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> Where are they now: The Seraphim, My campaign
The Jake
post Dec 11 2008, 01:37 PM
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It's all but stated in System Failure that CATCo died because the Seraphim hardly put up a fight. Here's what I'm planning for my campaign but I wanted to spring board some ideas. This explains my ideas around why the Seraphim all but permitted CATCo to be destroyed.

My view is that as of 2064 when Cross died, CATCo began to be systematically fall apart. My theory is that when this happened, upon the death of Cross, the Seraphim would have been largely factionalised.
The key factions are:
- Those loyal to Cross
- Those loyal to CATCo (as distinct from loyal to Cross)
- Those loyal to themselves.

Upon the collapse of CATCo, those loyal to themselves become the 'Fallen' (I think they're referenced as that in SotA:2064).

LOYAL TO CATCO
Those loyal to CATCo would try to ride it out and support the company assuming CATCo is Cross and that supporting the company would be inline with their wishes (whom they would answer to after his death is a very good question - Jean-Marie Cross?). Act as if everything is business as usual (BAU). These guys I'm assuming would be heavily targeted in the corporate war for either infiltration, extraction or otherwise utter destruction. I would surmise that either way by 2070 the Seraphim as it was once known ceases to exist and anyone in this camp would pay the ultimate price. This group would represent the majority of the Seraphim.

LOYAL TO THEMSELVES
Those loyal to themselves would rapidly realise when the ship is sinking and most likely look to bail. Some may jump across to other agencies or other megas. Maybe Ares or another corp snatched up a significant number of ex-Seraphim. If so is this documented in any sourcebook anywhere? Either way I suspect that those that did jump ship probably would represent the majority of the survivors. Of which there would be very, very few.

LOYAL TO CROSS
Those loyal to Cross would realise that the company is going down without a strong leader like Lucien to steer the boat. They would have little faith in Jean-Marie and realise that he is not Lucien and not feel any particular loyalty to him or the company in its current form. My theory is that they would probably look to bail to avoid being destroyed or caught up in the corporate war. At the very least realise at a certain point ahead of the rest of the company the inevitable outcome.
They would want to cling to power as well as survive. A group of this size/influence doesn't give it up easy after all. I'm banking that this would be run by a very small but elite inner circle of very, very high ranking Seraphim agents. They would probably hand-pick current lower tier Seraphim agents and spot them for recruitment into this new Syndicate (I'm calling it the Syndicate for now until I can think of a better name). They are a fraction of the size of the Seraphim (I'm aiming to around 1/3) but they are the creme-de-la-creme. Top agents, highly skilled and most of all, loyal to perpetuating the Syndicate - with all the zeal you'd expect of the original Seraphim.

In my campaign, one of these key conspirators is a high ranking Seraphim handler and trainer who has access to the corp's training database and access to ops files. The Syndicate would be funded by several methods:
- siphoning off various funds out of CATCo during the height of the Crash 2.0
- selling off key data on Seraphim agents and operations to Ares (or other interested buyers). In particular, on agents who they have no intention of recruiting.
- possibly branching out into the shadows/black market (moving into selling intelligence data like Aegis or supporting intelligence activities of other organisations like the Vory).
- manipulating the war to siphon out and/or control key areas of CATCo that Seraphim had a vested interest in maintaining.

Why would they hold onto key R&D or business units of CATCo? If so, how? My reasoning is because they want to create more agents. In my campaign they would focus heavily on any tech that could allow them to produce/mass produce or train skilled operatives (full VR environments + cloning tech is a key example). They would do this through multiple fronts and shell corporations, buying up and snatching key assets of CATCo during the war with Ares. This isn't essential to the idea but I do plan on having this feature as a key threat. By 2070 I plan on having this group demonstrate the ability to mass produce vat based clones with all the training of a veteran agent (with the Syndicate being able to cherry pick the skills these guys have, although they will have various flaws that can be exploited).

For what purpose does the Syndicate exist?
Well that's where I get stumped. I think the idea of a former corporate sponsored intelligence agency going rogue, with strong ties to at least one government (Quebec) and world reaching ties/influence makes for an excellent villain and deus ex machina. I'm just running into problems trying to work out what their ultimate goal would be? Just a general lust for power? Wealth? Global domination?

Any ideas/thoughts/feedback would be welcomed.

