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One Last Run
A staple of the genre

So, I missed the townhall, but wanted to comment on topside crime.

A theme that's majorly present in CyberPunk as a genre, and is lacking in SD is the trope of 'One last run.'

To put it in basic terms, it's a job that you're often leveraged into doing due to debts, favors, lifestyle tax, being broke, etc. They're high-risk, high-reward runs where some or most of the 'team' isn't likely to make it out alive, but the profits are going to make it your 'final hurrah.'

Sure, you're over the hill, you've got a faulty cyberarm, have to eat candy like actual candy to avoid cyber psychosis from old, failing wares, but you've still got your old set of dough and your heater (provided, it's a bit tight in some areas now adays.) You've been living the past few years like each was your last, but you just haven't had the balls to end it all, and now you're broke and facing homelessness next week. Time for 'one last run.'

Stepping away from theme, how I'd envision this working in SD would be as follows:

1) You organize a run with your choombs on corp XYZ, WSB, Kashflow, -whatever- to make the big chyen.

2) GMs (probably through a mix of puppets as well as yellow text) and the organizer work to verify that it's a run that's:

a. Going to incorporate a suitable amount of players

b. Going to target something suitable to the current plot/game state

c. Going to have some measure of success chance (more on this later)

d. Simply isn't "I CAN HAZ LOOT?!" in @request form

3) Monetary/itemization rewards will be implemented and granted to CORP XYZ along with a plot hook involving putting that LOOT into some form of risk, so it's not simply sitting in a bank vault/airborne/behind a retinal/etc. This also gives corps a chance to actively rotate and be involved in these plots, with character advancement and plot opportunities for both sides of the divide.

4) The run is scheduled for a time whereby there'll be sufficient player/staff representation (going to have to hand-wave this, as it's simply a OOC logistical problem).

5) The run succeeds (Hooray mixers!) or fails (Hooray corpies!), but should likely be tilted in some favor of the aggressor, since there's many layers of defenses on the corp side, and many layers of punishments/fallout on the mixer side of things. This is not to say that the success chance should be 90%, but there should be, like I said, a tilt. Maybe it's 60/40, 55/45, etc.

6) -MOST IMPORTANTLY- Nobody ever gets a lasting one-up on 'the man / big brother.' That would mean that sure, the ragtag band of mixers got away with the million chyen, but at some point, somewhere down the line, there'd be hell to pay for it. This could be in the form of teams being hired to retrieve items/liquidate assets from the victors. Maybe it's no-knock raids, with corpsec coming in with door charges and blowing off the hinges to your loot trove and totally cleaning you out as recompense. Maybe it's you getting dragged to the hall and getting chipped/tidi/banished. Maybe it's you getting cryo brainwashed into being a corpie and secretly selling out and setting up all your friends.

The important thing here, is that the THEME of the game is upheld. Sure, you made your big break, you stole that AV, gold-pressed-latinum, cargo van full of chyen, or super death-laser minigun, but you're not going to -keep- it. That's something implicitly understood when requesting the plot. You and your choombas are going to profit enough to offset the risks involved, and the inevitable death (this can probably be reimbursed by NPC puppets at a later date, since no doubt NPC's have to be involved on the mix side for these gigs) but you're not walking away retaining millions of chyen and flash loot. It's the story, and the challenge that matters.

Thoughts?

These are generally what CPAF exits are or can be.
I think this is actually a lot more present than is readily perceivable by a lot of players. Unfortunately, the staffing requirements are cumbersome to say the least - so this kind of things are left on the backburner as the culmination of PC actions that lead up to this.

I wholeheartedly agree that this is exactly what PC's should be doing and building up too though. Good stuff, TalonCzar. I look forward to reading others' thoughts.

I agree with all of this and still lament the fact that not many players (from my perspective) work towards things like this.

I'm not so sure about that last point, though. Let's say the run is a flawless success. The plan was great and the execution better. A bunch of players get away with a ton of flash and possibly unique/rare gear and items. I think staff then organizing a kill squad to go ace everyone and take everything they have is not themely, it's metagaming. Players SHOULD absolutely be able to get one over on big brother/big corpo. ONE over. That's the key. Players can't remain above it.

There should be retribution, equal to the heist itself in scale, but the idea that the underdog ALWAYS loses in the end because that's the theme is unfun and ensures characters leave less of a lasting mark and can't become as big a figure as they otherwise could. "Yeah, I stole an Ingram once, right under the Judges' noses. What happened to it? Dunno, they came down the next day and murdered me. Didn't even get to pilot it."

I also would like if retaliation was also forwarded to the players to make it happen, same as the heist. If WSB was robbed, I would much rather see NPC staff collaborate with WJF and corporate players to see it made whole again, rather than puppeting a bunch of murderNPCs. It leads to more RP for more people, things feeling more 'fair' and more potential for drama for both sides. Even if the RP is the true goal, I don't think too many people will be as genuinely interested and invested if they know they're automatically going to lose whatever they get. Let players have their fun, have their moments and trophies. If they worked for it and defended it with clever strategy and great RP, there is zero reason to rip it away from them.

Finally, tiny comment but I would love to see heists and big plots that aren't just corp v mix. There's a lot of room for nuance and creative storytelling outside of that, and the playerbase already does fine in keeping the corp/mix conflict alive.

Well thought out post.

I was under the impression that this sorta thing happens fairly regularly and the only reason it doesn't happen more often is OOC logistics.

I haven't really played in a minute, but I recall in the town hall or somewhere one of the GMs saying they've loosened restrictions on xhelping before topside crime, so you don't even need to plan some kinda CyberOcean-11 with a million notes to do stuff like this. At least on a smaller scale.

If you having money problems or somebody's leaning on you, I think it's CPAF to go hold up the VS lobby with nothing but your druggie friends and disposable handgun with three bullets in the magazine. Yeah, it's not going to be stealing an AI version of Keanu Reeves or nothing but personally I find the off the cuff things just as much fun as the fully planned missions with less of that OOC headache.

Nothing does beat like a huge sprawling plan coming together (or failing with hilarious results) though.

Just my two chy here but it feels like it's a semi-cold war between the corps and the mix, when really it should be a cold war between the corps.... mixers are SD's "Cuban Missile Crisis".

If you want more topside crime, there needs to be less of a unified corporate and WJF defence against those committing it. That's why no-one is bothering to risk it. Why bother when you are outnumbered and outgunned?

The CPI has driven up the conflict between topside and mixers - and I love it - but it feels like the scales have tipped much more in topsides favour. Yes, you should be smart. Yes, you should plan and have a long plot for topside crime. But Corps should be hiring Mixers to do their dirty work against other Corps - plausible deniability and all that.

Problem is, for a mixer (or anyone) doing one topside crime could deny you anyone topside as a future RP ally. You're risking many future plots for one plot - and that puts off a lot of players ready for that.

So in regards to the topic - this happens. In fact, probably the vast majority of topside heists or major crimes are players ready to do one last run with their character before moving on to a new one. Succeeding is just a bonus.

Without going into details, there are definitely some significant cold wars going on topside.

I think what you may be seeing is that topside is finally big enough that the wars are no longer the sole focus these days.

Or if you're unaware of the wars, start hanging out with more people. Start a war of your own, even.

[i[doing one topside crime could deny you anyone topside as a future RP ally[/i]

Mixside too.

I agree with HolyChrome, this sounds like a CP exit rather than a move to retire and re-brand.