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[MAJOR] Disguise & Appearance Policy
Major update to the disguise/appearance policy

We are at a point with our coded and roleplay systems where you can effectively change your identity in character to the point where you should be able to fool another player entirely. The onus is now on you to do exactly that. The GMs will no longer be arbitrating 'how did JoeBaka know it was me in the shroud' or 'how could JaneBaka have guessed it was me that killed their ace kool' or ANY situation that involved someone recognizing you, or assuming you were someone (correctly or incorrectly).

If someone thinks they know who you are, they are welcome to think that, and act accordingly. The sheer amount of xhelps we get on a weekly basis with people asking us to arbitrate these issues, or investigate why or how someone knew who they were, is not tenable. It started out as 'suggestions' that people up their roleplay game and not just make assumptions about who someone was, but has turned, over time, into more of a 'rule' than a suggestion. This has resulted in frustration on the staff side at consistently having to field questions from people who are, potentially angry, that someone rightly or wrongly assumed their identity when they were shrouded or disguised or standing on a crowded street or whatever.

I still have an expectation that if you want to up your roleplay game, and a shrouded skinny punk chum walks into the room, you don't immediately assume that it is 'Joebaka' just because you saw him lose their disguise with that shortdesc in the past and know they are skinny. However, this is NOT a requirement. If you think you know it is JoeBaka, you can go ahead and roll the dice. We as a staff, will not be arbitrating this stuff any longer. It is a huge time-sink and takes away from time we should be spending writing code or running plots or picking up puppet requests.

Every player has at their disposal a varying degree of ability to hide their identity. And a varying degree of ability to hire other people to do their dirty work. And a varying degree of ability to muddy the waters when it comes to the identity and reasoning behind a crime or action or murder or whatever. It is now up to each of you to use those tools to their fullest extent to hide your actual identity. This will require a combination of not just coded features, but also roleplay. Just hiding your identity or gender isn't going to stop JaneBaka from wondering why right after getting into a SIC fight with JoeBaka, someone in a shroud pops up and ghosts them.

Disguises & appearance changes & ambient populations are not cloaks of invisibility or get out of jail free cards. They are each tools in an arsenal used when attempting to obscure your identity. They are useful for planting a seed of doubt about who you are or giving a measure of plausible deniability for your actions. To be useful you must convince the other person you are not who you say you are.

Other characters are under no obligation to believe your character is someone different than who they assume they are.

Characters have disguises, stealth, appearance, @describe, @holdback, @voice, clothing, weapons, pose, and emote that can all be used together to craft a 'different' appearance. If a PC notices your PC they can assume you are whoever they want to assume you are. They do not need to justify it. You need to use the tools to make it hard to guess. Again, that's assuming that you are noticed at all and not lost in the crowd.

Just like you the player can CHOOSE to have your character eat when it is not REQUIRED, your character can CHOOSE to not recognize someone if you the player think you know who it is, but you think it makes sense for your character not to recognize them. This is great for roleplay, and we encourage it. However, staff will not be the roleplay police on this. You have the tools at your disposal to completely obfuscate your identity. Use them.

Too much time goes into the GMs arbitrating if someone 'would really know it was person X' and in the end the decision is still entirely subjective. If you truly want to convince someone you are not who you say you are, you have to be thorough and plant the seeds of doubts through role play, actions, inactions, and in any number of other ways both codedly possible and those that are role play specific.

Again, if a player chooses to ignore these and make assumptions about who your character is, through a disguise, a disguised name, an appearance change, their voice, their description, their nakeds, their clothing, their attitude, the slang they use, the actions they take, the actions they fail to take, or anything else, that it fair game.

This approach means that the onus is on players to attempt to deceive others in game and out and it does not require a GM to arbitrate if someone should have been able to 'guess' who you were. This results in fewer situations where people felt that they were treated unfairly by another player or didn't like the result of a GM investigation, where a GM was unable to give them the full view of what happened because it would reveal IC information.

The responsibility is on the players to hide their identity successfully.


Some Examples to provide context: If a shrouded short boy is attacking your chums and you are on the way to give them backup and a shrouded short boy enters the room from the direction of your boyos, you can decide this is the same shrouded short boy that was attacking your boys and act accordingly. You can also decide it isn't the same person and continue on. You may be right, and it was them, you may be wrong and it was not.

If you want to fuck with some Sinners because they just robbed you on Sinn Street, but at the same time shift the blame to the Snakes, you could hire a big hulking dude (or someone who can do a decent impersonation of one) and equip them with a pick axe and a shroud and pay them to go kill some Sinners. The Sinners can then choose to either believe it was one of the Snakes that attacked them based on the evidence at hand, or they can choose to believe this was just a veiled attempt to get revenge and start a war by the person they just robbed.

If you want to commit a crime and don't want to be easily identified, you could utilize the stealth skill to get around, the appear command to change your appearance, the disguise code to change your display name or hide your body entirely with a shroud, you could change your @voice, craft a new persona on the SIC that justifies the actions you are taking and shifts blame.

You can @holdback some of your stats to make yourself in excellent condition, change your @describe before disguising up, buy a new set of clothes that you've never warn before, and establish yourself as a different person through interactions with various characters at a bar, before setting about committing your crimes. Thus, tricking the people you are dealing with into thinking they are not dealing with your character.

There are plenty of ways to hide your identity. If someone can see through it, they see through it. Improve, and try again.

Seems like a great idea.

You would think that means that people who can't or don't set themselves as shorter or thinner would be meta identified (like it was commonplace back in the day), as they would be the only PC with that shortdesc active in the area.


If you are a hulking mano, wearing a black shroud. Then your enemy would find a hulking mano, wearing a black shroud randomly, and they would assume it is you and attack you, because now they don't have to justify their "assumptions" (this happened all the time before, and still did until recently). It is likely that they're right, and if they are, that means they just identified you, a random shroud, out of millions in the street, because of your shortdesc. How unfair, right?

However, it's also possible that they are wrong, and actually targeted Seven Ecks who was making himself look fatter, and get their ass owned.

So it is actually a double edged sword. People could be setting themselves up to be wrongly identified based on OOC assumptions, or set themselves up to be hilariously wrong and targeting all the wrong people.

What this really needs to actually work is self policy from the community, and the initiative to respect disguises. Now you could be right in your assumptions, but you could be very wrong and adds another layer of complexity to your decisions. Your arch enemy known for being tall could now be short, lithe, or hell, the opposite gender. And now, if you're wrong and attack the wrong person, you could easily get vatted for being hotheaded. The chances of that happening are now much higher.

In all, this sounds like a great improvement.

Do wigs and lenses still not match skintone? Or is there a skill requirement for them to match skintone?

I'm just going to repeat something I said as an admin a long time ago. This happened VERY VERY frequently back then, and I don't doubt that it happens just as frequently if not more so now:

"My favorite thing is when people metagame based on information they ARE WRONG about."

OK maybe calling it "metagaming" is a little ungenerous, now that several years and several iterations of feature growth have passed. So now my favorite thing is going to be IC action based on IC wrongness.

Please make fixing pose a priority in light of this MAJOR change.

(Edited by Slither at 6:15 pm on 3/2/2020)

The updated durations for appear modifications are on point.

Thank you for making those.