congrats, you did a thing. You want cool rivals? You want to have an arch-nemesis? You want people to hate you for legitimate reasons other than smallworlding and assumptions? Take off the tarp and allow people to piece things together.

And for the love of god, don't perpetuate the nonsense that is "bwuh, you need tarps to do cwimes111!!!11" Literally just shoot person in face. Crime commit.

As some throwaway examples of the types of mechanics that could be implemented with disguise that could be possible if the design space opened up a bit (not saying any of these in particular could replace ponchos, they're just ideas):

+ High disguise skill allows for @disguise-x verbs usage even without additional bonus tools.

+ Moderate disguise checks can toggle conceal a character's @name on busy streets akin to pseudo-sneak, very high checks conceals it everywhere.

+ Very high disguise checks allow permanent changes to @name that aren't subject to degradation.

+ Advanced disguise abilities along with chrome/tools could allow characters to completely remake themselves down to a biometric level.

+ Very advanced disguise and additional several additional advanced tools could allow for characters to make use of unidentifiable and disposable flash clones for super high risk plots.

In the spirit of suggestions:

I make these suggestions with the declaration or assumption that disguise stacking as it exists today doesn't work that way in future state. Sure, you can wear contacts under a hood, but no wearing a scrambler over a hood, for example.

Choices: Pros vs. Cons, fundamentals of game design. My suggestion here is that you should have to choose between in-person visible light obfuscation and digital obfuscation. One protects you from people in your area. One protects you from digital observation (in theory.)

What do I mean by digital observation? Binoculars, cameras- both the photographic and video kinds. Thermal optics in some cases. Drone optics. Possibly cybernetic eyes, if someone had two of them installed. Anything that isn't a jelly meatball in your head, basically.

Cryo cyberpunk things that should/could exist:

+ Facial scrambling sunglasses. Hide your display name on cameras and digital optical devices.

+ Larger-scale digital scrambling devices. Either a wearable jammer object similar to a backpack with emitters on it, and arms over the shoulders for added coverage. Optionally, clothing or armors that innately scramble digital optics but don't actually do anything to hide your face-to-face identity. Larger scale devices hide your display name AND your sdesc details.

+ Thermal camo. We have devices in-game to help regulate body body temperature. It would probably be pretty easy to hack or modify these things to work at an ambient temperature, instead of ideal body temperature.

+ Cold-blooded nanogenic: needs to be mutually exclusive with other, similar nanogenics (they both change the skin, so handwave reason why they don't work together.) Allows you increase your ability to sneak around thermal optics. Maybe it has the downside of reducing your physical stats, or something instead of simply bumping up your CPI.

Continuing from my previous, some rough ideas for things or concepts that could replace ponchos entirely might be:

+ Characters are by default 'disguised' on public streets, and don't show @name.

+ Helmets and masks of all kinds are made much more common and attractive to use, so they become the replacement to ponchos where everyone's face is almost always hidden in a themely way. Examples of features could be bonuses to wearing, face-concealing tint toggles, passive chemical/biological protection, additional features like thermographic displays or visual overlays.

+ Stealth is made way more important and useful. No feedback on coming out of stealth, stealth passively conceals @name for a certain period after ending, stealth can remain active even in combat like disguise, more stealth tools and tech to render characters all but invisible even for very complex scenarios.

+ Stealth and/or disguise can make characters blend passively into crowded-flagged spaces. This has the bonus of giving the watch/address system more practical purpose. Something like having someone with the right skills not showing up in a crowded room until they decide to address you, while they can still roleplay with other characters.