- J.
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Blade
post Dec 11 2008, 01:53 PM
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IIRC Nath told me that there were some elements hinting that the Seraphim weren't just CATCo/Cross' corporate intelligence department, that they existed even before CATCo/Cross or something like that. He's without internet access right now, but if you're interested I can ask him the details.
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The Jake
post Dec 11 2008, 01:57 PM
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QUOTE (Blade @ Dec 11 2008, 02:53 PM) *
IIRC Nath told me that there were some elements hinting that the Seraphim weren't just CATCo/Cross' corporate intelligence department, that they existed even before CATCo/Cross or something like that. He's without internet access right now, but if you're interested I can ask him the details.


Definitely interested. In particular, any info on how they'd respond with Cross' death I'd be most interested in hearing.

- J.
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Malachi
post Dec 11 2008, 03:54 PM
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Big D bequeathed a painting titled "Seraphim" to Lucien in his will. Perhaps the Seraphim where his creation, and the bequeathing of the painting was a sign to the Seraphim that Lucien was in charge, for now. When Lucien died, the Seraphim might have packed up en masse (leaving CATCo to the wolves) and returned to wherever they came from.
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The Jake
post Dec 11 2008, 08:45 PM
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QUOTE (Malachi @ Dec 11 2008, 04:54 PM) *
Big D bequeathed a painting titled "Seraphim" to Lucien in his will. Perhaps the Seraphim where his creation, and the bequeathing of the painting was a sign to the Seraphim that Lucien was in charge, for now. When Lucien died, the Seraphim might have packed up en masse (leaving CATCo to the wolves) and returned to wherever they came from.


I simply took that as a literal interpretation of the will with no hidden meaning. A fair call.

I guess I view the Seraphim as a powerful force and I don't see them going quietly into the night (or out with a bang in a fight with Ares for that matter).

- J.
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Spike
post Dec 11 2008, 09:14 PM
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Aside from my utter ignorance of whom the Seraphim were, or why there were special...

I disagree with the psychology behind the group labeled 'those loyal to Cross'. As you've painted them, being loyal to Cross himself isn't too different than being loyal to themselves once Cross himself is out of the picture.

I think if they were loyal to Cross, the man, they will continue that loyalty post death. This can be viewed as transferring that loyalty to his company (the CATco crowd), or to whomever they viewed as his annointed successor and heir (or lacking an annointed one, which person most embodied the ideals Cross held, or those that made the Seraphim loyal to him personally). Failing to find a new leader/figurehead, then they would instead focus on revenge and/or continuing his work, whatever that is, and however they would interpret it.

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kanislatrans
post Dec 11 2008, 10:27 PM
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Where are the Seraphim now?

"Don't look now Scoob, but they're right behind you!!!" (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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The Jake
post Dec 12 2008, 03:29 AM
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QUOTE (Spike @ Dec 11 2008, 10:14 PM) *
Aside from my utter ignorance of whom the Seraphim were, or why there were special...

I disagree with the psychology behind the group labeled 'those loyal to Cross'. As you've painted them, being loyal to Cross himself isn't too different than being loyal to themselves once Cross himself is out of the picture.

I think if they were loyal to Cross, the man, they will continue that loyalty post death. This can be viewed as transferring that loyalty to his company (the CATco crowd), or to whomever they viewed as his annointed successor and heir (or lacking an annointed one, which person most embodied the ideals Cross held, or those that made the Seraphim loyal to him personally). Failing to find a new leader/figurehead, then they would instead focus on revenge and/or continuing his work, whatever that is, and however they would interpret it.


It is perhaps poorly worded.

What I am trying to say is that they were all loyal to Lucien Cross at one point.

With Lucien out of the picture, where do their loyalties lie? Is it with the company CATCo? As individuals? Or do they reside with the Seraphim - a group unto their own? It this 'group unto their own' mentality I suspect which would lead to them to starting their own little side project while CATCo goes down in flames.

- J.
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Spike
post Dec 12 2008, 06:04 PM
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I think I'm not being entirely clear either. We have established already that there is a potential group who's loyalty lay with the company, marking this particular group as loyal to Cross in person.

Personal loyalty implied a number of thing, its a vastly different animal compared to the more abstract 'loyalty to the group'. If we compare it to cults of personality, then we can draw certain parallels from real life. In all likelihood there will be some fragmenting within the group of 'loyal to cross' as they wind up disagreeing with how to best express that post mortem.

