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Corp as the good guys

 
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OSIAdept
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Corp as the good guys Reply with quote

Hey guys i am huge fan of the cyberpunk/post cyberpunk genres but one thing that always irks me they never portray the corps as good guys. I can understand why but i would like see different sometimes.

So my question is how do i portray this as a viable game option
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thudthwacker
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Joined: 28 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you especially care *what kind* of good guys? That is: are you more interested in *what* they're doing, or *why* they're doing it? As a concrete example: let's say there's a terrorist cell that is threatening a corporation's supply line, or even a larger terrorist organization that's threatening its market. I can see the corporation sending in a team to take them out, and while they would be acting as good guys, it could be for entirely pragmatic and selfish reasons.

If you're more invested in the corporate agents being personally virtuous, you could use a similar setup. The *corporation's* goal is to keep its market safe, but the best way to do that is to hire real-live heroes to do the work -- guys fighting for a cause will fight harder than guys fighting for a paycheck. And, the rubes, they'll often do it for a *smaller* paycheck! Still and all, you get good guys with corporate backing and contacts.
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thudthwacker
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, less pessimistically, you could posit a genuinely benevolent corporation. I mean, look at Henry Ford -- he paid his workers well because he recognized that a strong society (for example) was a society that would have more people in a position to buy his cars. Why not have a megacorp that thinks the same way? They expend a little effort and resources to keep society running smoothly, and in return they realize *much* better profits than they would if they were in a society that was falling apart around them.
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Xavier Onassiss
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Joined: 28 Feb 2012
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Location: Groombridge 34B, Marathon Free Station

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Corp as the good guys Reply with quote

OSIAdept wrote:
Hey guys i am huge fan of the cyberpunk/post cyberpunk genres but one thing that always irks me they never portray the corps as good guys. I can understand why but i would like see different sometimes.

So my question is how do i portray this as a viable game option


This is an option in the upcoming Terracide setting: Terran Galactic Operations is an interstellar corporate state, owned, operated, and governed by an employee-owned corporation. All of the citizen/employee/shareholders have full voting rights to the stock they own, and it's a far cry from the traditional "evil oppressive dystopian" corporation often depicted in post-cyberpunk stories.

As always, Bellisario's Maxim applies to all hypothetical science-fictional geopolitical structures. Especially mine. Wink
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Jordan Peacock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the R Talsorian Games "Cyberpunk" RPG, being a "Corp" was one of the core archetypes you could pick from. The "perk" for being a Corp was that you could occasionally call upon corporate resources -- but the implication was that you'd be more beholden to your employer, rather than being a "freelancer."

The thing is, in many games the "freedom" of being a freelancer is often illusory. In the "Daring Tales of the Sprawl" series, after all, the heroes are sent on specific adventures; there's no pretense of a "sandbox" setting to explore, or the pros and cons of taking jobs for this or that employer -- you just take the job you're given. So, I don't see much drawback for a game in which you are officially given your assignments by a corporate employer.

If anything, I see an opportunity for some conveniences. In many modern/near-future games, I've run into the occasional snag about the issue of money: In order for there to be much meaning for the heroes to save up and get better gear or better perks, they really should have some, and it should be a finite amount, so it really means a lot when the heroes complete a "big" mission and get a bigger paycheck as a reward. However, if this money pool represents ALL the money the heroes have, I might have to worry about nickel-and-diming expenses along the way.

If the heroes are on a mission for a corporation, however, a lot of that can be hand-waved. E.g., "Put it on the corporate card," or "I can expense this." Incidental things such as meals, transportation and reasonable tips just go "on the corporate card," with some assumed guidelines (can't get the steak and lobster every time without Accounting getting on your case!). For things such as mission-specific gear, the heroes might simply be *assigned* gear (especially if such things are manufactured by the mega-corporation) for each mission. For gear they want to purchase for personal use and use on the job, above and beyond that, they might get an "employee discount." Wink

In one game I was in (long ago), my character had points devoted to a specific skill for "requisitioning / bureaucracy" (I forget the exact skill name) that I occasionally used to try to make the case for additional gear useful to the mission. In Savage Worlds, this might be reflected with the "Connections" Edge (e.g., you have a friend in R&D who occasionally pulls strings to let you borrow prototypes for field testing -- as long as you never let them fall into rivals' hands, and promise to fill out a performance report afterward).

Anyway, I don't think there's anything inherently required about portraying corporate entities as evil. However, corporate entities as a whole should still be about business. The heroes might be on the payroll, fighting the good fight against hackers, vandals, saboteurs from rival corporations, terrorists, etc., but even they occasionally run afoul of bureaucratic red tape, office politics, budget cuts, and micro-managing supervisors who want to be seen to be "useful."

I see it as a great opportunity for borrowing from corporate life to add new twists to a campaign. Perhaps the PCs have to complete a mission with a new hire or "intern" assigned to the team -- the son of one of the board members, say, and he really isn't particularly qualified for the job. The heroes need to keep him safe, but they also need to keep him involved. It will look bad if they just leave him behind in order to keep him out of trouble. He needs to "learn valuable on-the-job skills," etc. He might even be destined to replace the heroes' current overseer (so they'd better treat him well).

Or, the heroes' employer is a manufacturer of a certain brand of munitions, and due to a decree from the marketing department, all security teams must carry weapons from the X1 line (a line that recently has been the target of allegations of safety issues in the press), in order to make it clear that Corporation X is so confident in its wares that ALL its security forces use X1 gear!

The trouble is, there really ARE some safety issues ... or else the X1 line only covers light, low-powered assault rifles, and that's not so great for the close-combat specialist, the heavy weapons specialist, or the techie who normally just carries a holdout pistol for personal protection because he can't *handle* the assault rifle.

And so on. Really, I imagine that a few adventures originally written for "freelancer" teams could be modified to give the heroes corporate backing. There'd just be some changes to the back-story, the gear allocations might work differently, and the mission briefing happens in a conference room at Corporate HQ rather than in a seedy cyber-bar.

If there was a bar-room fist-fight that was supposed to break out in the cyber-bar, you can instead have a "demonstration" going on in the background, and when the heroes head out to the lobby to get to work, some radical activists break through and a scuffle breaks out -- and the team is ordered to use non-lethal means to deal with the intruders so that this doesn't escalate. Cue the fist-fight against the combatants to introduce our players to the fight mechanics, but the setting's a bit different.
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VonDan
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Joined: 08 Jul 2008
Posts: 3850

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jordan Peacock wrote:
In the R Talsorian Games "Cyberpunk" RPG, being a "Corp" was one of the core archetypes you could pick from. The "perk" for being a Corp was that you could occasionally call upon corporate resources -- but the implication was that you'd be more beholden to your employer, rather than being a "freelancer."


Now that you ask, Yes I did find Cybepunk for $1 and several supplements for 50 cents

What if the company is one owned by an eccentric Neo Hippy Agro genius and there latest creation is a food source that is cheap safe and will feed billions.

Every fast food Mega Corp to survive the franchise war will be out to destroy this company and it ergonomic pollution free built from 100% recycled materials factory and growing fields ware chemical free produce is harvested humanely.

Team member ideas

A Neo Pacifist Healer specializing in natural healing and herbs

Al Neo Zen Martial artist

A Neo Druid Agro Priest(es)

A Neo wiccan Vegan with a Magical aptitude

A Neo Reclamator (Like a Junker who only works with recyclable environmentally safe materials)

A Neo Shaperson with several voluntary free range non endangered beast partners


This smells like a showdown idea Like Wiggy's gangster setting but with food factions
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