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Gank & Hostage Situations

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Gank is defined as the act of attacking or killing another player with no interaction or roleplay leading up to it.


This definition unfortunately leaves a lot to the imagination, thus creating many gray areas and resulting in numerous player complaints. Following our last staff meeting on the 18th of April, we tried to shed some light on what is and is not considered gank.


Neutralizing another character without roleplay is allowed /only/ under the following circumstances:

 

  • The character in question is a physical threat to you (he is armed or can be reasonably expected to be armed) and catches you in an illegal or otherwise compromising act.
  • The character in question fails to comply with your demands (for example, he yells for security over his headset despite being aimed at and told to remain silent).

 

Characters that do not fall under the above parameters are to be interacted and roleplayed with until they fail to comply or become threats. Players found to be constantly over-escalating force will see disciplinary action taken against them, adjusted according to the severity of the offense.

 



 

The main point of debate in this thread is in regards to hostages, or, more specifically, resisting in a hostage situation. Should a player who is in possession of a weapon and not restrained be allowed to attempt to take down his captor if the opportunity arises, or should he be OOCly constrained to comply outside of exceptional circumstances?


Let's consider some examples.


Example situation one:

You are a security officer who gets held up by an antagonist. You are armed, you have a tazer on your belt. You think you may have a chance to take down the antagonist. You go for your tazer and engage the antagonist. Obviously, the antagonist, at this point, can kill you without any further emotes or say's involved. Whoever wins, wins (the main argument being, if the antagonist was truly in control of you and the situation, you'd die. Horribly).


Example situation two:

Same setup, you're a sec officer, armed, you walk up to an antagonist and you have a weapon on your person, easily accessible. However, the rules now dictate that you must comply with the orders, at least, on the count of not being able to directly retaliate. You can try and run, but going for your weapon is off limits.


If the targeted crew member is in a non-combat role, has no combat training, but happens to be armed and/or attempts to outrobust the antag, they will be investigated under the clause of powergaming.


Which of these examples do you find ideal, and why?

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I believe a fun and satisfying roleplay environment should minimize plot armor as much as possible. Is there anything that we gain from artificially preventing hostages from defending themselves if they so wish?

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The first scenario is incredibly powergamey, offers less chance for RP interaction, and is equally as bad as downing the antag on sight when he has a hostage. No server under heavy roleplay (that's what we still are, right?) should ever encourage it, or even allow it.

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If someone has a gun pointed at the officer and there is no third party present to intervene, and the officer cannot reliably, within their power and ability, reach for their weapon and pacify the armed suspect without being shot to death, I would expect them to comply with their captor and do as they say in order to avoid being shot.


Just think of what a cop would do if they get the barrel of a gun jabbed into their gut and they can't reach for their weapon. Would they go for their holster? No, because they would be shot if they tried going for their gun. Unholstering a weapon is not a quick nor a subtle movement.


If you're in a situation where you're caught off guard, continue being caught off guard. If you're an open engagement field, then engage. Have fun.

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The first scenario is incredibly powergamey, offers less chance for RP interaction, and is equally as bad as downing the antag on sight when he has a hostage. No server under heavy roleplay (that's what we still are, right?) should ever encourage it, or even allow it.

In real life, hostage situations are effective because the hostage-taker is in a position where they are able to exert force against the hostage, and thus use that threat as a method of coercion.


Thus, an antag creating a valid hostage situation should be able to create some sort of believable threat they are able to enforce against their hostage. Why is an additional, hard-OOC measure necessary on top of that? I'm looking for the full explanation here, because I believe debating this issue requires us to analyze the situation in more depth than "resisting against your captors is powergaming".

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The first scenario is incredibly powergamey, offers less chance for RP interaction, and is equally as bad as downing the antag on sight when he has a hostage. No server under heavy roleplay (that's what we still are, right?) should ever encourage it, or even allow it.

In real life, hostage situations are effective because the hostage-taker is in a position where they are able to exert force against the hostage, and thus use that threat as a method of coercion.


Thus, an antag creating a valid hostage situation should be able to create some sort of believable threat they are able to enforce against their hostage. Why is an additional, hard-OOC measure necessary on top of that? I'm looking for the full explanation here, because I believe debating this issue requires us to analyze the situation in more depth than "resisting against your captors is powergaming".

 

Because the Aurora I remember has strictly frowned upon scenario 1 happening. I've been the "officer" (really, detective, makes it even worse) in that situation and it was shitty for everyone. Skull told me off, yada yada, and I thought it was already pre-established that scenario 1 was terrible. This thread hints that it is not...