The key issue, one I can't answer (being unfamiliar with the details) is why they would have been loyal to him personally. Was it just raw charisma and personality? Was it a strong personal vision and goals?
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The Jake
post Dec 12 2008, 11:58 PM
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QUOTE (Spike @ Dec 12 2008, 07:04 PM) *
I think I'm not being entirely clear either. We have established already that there is a potential group who's loyalty lay with the company, marking this particular group as loyal to Cross in person.

Personal loyalty implied a number of thing, its a vastly different animal compared to the more abstract 'loyalty to the group'. If we compare it to cults of personality, then we can draw certain parallels from real life. In all likelihood there will be some fragmenting within the group of 'loyal to cross' as they wind up disagreeing with how to best express that post mortem.

The key issue, one I can't answer (being unfamiliar with the details) is why they would have been loyal to him personally. Was it just raw charisma and personality? Was it a strong personal vision and goals?


I don't think it matters why they did. Anecdotal evidence in past material suggests it was a combination of the two.

I'm not disagreeing about the splintering effect you're describing but the main thing to understand is the premise behind the Syndicate - that there are bound to be more than a few people who would like to retain their power and not be willing to go down in flames with CATCo.

- J.
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Method
post Dec 13 2008, 04:15 AM
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I posted a thread about the Seraphim in 2070 awhile back and got some really good ideas. Link here if you're interested.
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The Jake
post Dec 13 2008, 10:15 AM
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QUOTE (FlakJacket @ Apr 18 2007, 09:51 PM) *
Off the top of my head here are the first five or six ways that it could go down that come to mind. And of course none of these are mutually exclusive, different parts of the Seraphim and individual agents could decide to go different ways and they all happen.

Independents - With the company going down in flames they decide to strike out for themselves. Maybe they go the independent contractor route, maybe they join up with a third party like another megacorporation or specialist firm such as Aegis Cognito. Hell, maybe even a government agency. As one of the premiere intelligence agencies in the world it shouldn't be too hard to get hired on their skills alone, the counterintelligence departments are going to be having a fit trying to work out if they're trustworthy or not though.

Collective Independents - Much the same as the independents only with these guys they decide to leave together and set up their own new group. Probably headed by a mid to mid high-ish manager that knows enough people to pull out and make it a viable proposition. Think proto-Aegis Cognito or Infolio that's still trying to find its feet.

Failing that they decide to bail on Cross but keep their influence through out Quebec and start trying to quietly take control of the place for themselves behind the scenes. After toiling away for so long they figure its time to make something for themselves.

Fanatics - These are the real true believers, the ones that were totally behind CATco's whole Francophone, highly isolationist Quebec with major cultural legislation ethos. They're looking for someone to blame for the death of their dream and when Ares moves in after the company goes down and starts looting the place they've found their target. They're going to carry on their vendetta with Ares with a vengeance despite their lost resources.

Another side to this are the ones who feel that letting Leonard Aurelius into the family firm was the start of the end and blame him for all of it 'cause hey, fanatics aren't really known for their logic on certain issues. Corp Download mentioned that a number of Seraphim distrusted him when he first came over and started trying to throw his weight around. These guys are going to be tracking Aurelius down and try to burn everything he owns down.

Orphans - SotA 2064 mentioned that a lot of deep cover agents in the 2060s use magic, drugs and ASIST biofeedback to submerge their true personalities so deep and take on their covers that they have no idea that they're a spy or who they were until they're activated or extracted back out - getting kidnapped to them. So you've these people scattered throughout Ares and all the other corps collecting data and working themselves into positions of power which represent an exceedingly valuable commodity. The details of these guys getting out - much like what happened with the eastern intelligence agencies when the Iron Curtain came down and the USSR came apart - is going to create fun and games. Maybe someone with the list decides to defect and set up a retirement package by selling it or auctioning blocks of names off through Asgard to the highest bidder. Or maybe the list somehow gets out into the open somehow, cue major chases and fighting to find it.

True Believers - And then there are these gals. Much like the fanatics in that they believe in the whole Cross/Francophone Quebec bit but not to such an extreme degree and they didn't get tipped over the edge by the whole crash thing. They're sticking with the company to try and rebuild it, or at least keep it above water until it can start to recover and keep Quebec firmly isolationist and under their control. What's good for Cross is good for Quebec.


This sums up what I was thinking.

The Syndicate would fall into the 'Collective Independents' category.

- J.
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Grinder
post Dec 13 2008, 01:51 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Dec 11 2008, 02:57 PM) *
Definitely interested.


