Is Black Mark the 2e stand-in for prejudice?

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ICU2 ICU2's picture
Is Black Mark the 2e stand-in for prejudice?

Normally, Black Mark is for something you did, but can it also be for something you simply are?

For example, can Black Mark be used as a general reflection of prejudice such as:
* Uplifts or AGIs taking Black Mark with Bioconservatives and/or Jovians.
* "Uncle Tom" Uplifts or AGIs with the Hypercorp faction taking Black Mark with Mercurials.
* Characters with almost any inner system (or the Extropian) faction taking Black Mark with Anarchists.
* Almost anyone not Exhuman taking Black Mark with Exhumans, and similarly, but perhaps to a lesser degree, with the Black Mark Ultimates for anyone that is not Ultimate.

As a second point, there seem to be some factions that are more likely to spawn as the subject of Black Mark if they can be based simply for what a character is as opposed to something they've done. A great many characters I have seen in 1e would qualify for Black Mark with Bioconservatives, Exhumans, Jovians, and/or Ultimates. Is this appropriate use of Black Mark, or is it just taking free points?

Quantronic Drea... Quantronic DreamViolence's picture
I feel like the big question

I feel like the big question of whether Black Mark is cheesy or not is if the GM says so.

At the end of the day most Inner Sphere Firewall and Criminal groups are rarely, if ever, going to suffer for having a Black Mark with Jovians after all.

Otherwise there's specific calls out to prejudice in social modifiers and I'd personally argue that, outside of really big stuff like 'no AGI's with Jovians' most of the factions are a bit too broad to have a black mark justified just by how an ego exists.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
Quantronic DreamViolence

Quantronic DreamViolence wrote:

At the end of the day most Inner Sphere Firewall and Criminal groups are rarely, if ever, going to suffer for having a Black Mark with Jovians after all.


I have to think that most Firewall and Criminal character will rarely suffer for having any type of Black Mark, at least so long as the fake ID holds up. If the fake ID fails, then they already have plenty to suffer for.

I do actually wonder why so many social traits tied to the ego (Allies, Blacklisted, Black Mark, Contact, Enemy, etc.) exist in a game where the presumption is that characters spend much of their time not being themselves. This goes for their non-fake ID-linked Rep scores too.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
ICU2 wrote:I do actually

ICU2 wrote:
I do actually wonder why so many social traits tied to the ego (Allies, Blacklisted, Black Mark, Contact, Enemy, etc.) exist in a game where the presumption is that characters spend much of their time not being themselves. This goes for their non-fake ID-linked Rep scores too.

I think the idea is that the players do spend a significant amount of the time being themselves. They're secret agents not in the sense that they're pretending to be someone else, but in the sense that they keep their participation in Firewall a secret. The way I handle fake ego IDs in my game is that they're primarily for dealing with the authorities: so if the anarchist firewall agent is trying to egocast to Mars, they'll use their fake ego ID to pass customs without getting harassed or leaving a paper trail, but if they run into some Barsoomians, they'll use the @-rep linked to their actual ego to convince them they're legit.

Dany40 Dany40's picture
And dont forget that Fake ID

And dont forget that Fake ID is like anyrhing else : It works until you attract atttention !
A cerebral scan.... bye bye the fake ID :)

Eclipse Phase french fan and Gamemaster until 2014

ICU2 ICU2's picture
So the idea of playing

So the idea of playing undercover agents is really a sham then? Are agents expected to burn through fake ID's all the time? How stupid do we have to assume governments are to not put things together when the same band of misfits from all over the system keep showing up together in the vicinity of anything weird going down? If the PCs can figure such things out, then organizations with far more resources should be able to do so too. Yet somehow Firewall maintains some degree of deniability (barely, and not even that in truth) even when their agents should be getting flagged all the time.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
Dany40 wrote:And dont forget

Dany40 wrote:
And dont forget that Fake ID is like anyrhing else : It works until you attract atttention !
A cerebral scan.... bye bye the fake ID :)

I don't think that's how it works. Look at the "Complications" section on page 298. There's no universal system-wide ID system, so if you egocast to a habitat under a fake ID, as far as the authorities are concerned that is your ID. So if you get ego scanned, or your nanotat ID is read, the fake ID is the one that comes up. Unless the organization scanning you has enough resources/power to access not just that habitat's records, but the records of every hab in the system.

ICU2 wrote:
Are agents expected to burn through fake ID's all the time?

Potentially. Pivo's (page 97) backstory/character synopsis references getting a steady supply of new fake IDs from Firewall.

ICU2 wrote:
How stupid do we have to assume governments are to not put things together when the same band of misfits from all over the system keep showing up together in the vicinity of anything weird going down?

As far as local governments know, it's not the same band of people every time. More powerful organizations like Oversight or whatever the Titanian CIA is called probably have more of a clue, but local "beat cops" so to speak probably have no idea. And AFAIK the lore is both of those organizations are aware Firewall exists. IMO Firewall is probably considered more of an open secret within the intelligence community.

Either way, no amount of fake IDs is gonna save the sentinels if they get caught by the authorities, just like secret agents IRL. The main defense a secret agent has is just not drawing the attention of the authorities. They're secret agents because their activities are secret, not because their identities are secret. The James Bond style secret agent who blows up entire buildings and gets away with it because "secret identity" is pretty unrealistic.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
I was responding to the idea

I was responding to the idea of characters pulling on their true identity rep scores. If they do this, then it should be astoundingly easy to identify them. If it's not, then how do the rep scores not get scammed all the time.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
ICU2 wrote:I was responding

ICU2 wrote:
I was responding to the idea of characters pulling on their true identity rep scores. If they do this, then it should be astoundingly easy to identify them. If it's not, then how do the rep scores not get scammed all the time.

I'm not sure if I'd say it's astoundingly easy, given the non-locality of mesh interactions and the sheer volume of traffic someone would have to sort through to find the information, but it's certainly possible. The book itself mentions that on page 306:

Quote:
It is important to note that reputation is closely tied to identity. If you are undercover and using a fake ID, you take the risk of giving yourself away if you call upon your normal Rep score. You can try to minimize this by using the rules for Keeping Quiet ▶ above. However, if anyone is sniffing your mesh activity, you may be found out.

The first edition book also says on page 289:

Quote:
Note that since many social network interactions take place online, it is possible for someone to secretly make use of their real identity while masquerading as someone else, as long as they’re careful about it. If anyone happens to be spying on their activity via the mesh, they stand a chance of being found out.

Is using your real ego rep great opsec? Not really. But it's probably good enough to not get caught unless the authorities are actively looking for you. And if Firewall wants better opsec they should start paying their agents instead of forcing them to rely on their own resources ;)

ICU2 ICU2's picture
Good points. That 1e stuff

Good points. That 1e stuff helped. I also agree that Firewall needs to back their agents better, especially with quality fake ID's that protect both the agent and Firewall itself.

Dany40 Dany40's picture
@chaos_forge

@chaos_forge

I totally agree with you... I misspoke my idea.
I meant that a false identity is only reliable if you are careful not to attract too much attention.
If we attract the attention of authorities or organizations with large resources, the brain scan puts you in a database of suspicious people that the entire organization can have as resources.....

Eclipse Phase french fan and Gamemaster until 2014

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
Dany40 wrote:I meant that a

Dany40 wrote:
I meant that a false identity is only reliable if you are careful not to attract too much attention. If we attract the attention of authorities or organizations with large resources, the brain scan puts you in a database of suspicious people that the entire organization can have as resources.....

Agreed. I definitely think that firewall agents mostly rely on not drawing too much attention.