Anyhow, hard-OOC measures. This game is based off clicking to win. Unless your hostage-taker goes the extra mile and stuns you and cuffs you (which, depending on the situation, could be gank itself. You just popped out of nowhere and stunned them? Yeah, not good), you are in a position where you can click to win. Clicking to win is not fun on roleplaying server. Yes, a good chunk of the community recognizes this and will not click to win, but an equally good chunk will grab whatever weapon they have on them, or even disarm intent and click away at Mr. Syndicate.


Unless you want antagonists to gank, there needs to be some kind of insurance that they won't be insta-stunned when they try to take hostages that don't actively have a tool of self-defense in their hands. Like Delta said, if I'm pointing a gun at you, you shouldn't be able to reach into your holster/belt and pull out your stun weapon. You would get shot just for trying that. If I were a nuke op, I'd be dissatisfied if I saw my target, crawled out of the dark towards them, drew my SMG on them, went "Hey little thing, what'chu doin' all by yourse-", and the target in question immediately pulled out a tazer from their belt, spamshot me with it, harmbattoned me while I'm down, cuffed me, and screamed 'I GOT THE NUKE OP!' on the sec radio. It's entirely detrimental to roleplay and has no excuse.

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I agree. In the situation there are people who would try to be heroes. I think that making a hard limit on how you're allowed to respond to that situation really funnels the play style and leaves no real options but to surrender or get shot for talking on the radio. A lot of people might try to go for the "power gamey", or as I like to see it, the " survival-at-all-costs" method but just because it doesn't have say or me in the scenario doesn't mean it isnt roleplay. Sometimes roleplay is purely action packed and fast paced. Other times it's slow and involves a lot of obvious movement. Yes, balds and powergamers would do something like that. Doesn't mean proper role players wouldn't.


I've been told I was playing the wrong way before and this only reinforces "we want you to play out your role like this" mentality and allows little in the way of options and as I like to see it, fun. Sometimes a nuke will be foiled, sometimes the hero dies. Just my opinion.

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Anyhow, hard-OOC measures. This game is based off clicking to win. Unless your hostage-taker goes the extra mile and stuns you and cuffs you (which, depending on the situation, could be gank itself. You just popped out of nowhere and stunned them? Yeah, not good), you are in a position where you can click to win. Clicking to win is not fun on roleplaying server. Yes, a good chunk of the community recognizes this and will not click to win, but an equally good chunk will grab whatever weapon they have on them, or even disarm intent and click away at Mr. Syndicate.

You bring up a valid point. I remember a situation early in my time here where a small lady doctor robusted the warden, stole a hardsuit, and proceeded to fight off 3-4 members of security alone using the contents of the armory. It was a rev round, but granted it was not very realistic to see someone breaking character to that extent (people recruited into the rev aren't trained syndie operators afaik.)


The thing is I really don't want to take away all chances somebody could have to resist. In some cases, some people can cleverly outsmart an opponent - and I'd hate to see that go.


However, you bring up two very important problems:

-The player attempting to roleplay is put at a disadvantage, mechanics-wise. Combat is won by ganks, pure and simple. And if you try to play nice and realistic with your hostages, and they decide to fight like crazy bald motherfuckers, more often than not they will beat you simply because you decided to roleplay.


-There are situations in which it'd make no sense whatsoever to be robust, yet people will try (random assistant stungloving a nuke op and stealing their gun). These can generally be filed away under bad RP or other existing rules, though.


So what do we make of problem number one? Because it seems like the most obvious solution for it would be to have a rule akin to "robusting someone while they're holding a gun at you is bad form". What sort of form would you like that rule to take, exactly?

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I believe a fun and satisfying roleplay environment should minimize plot armor as much as possible. Is there anything that we gain from artificially preventing hostages from defending themselves if they so wish?

No where in that post does it say that hostages can't defend themselves, it simply says don't cry if the hostage taker decides to kill you for it, like they easily would in reality.

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For the sake of fear RP as well as maintaining the value of preservation of self (which is sensible and practical for any roleplaying character to want to have, if not critical), it's nice to have people recognize you're the kind of person that recognizes when they can't do anything to regain control in a situation while also not dying, and so they decide that following the captor's instructions is within their best interest to live.


I mean, if you got a tangible, reasonable method of taking someone down who has a gun, go for it. If you succeed, well, good job, you took down the antag, though I can't guarantee they won't be frustrated. If you die, guess whose problem that is?


But, really, hostage situations boil down to this.


1. Captor acquires a resource in which they can take someone captive.

2. Captor blindsides/surprises a potential captive. If the captive complies, proceed to 3a. If the captive does not comply, proceed to 3b.

