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> Lightwalking, The other side of the Shadows.
d1ng0d0g
post May 26 2010, 07:24 AM
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I'm starting a game where the characters are not Shadowrunners, instead they are University students asked by the dragon dean to do a little something for him. A very valuable item in his possession was stolen and he is facing a little inter-dragon embarrassment if that is discovered.

The reason he doesn't hire a team of Shadowrunners is because he is testing them for further assignments, swiping them from the respective corporations that provide the funds for their education.

However I came against a very unique problem that's taking away a lot of energy. That is that the players are having trouble envisioning characters who are being groomed to be upper-middle management or lower higher management of a corporation.

So I'm actually looking for bits and parts of how the normal population of the Sixth world sees it. After all, the majority of people do make up that part of society.


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hobgoblin
post May 26 2010, 09:08 AM
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this have always been something of a problem for SR. The view have always been from the runner side, standing on some rooftop in the barrens, making comments on the sheltered conclaves of the corps that do not "see" them but at the same time whos system cant function without them.

for a someone holding a SIN, having parents with non-disposable jobs at one of the AAA's, life may be not much different from upper middle class USA. Expect for some new tech toys, and more news about unrest nearby.
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The Tarasque
post May 26 2010, 11:25 AM
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I dont understand what is difficult about conceptualizing them. Yes, Shadowrun defaults to criminals and thugs, but there is literally a ton of information about the sixth world and how everyone interacts, especially in older editions of the game like Shadowbeat.
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Aerospider
post May 26 2010, 11:55 AM
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Hope this perspective is of some assistance:

Education in the Sixth World dystopia is a corporate industry. Someone studying at a Megacorp's university is either a citizen of said corp or has accepted a golden-handcuffs agreement whereby their education is fully paid for but not only have they made a legal agreement to complete their studies to a satisfactory level but they are also legally bound to work for the corporation afterwards. This might mean they have to work off their education costs (most megas would make this a long process) or it might mean that the corporation owns them for a given length of time (10 years, until retirement, until death, etc.). The more valuable the employee is the tighter the megacorp's hold will be on them, but the perks go up too.

Ways of getting out of the employment obligations:
- Get extracted
- Die
- Pretend to die
- Be sold to another corp
- Refuse to work and face the consequences
- Become unable to work through incapacity and rely on the corp's welfare system (don't get your hopes up)

The characters are probably well taken care of, especially if they are talented. Most people living in the clutches of the corporations think it's great and support their dictatorial overlords. Who needs freedom when you've got guaranteed employment, housing and law enforcement? Most likely the characters don't like the idea of the shadows and will either need convincing or trickery from the dragon to effect the extractions. If the players don't like this notion (I think it's a corker personally) then maybe the characters are among those few citizens who (think they) see through the corporate PR and the facade they maintain.
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Mx
post May 26 2010, 12:48 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ May 26 2010, 01:55 PM) *
Education in the Sixth World dystopia is a corporate industry.

Not really, most of the universities of today still exist and as far as i can tell arent owned by corps.
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hobgoblin
post May 26 2010, 01:07 PM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ May 26 2010, 02:48 PM) *
Not really, most of the universities of today still exist and as far as i can tell arent owned by corps.

maybe not owned, but i suspect that tuition is probably handled by corporations. This on top of any kind of sponsorship deals the corps have with the universities.

not really that different from today, where corporations may fund a lab in exchange for some services or other.
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Aerospider
post May 26 2010, 01:26 PM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ May 26 2010, 01:48 PM) *
Not really, most of the universities of today still exist and as far as i can tell arent owned by corps.

Seriously? Your argument for why something isn't true in Shadowrun is that it isn't true now?
As far as I can tell there aren't any orks, dragons, spirits, synthetic intelligences (real ones, anyway), walk-in implant clinics or cyborgs today either ...

Not that what I wrote was hard facts (note the word "perspective") and it can certainly be debated with, but I've read enough fluff on the corporations to consider it a more-than-possible state of affairs. Here in the UK one of the current fears around education is the prospect of corporate-sponsored academies taking over the education system and giving independent companies the ability to influence what our children learn as they grow up and the perspective they're given as a result. Hell, even my father when he went to university 40 years ago signed up to a motor company's programme whereby his higher education was paid for but he was obligated to start working for them on graduation, so it's seriously not unlikely in a world run by the megas 60 years on from today.
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Drats
post May 26 2010, 01:42 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ May 26 2010, 01:26 PM) *
Seriously? Your argument for why something isn't true in Shadowrun is that it isn't true now?
As far as I can tell there aren't any orks, dragons, spirits, synthetic intelligences (real ones, anyway), walk-in implant clinics or cyborgs today either ...


