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If a tree falls in a forest..
How much can you assume?

So an event happened recently and there was zero reaction from ambient pop where it would have been expected. Additionally, there was little physical evidence of this thing occuring. For different reasons people have wanted to play it up or down.

I had a very good conversation with a GM about what was reality. But it left me with questions even now. I have no care either way on how the event should be. I would like to know how much we as players should assume things if the game gives us no feedback that a thing happened.

I've been told at different times that I should and absolutely should not assume anything beyond what the game gives you. There might be a fuzzy answer on this, but I'm interested in hearing thoughts to better play in the future.

One thing I assume with respect to SD is that I'm never alone, but that doesn't mean anyone cares what I do/what happens to me. For a cyberpunk dystopian future with cameras, microphones, and guttersnipes waiting to rat someone out for flash at the first opportunity, it's reasonable to assume that someone saw something. Plus of course sneaky people, cyberware, etc.

As for ambient population (such as NPCs) a single room's size can vary greatly. You've got tiny elevators and hotel cubes, as well as full city streets/blocks crowded with people. If NPCs don't seem to notice/act on something happening "right in front of them" I usually assume they may have noticed it, but crowded noisy bars, clubs, and city streets, they could be doing something else or off to the side dealing with their own things.

Alternatively, they might just not want to get involved because it's not their biz, or it'd be a hassle. They could be high or going through withdrawals, or lost in their own head and react too slowly to do anything.

This is just my personal take on why things that happen in a public place with no PCs or NPCs still get out, as well as why some NPCs might not react to things immediately. Not to mention the concept of "diffusion of responsibility" which is essentially "Well someone should help but there's lots of people around so let one of them do it" as made famous by the real life murder of Kitty Genovese (though it's since come to light in a documentary her brother did that people did phone police who simply didn't care because of the neighborhood).

In general though if it happened, it happened and someone might have seen something, but that doesn't mean they're going to actually do anything about it.

GMs can choose to leak occurrences that no PC or NPC technically saw, but the ambient population would have, but also sometimes folks just don't care or don't want to get involved. Exactly why folks should @note their secret nefarious deeds "nobody" witnessed.

Also, PCs and NPCs can and do lie/have wrong information.

I'd also like to add that your character can believe things with no evidence or witnesses, or not believe things with plenty of evidence/witnesses. Just kind of up to how you think they'd react to/treat the information and presence/lack of evidence.

Thank you! That's a really well thought out response. I guess I was more considering how something happened.

Let's take the example of a car crash. The car did hit a building. So it did happen. But that could mean many things. The car could have bumped the building. The car could have smashed into it and shattered windows. The car could have been the nefferiously plowed into tons of ambipop. So it's not so much a question of if the event happened. But understanding and being able to react to how the event happened in the absence of any other information.

I get that GMs cannot react to everything. But what sorts of things should we infer as players?

I'd just make up whatever way my character would be motivated to spin it. Who even tells the truth anyway?

"That little ding? Pfft, it buffed RIGHT out, show me the problem."

Or to JoesBoss "Boy howdy, when Joe hit the building, can you believe he backed the fuck up and hit it AGAIN? It looked on-purpose too!"

The truth is usually whatever the person with the most authority says it is.
If I understand the question here it is about how are we as players supposed to interpret an event based on what we see in game, not what our characters can or can't claim, but what really happened.

My take is that you can never assume anything contrary to the available evidence. To use the given example, if a car hit a building, but then I come on the scene after the fact and there is no wrecked car, no damage to the building, and no injured passengers or pedestrians, I am not going to conclude that there had been a collision. To expect players to know otherwise is to require them to be clairvoyant.

Contrarily, if I come on a scene of damage and destruction, with the vehicle wreck, a damaged storefront, and medical teams treating the wounded, then of course I can't assume that nothing happened, and that there was in fact a collision or some other incident.

What do we infer as players? Only what we are shown. If players are expected to react as though something happened in a public space, then there needs to be indication of it happening, otherwise, the assumption is that nothing did. If there is "zero reaction from ambient pop" and "little physical evidence of this thing occurring," then nothing happened beyond what that little evidence shows. Nothing significant, anyway. As I understand, this is why some actions in the game require coordinating with GMs in advance so that GMs can set the scene, so that then others' RP can react appropriately to the information available.

If you need a puppet to clarify, -please- file it. We always attempt to prioritize puppets. Sometimes due to our schedules and other things going on we can't make it happen. We always attempt to provide ambiance where possible.

Sometimes there will be things that happen your character did not experience and can't speak intelligently on. Just like real life sometimes it takes time to uncover the real story. You can build this in to your character's response.

Thank you Tangerine, that's good policy and this is not about any blame of getting puppets or ambipop. Those things happen, I get it. You guys do an awesome job of making the world feel alive and it's a testament to the job you do that I'm asking this after a long while playing.

In the cases where there is limited information, I'm trying to figure out how much I should assume? Again, I think you all do puppets and requests just fine. Experience tells me that most times it's going to be a while to get that clarification and many times events are happening that we have to make immediate decisions on.

Should we assume things or not?

I guess the other question is will we be hammered by NPCs for failing to respond appropriately to things that don't appear bad in the world and for whatever plot reasons are supposed to be?