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Proposal Limit the availability of the "Gutter" language.

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by Hunter Martin, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. Hunter Martin

    Hunter Martin Bartender

    Details

    Alright, got it: Gutter is a complicated and messy - possibly even coded - language devised on Pluto by for the purpose of confusing authorities and obfuscating information; It's not just walking up to a street corner and asking for some of the "Devil's Dandruff", or identifying an e-mag because you know a guy who knew a guy who is from a family who worked with the people who make them. Criminals could plan a whole heist in front of the Head of Security, and he would have no idea what they were talking about. They could write an entire ledger detailing every thaler they stole and throat they slit, and it'd probably just look like chicken scratch.

    Despite this, literally every human background (I cannot speak for the Xenos) can select it as a an optional language.
    • Plutonian contractor born and raise, with residence on Pluto with a security record longer than the trip from one end of a deck to the other as a Grav-Adapted with no athletics skill and a dufflebag?
    • Friendly Tritonian Chaplain?
    • Wizened Fleet Chief Medical Officer from Mars?
    • Eighteen-year-old Lunar upper-classer in the Expeditionary Corps?
    They can speak it.

    This means that it is not a useful tool as there is the potential for literally anyone aboard the Torch to understand it, and it is not representative of culture or upbringing in a crime-heavy area as anyone could know it.

    Proposal
    Restrict Gutter's availability to the following.
    Required:
    • Pluto background.
    Optional:
    • Venusian Surfacer, Martian Tunneler, and Belter (Ceres) cultures.
    • Plutonian and Ceres residences.
    These backgrounds fit fairly logical criteria, wherein they are all from the Sol System, Xenophobic and/or insular, and are explicitly stated as having prominent, organized, crime, and factors that could have led to it. Therefore, the language would sensibly have only spread with those who would use it best, where they would sensibly bring it: Obscure spaces where the government isn't looking within a general system of influence

    Benefits
    In my eyes, it's a good move for atmosphere and roleplay. As-is, its an odd fit that a language denoting a criminal upbringing or background would be so commonplace as, to paraphrase Spookerton, "Magical Universal Crimespeak."

    Knowing it is a significant trait in and of itself, where those speaking it could logically be held to greater scrutiny. Rather than someone knowing it just because they listened to a rap album with a Parental Advisory sticker on it, it has the proper amount of sketchiness around it. Yes, a member of law enforcement or one in a position of authority may still learn this code designed to elude them, but how is now a larger factor in it than "oh, you just pick it up on an old Rosetta Stone CD over a weekend."

    Oh, you can also use it more for it's intended purpose without worrying that the mild-mannered researcher passing by fell asleep watching
    Narcos while a podcast about Al Capone was playing in the background and therefore knows the entire language down to the verb conjugations.
     
    mdhttr, Jovaniph, Albens and 10 others like this.
  2. Wmeacham

    Wmeacham Bartender

    As someone who loves speaking ALL the Languages, YAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSS!
     
  3. flying_loulou

    flying_loulou Senior Enlisted Advisor

    This thread's about Gutter, not spacer.
     
    YodaDoge likes this.
  4. Hunter Martin

    Hunter Martin Bartender

    Spacer is an option from every background. The only languages that are restricted are Selenian, Species-Specific, or Antagonists.
     
  5. Albens

    Albens Sol Gov Pilot

    holy shit did I just read "gutter" and get it confused with "spacer"
    Man I was tired.
     
  6. SpineWeaver

    SpineWeaver Bartender

    Good idea, it does seem a little odd everybody can potentially learn to speak it
     
  7. MadMurky

    MadMurky Bartender

    Yeah, I've never been a fan of the fact that my Upper Crust Selenian One Percenter can just know Gutter.
     
  8. Hunter Martin

    Hunter Martin Bartender

    The issue isn't even that a lot of fancy people can speak fluent Gangsterese, it's that most backgrounds are the equivalent of a walk down the street from the planet equivalent of the Pentagon (Mars, the Fleet).
     
    Roth likes this.
  9. lavillastrangiato

    lavillastrangiato Bartender

    In this case, could Gutter potentially become a whitelisted language? Examples being if your character was actually from the downtrodden districts of Luna or Ceti and had a long background in crime but wasn't from Pluto or other mentioned cultures, you could make an app for it. (The obvious question being who would moderate this.)
     
  10. Hunter Martin

    Hunter Martin Bartender

    I'm sure it would fall under the same rules as alien languages, where you just write an application for it (humans speaking Skrell, Vox, etc). A whitelist for the language specifically would be pretty unnecessary.

