If you’ve read the Kickstarter Preview [Link accessible for backers only] of The Sprawl, you may have noticed a big highlighted heading, “Extended Chargen Example”, at the end of Chapter 3: Making a Character. Over the next week or two, I will post sections from this extended example. If there’s some aspect of the process that isn’t clear, make a note in the comments and I’ll expand or clarify my description as necessary. This is the first such post.
Step 0: Define the Corporations
Sarah, Takumi, Aanya, John and Norah have gathered to play The Sprawl. They have discussed their understanding of what cyberpunk is and what kind of flavour they want to see in terms of technology. As MC, Norah has asked some of the questions in Chapter 9 and everyone has a sense of what aspects of society and technology they’re all interested in. They’ve decided to set their game in a sprawling future version of their home city, and discussed what that Sprawl might look like.
Norah (MC): Okay, Step 0 is to define the corporations that are going to be the major players in our game. I’ll start… I want the idea of corporate military forces to be important in our Sprawl, so I’m going to start our list with Shanghai Security, an Anglo-Chinese military-industrial megacorporation who have active defense contracts with half the world’s governments and actively attempting to undermine the other half through covert operations or outright warfare.
She writes “Shanghai Security: military and heavy industry” on an piece of paper and places it in the middle of the table.
John: Nice! Well, I’d like to see biologic and cybernetic research play a part in the game, so I’m going to add HelixTec to the list. They got their start with genetic sequencing and have expanded to sit at the bleeding edge of cybernetics research. Their elite special paramilitary units have the best cyberware around and they regularly test their new models in covert operations in those regions where Shanghai is destablising non-compliant governments.
He writes “HelixTec: genetics, cybernetics, military enhancements” under Shanghai Security on the list.
Takumi: Well I want to see some cyberpunk missions in space, so I’ll add Solar Investments in here. They’re a financial conglomerate who operate exclusive orbital habitats both for data security and as exclusive communities for the ultra-wealthy.
He adds “Solar Investments: financial operations and exclusives residences” to the list.
Sarah: I like that idea too, Takumi. I think Solar’s big rival is Ecuadine Petrochem, a oil and mining conglomerate who are in the process of building a space elevator as part of their expansion into asteroid mining, and in the process, threaten Solar’s domination of near-earth transport and habitat construction.
Sarah writes “Ecuadine Petrochem: oil, mining, heavy industries, expanding upwards”.
Aanya: Okay, so its just me left… I want a megacorporation that’s focused on cyberspace… oh, and media… Existence Extertainment. “It’s better than real life!”
She writes down “Existence Entertainment: virtual media and simsense”.
Sarah: What’s simsense?
Aanya: It’s when people with full-on sensory recording cyberware record everything they do for a while, then they or someone else sells those sensory experiences so other people can experience those things. Want to know what it’s like to do a HALO drop or be a Formula One driver? Or to rob a bank or be in a firefight?
Sarah: Ooo, that sounds creepy!
Aanya: Yeah! Turn on, plug in, and switch off forever!
Norah: That looks great! We have a military corp, a cybernetics corp, an orbital finance corp, big oil, and virtual media conglomerate. I can already see some missions in there!
You can back The Sprawl on Kickstarter.