"Hope and possibility are nothing but fleeting dreams glimpsed at the doorstep of this nothingness. Illusions that offer no comfort. They lead people astray and create meaningless conflict."
"But even so...!"
SRT MOO is not meant to be a theme of endless grinding misery, but conversely, bad people need to be able to do bad things in order to clarify the stakes of the world and create interesting tension.
While the cooldown on plots where "something really horrible happens" will exist, it is unlikely to be enforced too terribly stringently, and 'something really horrible' only counts successes. Certainly, if the game runs for the better part of a decade, you can expect incidents and accidents, possibly in a quantity you cannot count on your fingers.
Accordingly, you can reasonably expect bad things to be attempted. Some of them will even succeed.
Care and Aesthetic Right-of-Way
We have a pretty wide mix of themes, due to the nature of the source material. Some of them treat fighting in populated or otherwise fragile locales as a mostly-ignorable element that enables cute set design; others treat it as a grave action with a high human cost. Needless to say, reconciling these stances takes care and effort, because we don't really want to call either mode of play invalid. With that in mind, we're going to lay out the way staff-run content will generally operate and some expectations on how to treat each other fairly.
The fundamental question of whether NPCs are passively endangered by a robot fight (i.e., you firing your beams and throwing people in the city is itself a risky action that you should treat with IC care) is answered by: has someone else, as part of the diegesis, made this their problem instead?
In areas of the setting heavily informed by brighter themes, like Nouvelle Tokyo or AEU Britain, the answer is often yes. Shows depict clear, functional evacuation procedures and other forms of care-that-saves-lives as simple facts of life. That doesn't necessarily mean that treating the scenery as a fun thing to break because you're big isn't a bad guy move, but it does mean that you can stress less about the ponderous weight of every action you take. Throw each other around, get tossed into buildings. It's cool and fun and the set dressing is neat.
In areas of the setting informed by darker themes, like Area 11 or a lot of space colonies, the answer is often no. Shows depict local governments that either do not have the resources to perform this type of maintenance (because someone further up the chain didn't care), do not have the care to perform this type of maintenance, or perform it only selectively for lives they see as 'worthy.' In contexts like these, heroism requires treating the world with some degree of active care -- posing stepping around the buildings or actively worrying about what's underfoot. (Conversely, people may pose pointedly not worrying about these things, and then deal -- or not -- with the consequences.)
Compare the care the Anti Earth-Union Group performs in Universal Century Gundam, actively plugging holes in colonies caused by fights, to cases like Code Geass's rockslides and highway bridge purges caused by protagonist and antagonist alike. In both cases, the locales at issue are ones where care comes at a premium; the moral questions about acting, however, become thornier the less the people surrounding the action perform that type of care without the need for PC intervention.
Sometimes, however, a plot needs a particular location where the typical care valence doesn't necessarily match the plot's own aesthetic. This is fine and inevitable, but ultimately drives at the question in much the same way as location-based care does. If the plot's aesthetic hinges on a cool, high-test robot fight in a given location but shouldn't really have the dire question of civilian life at issue, don't try to drag it down into that space. Conversely, if the plot does require grave threat and the weight of life, respect that rather than demanding the plot part around it. .
It doesn't take a lot of effort to add those types of little things to your poses -- things like going out of your way to right an evacuating truck before counterattacking or waiting a little longer for a firing solution to avoid endangering someone -- if you want to participate in that type of heavier content and not be the one placing lives at issue. It does a great job of making those situations feel more nuanced and real and textured, though.
Good Faith Effort
If someone is making a good faith effort to demonstrate care about the world and its denizens, treat them as doing so. If people say they're trying to avoid cockpit and reactor shots, treat them accordingly; if people say their particular complicated flavor of armed intervention is being used in a nonlethal way, don't insist that people would logically have to die from it.
We discourage "gotcha" types of behaviors regarding this. 'Oh, you plugged the hole in the colony, but did you consider the transportation modules!!' is a little mean-spirited to do, as a DM. We will treat good-faith efforts at performing care in the spirit in which they are meant, and encourage scenerunners to do the same.
We are a genre with a disproportionately large amount of young PCs. We are also a hard-PG-13-to-soft-R genre where bad things happen a lot. This is a tension point for a lot of people!
We ask that people playing young PCs do so with care; the amount of stomach people have for really dire things happening to children varies. This is not something where a hard and fast rule exists, for the same reason as no hard-and-fast rule exists on how dire it is to fight in a city. Different shows approach things differently; some, like the Evangelion Series, place these characters' struggles front and center, while others, like the Brave Series, reserve their pain for dramatic moments.
If you're apping a young PC, think about ways in which you might adjust your speed for other people's comfort proactively.
Factional Tones and Guiding Questions
Different factions, likewise, have different tones, different core questions, and different takes on those questions. What follows is a breakdown of the sorts of questions best explored in each faction. Note that not all these factions are expected to last forever.
- Are we doomed to do this forever?
- If so, how do we make it less bad? Can we?
- If not, how do we stop it?
Groups Trending Antagonistic
- Britannian Forces
- How do we make our peace with the world as it is?
- Can a racist system even be saved in the first place?
- How much do one person's contributions matter?
- REA Forces
- How far should we go for the sake of progress?
- Who makes an acceptable sacrifice?
- Does making war "safer" for civilians justify making it radically worse on its participants?
- How far should we go for the sake of progress?
- Is a world that hurts so many even worth living in?
- Let's be honest: BioNet is really about not asking these questions, because they're hard, and being selfish is -- conversely -- very easy indeed.
- At what point do we admit we lost?
- Can we achieve meaningful change through conflict at all?
- In the face of an enemy that hates your existence, is it acceptable to hate their existence back?
Groups Trending Neutral
- AEU and OAC Forces
- When we share a system with someone larger and more belligerent than we are, are the benefits of mutual aid worth their costs?
- How do we live up to our obligations without being used and discarded?
- OCU Forces
- Is appeasement worthwhile?
- If a system like the Federation doesn't even protect its own members from each other, is it even worth it to stay?
- Do external threats like the PLANTs change the calculus?
- Black Knights
- What is the cost of wishing the world was different?
- When protecting the things we care about, how much is too much?
- Celestial Being
- Is sheer power enough to stop people from fighting?
- Can we trust that seemingly disparate actions will add up to something?
Groups Trending Protagonistic
- Londo Bell
- Can we thread the needle between protecting the Earth Sphere and oppressing it?
- Is an autonomous corps inherently authoritarian?
- Nergal Heavy Industries
- Can we balance obligations to others and our own freedom?
- Is there such a thing as righteousness in battle?
- When the alternative to sacrifice is annihilation, how do we choose our sacrifices?
- Is it worth it to go for long odds on something better, or accept an outcome more painful, but more likely to succeed?
- Shuffle Alliance
- How do we stop the Earth Sphere from giving in to all its worst impulses?
- When we can see how bad everything is, how do we choose what needs fixing the fastest?
- If we aren't accountable to anyone but ourselves, how do we stop ourselves from becoming the villains?