    "I'm trying to sound tough, but I walk in to a smokey room and go 'How do you do, fellow criminals? Boy, would I love to commit a felony, yo.'"
     
  11. Deadmon_Wonderland

    Deadmon_Wonderland Game Administrator Unathi Species Maintainer Laser Tag 2019 Participant

  12. flying_loulou

    flying_loulou Senior Enlisted Advisor

    I mean the PR totally isn't what this thread suggests :
    The thread suggests that gutter becomes a mandatory language for Pluto, and an optionnal language for Venusians, Martians and Belters (mainly Ceres).

    Instead the PR is making gutter a dialect from Pluto, just like Selenian is a dialect from Luna, which is even more restrictive.

    I'm personnaly against it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
  13. I'm not a fan of Gutter being a requirement for being from Pluto. Not everyone from there is a criminal, and while its wiki page does say "pretty much" everyone on Pluto knows gutter, there are exceptions. While Gutter is universally a criminal language, it is not very likely for people in more developed worlds to use such a crude tongue, even in criminal affairs. Personally, the PR looks good to me.
     
  14. mkalash

    mkalash Donator

    Gutter is not a criminal language. Gutter is a catch-all to represent underclass (e.g., urban poor) dialects. Criminals happen to use it, just for the fact that a lot of criminals are from the underclass. Don't quote the Pluto page at me, I don't care what it says. Limiting characters even more than they already are for the purpose of making specifically Pluto more unique is bad and dumb.
     
    flying_loulou and RustingWithYou like this.
  15. Hunter Martin

    Hunter Martin Bartender

    Do you know what language the underclass of a society use?
    That society's language.
    A poor Lunar native probably speaks Selenian. Poor Martian in an Asian neighborhood? Yangyu. A poor Skrell would speak Skrellian.

    Languages spread with people. Poor people aren't going to be able - or if they could, it wouldn't be the most practical economic choice - to just buy a ticket or shuttle and jet set around the known universe to spread it. Even then, I don't see why Earthling, Plutonian, Terran, and Spacer, poor would share a language, nor have the means to make a Poor Fella's Dictionary, or update it in a meaningful way that all could access it.
     
    Roth and SgtManGuy like this.
  16. Subosovitch

    Subosovitch Bartender

    Theres a few that arent in the PR where it makes pretty much a lot of sense to have it though:
    Theres a strong case for:
    Martian Tunnlers - they got a underground mafia in lore and hate upsiders
    Venusian Surfacers - literally "and much of the surface of Venus finds itself rife with organised crime, separatist groups and other criminal organisations." in the lore blop.
    Belter, Ceres - basically the origin of said language aside Pluto.

    There could be a argued point for Lower Luna too. Theres a vague leaning for even Ceti as its a planet sized city.
    Gutter being so well taken is more a issue with people having either a strong bias towards thiefs-cant like characters or simply powergame it. They can easly pick other humanity with no issues and still say the're from X and Z as neither can be exactly checked much.

    It probably would need, if at all, enforcement to play consistent characters but how are you going to check that?
    Consistency would be to not play a rich and non-related character with no ties to any underground have it because you could choose so from a menu.
     
    flying_loulou likes this.
  17. Monimus

    Monimus Game Administrator

    Anyone can learn any language though, for whatever reason. Maybe I’m off-base, but I just don’t see the issue here.

    I think character creation should be an open process without too many restrictions, and that we should trust players to be reasonable in their character creation. If something totally absurd and ludicrous comes up, that’s where staff-members and even to an extent community-members can play a role in correcting that, and guiding people to something more appropriate. I honestly can’t think of an instance where somebody has spoken Gutter and I’ve gone “that is totally unrealistic”, though.

    So yeah, leaving aside the point of how languages form and develop (because I know nothing about this), I suppose I’m naturally against this for the aforementioned reason of wanting to allow players as wide a range of options as possible when creating characters. I’m sure people will disagree with me on that though, and that’s okay.

    That said, however this goes, I’m not massively fussed either way. I honestly don’t see people speak Gutter that much anyway.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
  18. mkalash

    mkalash Donator

    Go into an urban environment and strike up a conversation with a man on the street. Tell me that they don't have their own way of speaking. Yes, it's English, but I guarantee you won't understand every word out of their mouth.