Me too. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Blade
post Dec 13 2008, 05:31 PM
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Ok I talked with Nath about it. He told me he'll try to get his proposal for Loose Alliance online once he gets his internet access.
From what he told me, there are only two canonical elements that could hint at something else than (Lucien) Cross behind the Seraphims:

1. The painting, as Malachi already mentionned.
2. The fact that they use biblical codenames, just like the people in the conspiracy behind Proteus AG (as far as I know, they're only mentionned in German books). What could make it more than a coincidence is that among those people, one was a Seraphim. From what Nath told me, it looks like it wasn't the author intent to link the two, but I guess you could still use that.
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Nath
post Dec 13 2008, 10:11 PM
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As Blade said, I have somewhere on my computer at home a chapter about the Seraphim that was proposed and refused for Loose Alliances (and later contradicted by what Jon Szeto wrote in SOTA:2064). I may put it on the web later (for now, only the french translation is avaiable on my website). Regarding this discussion on the Seraphim in the 2070, there are only a few relevant points anyway.

- Around the time Lucien Cross created Cross Applied Technologies, there were plenty of intelligence specialists available : after the military coup in France in 2029, you can expect a few disgruntled civil servants, including some from the intelligence services, to leave their jobs. The same goes in the US and Canada (but not Quebec, indeed) between 2032 and 2036 : I mean, if half your family's living in California or Texas, you may feel hem, uncomfortable to watch the news reports about Aztlan troops taking San Diego and Austin, from your office in Langley. Abd finally, all the parties involved probably expanded their intelligence services during the Eurowars, and would fire a part of the people they trained soon after.

- Reading Shadows of North America, the Seraphim seems to work with a network of contacts very similar to the Mossad's sayanim. This network would allow Seraphim to maintain operations even when the Cross corporation would go down the tubes.

- Seraphim worked with the SDEI, the intelligence service of Esprit Industries. There's the linguistic tie between France and Qu├ębec, and Esprit main interests in military tech made it heavily interested in Ares' whereabouts. And they probably would be quite happy to repay for Seraphim operations.

- There a one-liner in Blood in the boardroom as a sequel to the chapter "Who watch the watchers ?" in Dunkelzahn's secrets. It states that the Seraphim, and more precisely Jezebel Surrateau, managed to take over a part of Dunkelzahn's network of shadow operatives, before the Draco Foundation could (interestingly enough, one of Dunkelzahn and the Daviar handman in Seattle, Toshi Akemura IIRC, is, the other way round, a former Seraphim).

In my write-up, the da Vinci painting full title is "Seraphim protecting the christian faith from roman persecutions". The six wings of the Seraphim (following the biblical description) cover their bodies and head like cloaks and hoods, and they protect a group of old men, carrying books and drawings and a Cros,s from a squad of roman soldiers. In quite typical Renaissance style, the roman armors rather look like greek ones. In the background, some of the roman soldiers are putting down their helmets to join the christians, with one of those hiding a dagger. To put it another way, da Vinci (the real one) painted Ares logo, Aurelius leaving Ares side to join with Cross, somewhere during the XVth century.

Also, as Blade mentionned, there is an (IMO) interesting link between Seraphim usage of biblical codenames and the Proteus conspiracy doing the same. The Proteus conspiracy is described in the german campaign Shockwellen : people from several corporations are secretly channeling money and R&D data to Proteus, without any knowledge from their respective management. And so, there is one Seraphim, belonging to two organizations using the same codenaming procedures, divesting CATCo ressources to Proteus advantage, without Lucien Cross knowing. Enough to makes you wonder, though I did not expand this idea in my write-up.


Indeed, after developping so many ideas about the Seraphim, I was quite disappointed with the fall of Cross. Moreover, the idea that Cross management would sell anything to Ares makes me cry : even with Lucien dead, Cross management is still full of people who hate Ares and Knight (Jezebel Surrateau is stuck in a wheelchair because of an assassin dispatched by Knight, Ares killed William Briggs' son after they both defected, and so on...). They'd sell to anyother megacorp, but not Ares.
Unless of course, as I came to think lately, they saw any interest in Ares buying those subsidiaries, giving their employees Ares citizenship, granting their manager security clearances, and connecting their mainframes to Ares network...

On the other hand, in an adventure I intend to play somewhere in the future, a group of Seraphim bought assets of the Eurotronics consortium (Cross did hold some shares at some point). But this specific plot relies heavily on Eurotronics' background that did not make it into Shadows of Europe (because it was waaaaaay too much complicated).
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