3a. Captive realizes that living is probably a good idea, and so they are taken captive.

3b. Captive attempts to resist the captor's attempt at being taken captive. Either they robust the antag (a lack of fearRP or otherwise, doesn't usually matter here, does it?) or they get shot. The end, at this point.

4. Assuming the captive complied, a situation is set up. Captor's put the captive in a place where it's close quarters and whatnot... Issue, here. What kind of environment do we have?

4a. Assuming the environment is close-quarters, no windows, only one way in. This is an okay spot if you don't plan on getting out from the hostage situation, such as staging a rather nonclandestine assassination or execution. This situation is okay if the antag doesn't plan on living. But otherwise, the antag has no way out.

4b. The environment is quite open, though the captor still has leverage. Responding officers might get geared up with sniper rifles in an attempt to take down the captor and extract the suspect. Either I.) Captor gets fukkin' sniped and completely dead, or II.) By complete utter luck or incompetence by security, the captor escapes and evades capture, or doesn't.

4c. This is the best case scenario and is not considered to be fully realistic. this is assuming the hostage taker is a pro and understands that with numbers, collects additional unpredictable variables that are thrown into the equation. Therefore, the hostage taker has several means at their disposal to deter a security response as well as abusing cover to avoid stray shots from picking them off. Hostage taker likely has a plan B, C, D, and onward to H for an escape scenario. As soon as the hostage taker gets what they want, they either release the hostage or execute them anyway as the hostage isn't particularly useful. They escape and avoid capture until the end of round.


Quite frankly, in order to become gooder at hostage taking, you need practice. You need to fail a lot in order to avoid failing in the future. You need strategy. You need a lot of street smarts and an ability to think and act on your tip-toes.


In essence, you must be robust. Robustness is not just a measure of strength, it is also a state of mind and a way of playing the game.


I cannot say much else on hostage taking except that you need to get gud in order to expect the best case scenarios for what you're committing to, and in the process, being able to be accountable for your failures and be a good fucking sport about it.


We're all here to learn to roleplay better and to have fun while doing it. Try not to kill that goal, folks.

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Here's kind of where my understandings my differ. First off, it should be acknowledged that hostages are very difficult to take. A thing I've noted while passively watching TV shows about crime, is that most kidnappings are either very violent, or very planned out. Effectively, if they're a spur of the moment thing, then they are extremely violent (the person gets physically subdued, deprived of any weapon, and then secured). If they're more engineered, then they most likely end in scenarios where the target has no chance of fighting back.


I personally have the sense that what people consider as a hostage taking in this game includes walking up to someone, holding a weapon up to them, and magically awaiting compliance. No. Whenever I've taken hostages a nuke operative, I roll in with in a fashion where the violence of my actions completely disarms the opponent. This basically means: I overwhelm them, stun them, cuff them, and now they are hostage who can't do shit to me. In more intricate scenarios, I've made sure that the hostage has no weapons they can use against me (holding someone up with a laser, with glass and space in between me and them: they either destroy the glass, and vent themselves, or they die to lasers).


if your intent is to take a hostage, and that hostage is your target, I think the antagonist should use force to subdue their target, and not simply rely on good faith and a pointed weapon to be enough. I do not think that expectation is realistic, roleplay or otherwise. As a hostage captor, there should exist no requirement for you to me, say anything or even give the opponent a chance to retaliate. Instead, the roleplay will come after the fact.


The second point is the situation. If you hold a gun up to me in an open hall. I am most likely going to run. I am going to take that chance, and run the fuck away. And I think everyone should have that option. If your objective is to capture someone, then it should be your duty to ensure that they cannot run way or escape, realistically. The situation is yours to engineer. And you should expect the hostage to resist, to plan for it.


This is, with regards to running away.


About fighting back? Yes, it is extremely easy for security to subdue an antagonist. The stun weaponry is relatively over powered when you compare it to lethals. Namely, let's talk about how quickly you can put someone down. Taser: 2.5 shots average. The C20r: 6 shots to incapacitate, 8 to kill. So, you can see the discrepancy. It is objectively easier for a security officer to nope the fuck away, even if he is placed into an engineered scenario where he should die, to resist and win. The issue isn't even spamclicking, it's just the difference in difficulty. But I still see as being able to fight back as a right most everyone should have in a hostage situation, under the assumption that if they die, they don't complain about it.


A side comment. I do enjoy seeing "heroes" die. Specially when they go up against fully geared nuke teams. I once saw a nuke squad dismantle a full security team who was trying to assault them, it was. Amazing.


Anyways. What the heck am I trying to say? Because, honestly, I lost my own train of thought as well, and started to ramble.