Erm... Syntax error. Insert "In 2072" into Mäx's post and I believe his meaning becomes clear. I can't speak for all the institutions of higher learning, but I do know there are a decent number that aren't corp controlled, including a major one right in Seattle whose name always manages to escape me at just the wrong moment. The corps leverage investments in the educational infrastructure and cherry-pick as much as they can, though, sometimes courting promising hires from as early as High School.

(Geek wish fulfillment: Sixth World talent scouts are more interested in the kids setting the curve in their biology classes than the ones that can slam-dunk from the free-throw line (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) )
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Aerospider
post May 26 2010, 01:50 PM
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QUOTE (Drats @ May 26 2010, 02:42 PM) *
Erm... Syntax error. Insert "In 2072" into Mäx's post and I believe his meaning becomes clear. I can't speak for all the institutions of higher learning, but I do know there are a decent number that aren't corp controlled, including a major one right in Seattle whose name always manages to escape me at just the wrong moment. The corps leverage investments in the educational infrastructure and cherry-pick as much as they can, though, sometimes courting promising hires from as early as High School.

(Geek wish fulfillment: Sixth World talent scouts are more interested in the kids setting the curve in their biology classes than the ones that can slam-dunk from the free-throw line (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) )

Oh, yeah that makes more sense and I misread what he wrote anyway. Apologies Mäx.
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FriendoftheDork
post May 26 2010, 01:50 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ May 26 2010, 03:26 PM) *
Seriously? Your argument for why something isn't true in Shadowrun is that it isn't true now?
As far as I can tell there aren't any orks, dragons, spirits, synthetic intelligences (real ones, anyway), walk-in implant clinics or cyborgs today either ...

Not that what I wrote was hard facts (note the word "perspective") and it can certainly be debated with, but I've read enough fluff on the corporations to consider it a more-than-possible state of affairs. Here in the UK one of the current fears around education is the prospect of corporate-sponsored academies taking over the education system and giving independent companies the ability to influence what our children learn as they grow up and the perspective they're given as a result. Hell, even my father when he went to university 40 years ago signed up to a motor company's programme whereby his higher education was paid for but he was obligated to start working for them on graduation, so it's seriously not unlikely in a world run by the megas 60 years on from today.


Read the line you are quoting... he's not saying what you're saying. He might be wrong, but his statement is no less relevant than yours and is probably based on (each of) your impressions and what you have read in SR books.

AFAIK, public education still exists, but is considered inferior to Corporate one. Universities and Colleges might still exist, or if bought up by the Corps, might still offer education to non-corporate citizens (at much higher costs of course).

Also I don't buy into the Big Brother theme, Corps are omnipotent theme, and everyone are evil theme. Sure some Corps screw you over, just like businesses can do today, but there are still laws, Unions, semi-independent media (or just hostile media) to cry out against abuses.

I for one would think the idea of granting cheap education to potential employees with the requirement of loyalty to the company/Corp might be a pretty good deal also for the corp citizen and allows many talented people otherwise unable to get decent education to actually make it in life and live a good life at a decent wage at the cost of some personal freedoms.

Edit: Ah beaten too it.
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Mx
post May 26 2010, 02:06 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ May 26 2010, 03:50 PM) *
Oh, yeah that makes more sense and I misread what he wrote anyway. Apologies Mäx.

No hard feelings (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
I guess i could have wrote that little clearer. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/embarrassed.gif)
But yeah what i said ablied to 2072 and was based on all the background books i have read about the sixth world(which is most of them)
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Neraph
post May 26 2010, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE (d1ng0d0g @ May 26 2010, 02:24 AM) *
A very valuable item in his possession was stolen and he is facing a little inter-dragon embarrassment if that is discovered.

I like this part. A big, powerful dragon is trusting university students to recover a valuble item otherwise he'll be embarrassed around the other dragons. Do you people not watch anime?

This is what I postulate. The group finds said item. If they roleplay their University students, they will pawn it and use the money to indulge in all manner of drug use, prostitution, and drinking binges (mostly on the synthahol though). This is at least a likely outcome.

If, however, the group decides to play nice, they will return item to a dragon that clearly does not deserve whatever item it was he lost.

EDIT: If you really want to do a university campaign, a better idea would be to do a hazing ritual done wrong... with magic. The resulting spirits being freed on campus would be shut down by the group, and that would catch the dean's attention. Much better and more likely than a dragon turning to impulsive 20-year-olds to recover an expensive artifact.
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Drats
post May 26 2010, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ May 26 2010, 04:36 PM) *
I like this part. A big, powerful dragon is trusting university students to recover a valuble item otherwise he'll be embarrassed around the other dragons. Do you people not watch anime?

