Adventures with Megacorps

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 2, 2012 - 2:01pm
Starting with some idea of what an adventure with a Megacorps means.

Sure you could have a representative from a Megacorp step in and ask the PCs to go on about any type of mission but I feel this should not qualify as a Megacorp adventure. Here are some things I think you need. Not all of them are necessary but some should be included:

1) PCs are employees of a Megacorp-sure the PCs could be hired by Megacorp but how is that different from any other adventure where they are independents being hired by anyone?

2) Mission should have something to do with the goals of the Megacorp. Being sent to stake an ownership claim on one of the moons of Alcazzar for Universal Household doesn't make alot of sense. Why would they want a moon or want to risk a corporate war over it. Being sent to Alcazzar to sneak on planet and retrieve botanical samples for a new line of Dralasite Scent Intoxicants by Star Play makes much more sense.

3) Megacorps run under their own rules and PCs should remember this. Best example I have is from the TV series Jericho. The leader of the "Corporation" team ran around the countryside looting, killing, and committing alot of crimes and was promoted. He was found to have embezzled from the "Corporation" and was fired a sure death sentence. What the PCs can and can not do needs to be clearly defined.

4) Megacorps are full of political maneuvering. Everyone is trying to move up and get ahead. That usually means stepping on others hands as you climb the corporate ladder. Whether it is the PCs or the one giving them their orders enemies within the Megacorp should be just as challenging as those outside of it.

5) Perception is everything. Finishing the mission is great. Letting others know or causing a huge news worthy incident which brings bad press to the Megacorp is very bad. Scapegoating bad. Think MIB and "these people only get on with their happy lives because they DO NOT KNOW".

6) Profit and Loss and Expense Accounts. What was the final outcome of the investigation into Ripley blowing up a space tug and refinery? She worked for a Megacorp and cost them a fortune. Maybe that is why is had to get a loader job instead of just living off her back pay. Side note Megacorps are usually portrayed as not caring about human life in the search for profit. This makes sense for some of the Megacorps, others like Synthetics Inc with the best reputation for fairness most likely do their best to protect employees.

7) You do not need to work for the big guys. Most of the Megacorps have subsidiaries. Like Apollo Creed said "you need the Eye of the Tiger" Megacorps are on top and trying to stay there. The ones below the top are fighting to get there. Guess which one will be willing to take the bigger risk? Bigger risk, bigger adventure.

Remember working for a Megacorp has advantages and disadvantages for some pretty clear examples watch Angel. The early seasons were about them on their own. Then they jioned Wolfram and Hart and things changed.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 2, 2012 - 2:42pm
Great analysis RT

I'm with you on this a corporate adventure should incorporate may of these points.

something that just occured to me: the Kevin Costner movie, "No Way Out" could be a good template for this kind of adventure except it wont be the Pentagon, Navy, and a Congressman. the intrigue and pressure of being trapped within the Pentagon would be good feel for a corporate intrigue/espionage scenario.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 2, 2012 - 5:37pm
Remember that movie. I can also picture some of the megacorp headquarter buildings being as big as the Pentagon, or even as big as the World Trade Center complex. Really long term adventure with deep undercover. Of course it would be more interesting as adventure to go in the Leverage way instead. Small team pulling the big con.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 2, 2012 - 7:47pm
I'm suddenly reminded of the Paranoia RPG

PCs serve the computer which is our friend, of course even if it orders out summary execution during the course of the adventure. The computer is of course obsessed with rooting out Pinko commie mutants and low and behold the PCs as part and parcel of character generation start the game as mutants with a secret society afliation that effectively puts them on a kill list with the computer. The only saving grace is that each PC is a clone with 5 back up bodies and for some totally illogical reason the computer does not automatically assume that the clone of a mutant is a mutant.

Paranoia may be worth digging into for ideas
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 3, 2012 - 4:53am
According to Zeb's the CEO of NET the computer making company is unknown. If that isn't the set up for the computer controlled megacorp I don't know what would be.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 3, 2012 - 5:43am
rattraveller wrote:
According to Zeb's the CEO of NET the computer making company is unknown. If that isn't the set up for the computer controlled megacorp I don't know what would be.


Great point. Hadn't thought of that. I think that is a set up for an adventure.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
December 3, 2012 - 11:00pm
I see an adventure in this where the CEO of NET is a machine.  NET gets into reverse engineering machanon technology and as a result the mechanons take over the CEO of NET.
-iggy

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 4, 2012 - 5:36pm
Since someone started me on it. Mission to Alcazzar is a perfect megacorp adventure but you need to make the team CDC employees. Why CDC would hire independents for this mission I can't figure out, unless they were worried the traitors would rat out the team but this would only work if they knew there were traitors in which case a company team would still be better since you would not want your dirty laundry put out in public like an independent team might do.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 4, 2012 - 6:15pm
I agree.  The module just says that the PC's are specialists hired by CDC to go to Alcazzar.  I've always interpreted that to mean that they were already employees of CDC but I guess you could interpret it as they are outsiders brought in.  It definitely makes much more sense for them to be CDC employees already.  In my campaign I would have the PC's be picked up as CDC employees long before I ran Alcazzar and have them doing other missions for the company.  I'd introduce Alcazzar by pulling them out in the middle of some other assignment and having them immediately reassigned.  "Drop everything and report in".  That would help to give a sense of how important the Alcazzar mission is to the company.
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 5, 2012 - 6:29pm
The end of the module says the Chairman rewards loyal employees and gives some suggestions for future troubleshooting adventures. Then it gets weird and talks about the future of the planet as if it was public knowledge. Guessing once Streel lost their base they quietly rat out CDC to the UPF for having a planet that is not registered. Then it gets opened up for general exploitation and the megacorps are left to try and claim the moons.

For the answer to another question that is how I would go with the time line.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 5, 2012 - 7:38pm
CDC gets left holding the planet and Streel rats them out. Problem is that there are now new laws on the books concerning mega corps founding planets and Star Law and the Council of Worlds are looking to make an example. CDC tried to keep this planet quiet because its discovery predated the new legislation and the ship planting an outpost was already in route.
So Streel leaves CDC to hold the bag and there are the dead indigenous primitives which got press time in the Fronteir and the cry went out for heads to roll- since CDC was holding the planet they were essentially holding the bag and they caught the blame. The man on the street in Port Loren cursed greedy mega corps in general and said good when word got out that Star Law was coming down on CDC.

CDC beat out Streel but lost the battle of perception and was crucified in the court of public opinion. After that mega corps had a free for all scrambing for the moons and the UPF appointed a Govenor like they did for Volturnus. Today Alcazzar is a small outpost but its moons have more infrastructure.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 6, 2012 - 4:08am
Exactly Jed. This will be my personal Star Frontiers take on Alcazzar.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?