Basically:

  • Hostage takers should acknowledge the fact that hostages will resist, and that they need to rely on their efforts, not on the good will of the opponent, if they wish to actually accomplish their task.
  • In the case of resistance, any security member has a clear advantage over an antagonist armed with lethal arms, due to how tasers and stunbatons work.

 

In my opinion, point one is not an issue. That's how these things go, and should go, lest we start forcing situations and stamp behaviour onto people. Which, I don't think I want to do that. The second one is, though.


Ideas on whether or not my assessment is accurate, and proper?


ADDENDUM: this is added about folks who shouldn't be able to resist. Basically, if a scientist pulls a weapon from his ruck and blasts an antagonist. As already outlined, fun things like that will be grounds for reprimand regardless of how this debate ends. Because. Instances like that are usually very ridiculous.

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I would say that was accurate, Skull. Antagonists shouldn't expect to just win. If someone retaliates accordingly, they retaliate accordingly. Because a nuke gets upset that they didn't take the proper precautions to prevent a counter as they should as a professional operator that doesn't mean the other combatant should be reprimanded OOC.

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The C20r: 6 shots to incapacitate, 8 to kill. So, you can see the discrepancy. It is objectively easier for a security officer to nope the fuck away, even if he is placed into an engineered scenario where he should die, to resist and win.

 

Quick addendum. Burst-fire is your friend, as operative. As it fires three shots as one. Two bursts to incapacitate, three to kill. Not so much discrepancy as originally seen.


Plus ops have access to electrodes through their own energy rifles. They aren't limited to the CR20. Part of being a good antagonist is using your tools, all of your tools, to maximum advantage.

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I would say that was accurate, Skull. Antagonists shouldn't expect to just win. If someone retaliates accordingly, they retaliate accordingly. Because a nuke gets upset that they didn't take the proper precautions to prevent a counter as they should as a professional operator that doesn't mean the other combatant should be reprimanded OOC.

 

Unfortunately, however, as Skull already outlined in his second bulletpoint as a problem, security is expected to win and should typically win if the security player and the antag are both of equal skill. The combat system is not about who can kill who first without dying, it's whoever gets floored first, loses. Stun, cuff, brig, win.


It's a critical balance issue, really. In combat, security can and will overpower just about any antagonist thanks to how stuns work.

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I read that part. What's your point?


My point is that you should be preventing this counter. Not only had Jamini pointed out additional tools with a similar function but you do what you have to and you do what you deem necessary. If that means stun and cuff when you get the drop, you do it. If it means shooting them in the legs when you get the drop guess what? You fucking do it. There are no rules in the world of aggressive corporate sabotage.


It's far more balanced than people think. The SMG isn't your only weapon and there are a myriad of tools at your disposal. Use them.


Quoting the Army on combat adversity, "Survive. Adapt. Overcome."

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There are no rules in the world of aggressive corporate sabotage.

 

This is very true.


Nothing as operative stops you from building stungloves, stealing an AED, or breaking into the outpost to make chloral hydrate either. Nor, honestly, will or should most staff talk to operatives for doing so. Let's not forget that a single EMP grenade can completely negate 90% of all security equipment by design (and outright kill IPCs or people with prosthetic hearts). The only really highly combat-effective tools that operatives cannot readily access and station staff can (like hyposprays, telebatons, fireaxes, etc) are generally limited to one or two instances and often restricted to headstaff. Station staff who are by default high-priority targets and often will find themselves in a lose-lose-lose situation against an operative team if they are forced to go head to head directly.

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No amount of ingenuity is going to stop security players from stunbaton rushing or using tasers in a live-fire combat scenario. They are cheap, effective ways to disable an opponent and require no real effort besides clicking.


It doesn't matter how many officers you've killed with CH-polyacid smoke grenades hidden in boxes with proxy sensors hooked up to them (which is hilarious, by the way, you should try it). A stun baton can and will end the rest of the antag shenanigans for anyone, especially nyuk ops, in less than a second.

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Exactly. Sorry, what was that? I can't hear your stunbaton over YOUR SHOT UP LEGS. YOINK. thx 4 free baton.
Well, just shooting them will. Stop that, that is.

This is why I love the burst fire feature on the Nuke Op SMG, as well as why I think rapid fire laser is best weapon. Oh sorry you wanted to rush me? Enjoy 12 shots at 20 brute each right to your chest, and your severe organ damage. Same goes for those terrible people who pick Security cyborgs explicitly on Nuke Rounds thinking "Muh baton rush gon mak me hero, rbust al nuke", boom boom blow up.

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