    Gutter has been fluffed for ages as, not a language, but a pidgin dialect with no origin and spoken differently by people of different tongues. A random, unmoderated, throwaway wiki page for Pluto shouldn't be able to steal that for the sake of overfluffing everything.
     
  19. Cheb Pomidorov

    Cheb Pomidorov Petty Officer First Class

    I throw my full support behind the last two posts. It's not within the realm of implausibility for any character to learn Gutter, as long as it's adequately explained. It's just a language. It's certainly unusual for people of kinder backgrounds, but not something I'd be happy to restrict. Leave Gutter alone, let people select whatever language they want.
    Skrellian and similar languages, for non-Skrell, requires a whitelist both because it's mostly restricted to the Skrell species and because the sounds are unusual and hard for a non-Skrell to produce (and completely impossible to produce accurately, given physiology). Gutter fits neither of these characteristics, at least for Humans (which seem to be the main focus here).

    Please do not restrict the potential for character quirks, oddities and shady backstories. Don't restrict divergence and deviance from the norm, it adds to the flavour and allows for more colourful characters. If someone wants to play a noble Upper Class Lunan, they may do so, and not use Gutter. If they want to play an Upper Class Lunan who engaged in shady deals and had a history of crime, they may do so, perhaps by including Gutter as one of their languages.

    A very critical point, if Gutter is restricted, is that people will need to apply for it. This is problematic beyond just the hassle of writing a forum application.
    As you know, in order to get the application accepted, you need to adequately explain how the language would be relevant to your character, and how they might've learned it. Forum posts are public, and visible to everyone. The result? Suddenly your carefully-crafted shady backstory isn't so shady anymore, now that it's a secret to nobody. This is probably my main reason for criticising this proposal.

    Please don't gut Gutter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
    MegaMax1000 likes this.
  20. Hunter Martin

    Hunter Martin Bartender

    Gutter: Criminal Code:
    You make a club. To defend against that club, I make a shield. To pierce the shield, you make a spear. To out-range the spear, I develop a bow and arrow; so on and so forth.
    Law enforcement can speak Prototype Standard Arabic, Iberian, Pan-Slavic, sign language, Selenian. Surveillance is better than ever, and there's about nowhere to run in the orbitals or planet-side lean-tos of Pluto's surface. Maybe it's not Pluto, and instead the tunnels of Mars or surface of Venus which lie beneath the noses of heavy traffic and government establishments, even if they aren't so frequented. In that case, a language that's purposely difficult to learn and isn't shared with those it's not beneficial to is a major step in a criminal arms-race. The moment it gets a box of flashcards with vocab words and everyone from Plutonian kingpins to Ceti Epsilonian tax-evaders to the sleazy guy on Luna who sells study-buddies to students, it's lost it's purpose. It's a dull blade, and it's being used to combat law enforcement that spans systems.
    In Summary: Why would criminals bother with a secret language that the cops know?

    Gutter: The Mother Tongue

    With this interpretation, it's the official language of an area, as German is to Germany, or Portuguese is to Brazil. It's fine if it would be spoken in a poor or criminal-ridden area, but it would not make sense if it was a standard. Impoverished communities are within areas, so you couldn't have a shanty-town or ghetto unless it was, say, a French shanty town, or an English shanty town. In that sense, wouldn't these communities just speak. . . that region's language? Is there a reason that an individual in a poor Asian neighborhood would speak Gutter over the Yangyu that their neighbors, boss, government, and commercials speak? Would a fellow in a fellow in a poor Indian neighborhood have a reason to abandon New Dehlavi in favor of a language that would allow them to speak with more poor people? How would this language spread across the galaxy if it's users might not be able to afford a trip to work?
    In Summary: Why not just speak one of the Mother Tongues?

    Gutter: The Lingua Franca
    This's a short one: You want a crude language that anyone can speak? That's Spacer. Do you want to order Unathi BBQ, haggle with a trader, and tell a Vox to go fuck themselves? Well, you could learn Sinta'unathi, Iberian (there's an oddly common amount of traders who speak Iberian), and Vox-Pidgin. . . or you could use Spacer. Sure, it'll be garbled, they might not understand most of it, but importantly: They'll get the gist of it. In comparison, Gutter would be a rougher, regional version of the already rough, region-less alternative.
    In Summary: Why not just speak Spacer?

    Summarizing the Summaries: Unless it becomes restricted and better defined, Gutter is redundant, and simply bloats the already fairly lengthy list of languages that we have which go underutilized, or underappreciated.
     
    Wmeacham, Shadowtail117 and Jovaniph like this.