Appropriate escalation from non-violence into violence

Hey hey hey it’s me the berry here with the most important question this channel will ever receive

When is it appropriate to escalate a non-violent conflict into a violent one?


  • Assistant broke into cap’s office, stole an item, refuses to drop it and leave.
  • An atmos technician walks into atmos to find someone in a gas mask with no ID in atmos.
  • A security officer is attempting to unjustifiably arrest a bartender for creating moonshine.
  • A clown hops into botany and uses a spade to remove every single plant.

Assume that the killing party makes an attempt to get the killed party to medical. Both parties have no way of knowing if the other is an antag or not, and assume that in all cases there are no non-lethal alternatives. Assume as well that none of these people have violated any other rules (besides perhaps “don’t be a dick”, fuck you clown who removed my corn!)

All of these are situations that I have personally encountered in my time playing in the last two weeks and for each one I’ve seen people who believe that the case was either completely against the rules or was completely safe under the current rules.

The hope is that we can find some kind of generalized rule qualifying when it is appropriate to escalate conflict IC.

This is a difficult question to answer clearly. Naturally, almost every situation is different and has a degree of subjectivity to it, so the amount of force you may use against someone will proportionally vary. Different players may opt to use different levels of force, but that isn’t to say there is always one level of force that is appropriate to use in a given situation. I will try outline general guidelines that may be useful to determine if/when/how much force should be used against someone to resolve an IC conflict:

  1. If there is no immediate or clear danger to yourself or others, it is strongly preferred to meet a situation verbally first. Request the person stop what they’re doing, demand they leave, ask them what they’re doing, call security and see if they can resolve it. We understand security is not always willing or available and that troublemakers frequently decline to respond positively to verbal instruction, so this leads to…

  2. If the individual is non-compliant with verbal requests or commands, then dragging, moving, disarming, or otherwise trying to interfere directly with what they’re doing can be a next step. You can opt for this step first, but keep in mind someone who has a valid reason for being somewhere who has someone wordlessly walk up to them and try to drag them somewhere probably won’t take kindly to it. When this fails, or when it isn’t feasible, this leads to…

  3. If security hasn’t come to resolve it or isn’t available and they seemingly won’t stop what they’re doing or leave, you can start a fight with that person to encourage them to leave or be beaten up. Generally you may also immediately attack someone less-lethally if you or someone else is in significant danger or if the situation requires an immediate response due to the danger it is causing or could potentially cause.

  4. Escalation goes both ways. As you escalate, your opponent may escalate in turn. You can always opt to try and de-escalate or leave the area and come back with security, or stop your attack if they suddenly decide they want to leave.


Of course, everything here assumes knowledge of what you have laid out in your question. This assumes the crit or killed party is properly sent to medical, assumes neither are antagonists, assumes no other prior lawbreaking has happened, assumes there are no other non-lethal alternatives. Naturally knowledge/ignorance and presence/absence of these factors influences the best course of action.

These also assume that you are not readily breaking the law yourself and are in a place you are supposed to be to begin with. To try and boil it down as simply as possible, the above escalation rules would typically apply if you are protecting your department, protecting part of the station from damage or degradation, or you are otherwise protecting yourself or another crew member (so as long as you’re otherwise acting lawfully). Generally speaking, security is allowed to be in most station areas so as long as they are not actively causing disruption of normal, lawful workflow or activity (an exception to this would be sensitive areas such as the Bridge, Armory, or Head of Staff offices if they have no valid purpose for being there to begin with). If a head of staff takes issue with security being in a particular area they see over, it is an IC issue that should be brought up to the Head of Security or designee.


As for a general opinion on the scenarios you outlined:

1) Assistant steals something from the Captain’s office after breaking in, refuses to return it and leave.

In general you would probably want to get security involved with a bridge trespasser, especially one with something from the captain’s quarters. You could escalate with this person if you wanted, and you may possibly be justified IC if what you observed is what happened. It could also be considered a minor amount of vigilantism/valid hunting though, so I wouldn’t always opt to engage this hypothetical person even though the option is there.

2) Atmos tech finds an unknown person with no ID and a face covering in atmospherics

This is certainly alarming, but the evidence is circumstantial. This person could have a possible valid reason for being in atmospherics despite appearances. This is a situation that is strongly recommended to meet verbally, at minimum, before jumping straight to the infamous axe. Obviously if this person is messing with pipes or doing other dangerous activities, is armed, or otherwise does not comply with your demands, it would be highly recommended to contact security and/or other members of your department and escalate accordingly (including force if the situation seems to warrant it), especially if they refuse to leave.

3) Security is attempting to unjustifiably arrest a bartender

Generally speaking, unless security is clearly using excessive force , it would not be recommended to interfere with an arrest. Attacking security for doing their job (even if you believe it is some sort of non-crime) will generally get you in trouble IC (and OOC if it is habitual or particularly egregious). Players who interfere with security often (but not always) operate off of incomplete information. Interfering with an arrest, regardless of if you think it is lawful or not, tends to open you up to IC consequences. If you think someone is being arrested for no reason we would rather the situation is admin-helped so we can properly address the reasoning behind it instead of dealing in vigilante justice which generally lets the officer go unpunished from the admin side for instigating unwarranted arrests.

4) A clown hops the table into botany and begins intentionally hindering your progress

This would be something we’d probably like to know about via admin-help, but also mostly an IC issue unless the clown is going out of their way to be a complete arse. Understandably anyone would be frustrated if their work is intentionally hindered. I would say after a brief verbal engagement (ex: “what do you think you’re doing”) you can escalate to force as this player would appear to be intentionally trying to be disruptive.


To reiterate, these are guidelines and the totality of the situation should be taken into account by both players and administrators when deciding what to do.

A rule clarification supporting the original answer has been created to update this question to be compatible with the new system, which aims to support all answers with clarifications. I think it covers everything here that isn’t either an example or already very closely covered by rules, but if I missed something, feel free to contact me or freeman so it can be fixed.