This is what I postulate. The group finds said item. If they roleplay their University students, they will pawn it and use the money to indulge in all manner of drug use, prostitution, and drinking binges (mostly on the synthahol though). This is at least a likely outcome.

If, however, the group decides to play nice, they will return item to a dragon that clearly does not deserve whatever item it was he lost.

It's really only ridiculous if you take the run at face value. This guy's a Wizwyrm and (technically) a Johnson, the two least straightforward entities in the Sixth World. Couple that with the fact that these "runners" are greener than The Sea Dragon's taint, and I think this could be a great start to a campaign that's more than it seems. The White King moves his pawns around just the same as the Black one.

If nothing else, it could be a pretense to draw them together and teach them some kind of lesson, Mr. Miyagi-style.
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Brazilian_Shinob...
post May 26 2010, 06:30 PM
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I remember something being said about corps even looking for the jogs during high school, to provide them with a collegge's degree and hire them to their sports team. There was a corp (Ares I think) where it was expected of the management be as good at sports as in administration, whatever...
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LurkerOutThere
post May 26 2010, 06:37 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ May 26 2010, 11:36 AM) *
This is what I postulate. The group finds said item. If they roleplay their University students, they will pawn it and use the money to indulge in all manner of drug use, prostitution, and drinking binges (mostly on the synthahol though). This is at least a likely outcome.


If it's the university I think it is the characters are likely aware their professor is a dragon and one of the worlds most powerful sourcerers and they all are likely at least loosely familiar magic so I think the prospect of being eaten or fried from a distance via ritual sourcery as a class project would deter the "fuck over the wizwyrm" plan.
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EKBT81
post May 26 2010, 08:23 PM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ May 26 2010, 03:50 PM) *
AFAIK, public education still exists, but is considered inferior to Corporate one. Universities and Colleges might still exist, or if bought up by the Corps, might still offer education to non-corporate citizens (at much higher costs of course).


There's also private non-corporate education. For example, today's Seattle University is a Jesuit university, although I haven't seen that referenced in game material.
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Neraph
post May 28 2010, 06:59 AM
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QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ May 26 2010, 12:37 PM) *
If it's the university I think it is the characters are likely aware their professor is a dragon and one of the worlds most powerful sourcerers and they all are likely at least loosely familiar magic so I think the prospect of being eaten or fried from a distance via ritual sourcery as a class project would deter the "fuck over the wizwyrm" plan.

Nah, not with synthahol in the picture. Maybe shortly after the bad dealing and right as the hangover kicks in, but not during the drunken stupor. Come on, these are college kids we're talking about. More specifically, college brats.
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Hagga
post May 28 2010, 07:43 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ May 26 2010, 05:36 PM) *
I like this part. A big, powerful dragon is trusting university students to recover a valuble item otherwise he'll be embarrassed around the other dragons. Do you people not watch anime?

This is what I postulate. The group finds said item. If they roleplay their University students, they will pawn it and use the money to indulge in all manner of drug use, prostitution, and drinking binges (mostly on the synthahol though). This is at least a likely outcome.

If, however, the group decides to play nice, they will return item to a dragon that clearly does not deserve whatever item it was he lost.

EDIT: If you really want to do a university campaign, a better idea would be to do a hazing ritual done wrong... with magic. The resulting spirits being freed on campus would be shut down by the group, and that would catch the dean's attention. Much better and more likely than a dragon turning to impulsive 20-year-olds to recover an expensive artifact.


Sitting in their dorm room, stoned out of their minds, mumbling, a pile of (dead? Unconcious?) prostitutes in the corner.. and then Dragon Dean turns up, asking very politely where his bonded item is. They offer him a hit from the bong. The dorm explodes.

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Smokeskin
post May 28 2010, 08:41 AM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ May 26 2010, 02:26 PM) *
Here in the UK one of the current fears around education is the prospect of corporate-sponsored academies taking over the education system and giving independent companies the ability to influence what our children learn as they grow up and the perspective they're given as a result.


That's just left-wing propaganda. In the real world, companies don't want anyone but the lowest rungs think in some pre-defined way. They want managers who think critically, who looks at corporation's practices and naturally thinks "this is probably not a very clever way to go about things and we should be looking for how to work smarter". The last management powerpoint slide I saw had one devoted to "Loyalty checks are DEADLY". Not in the sense that the manager failing it gets kicked out, but that corporations who use them fail to innovate and adapt, and that's what kills businesses.


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Smokeskin
post May 28 2010, 09:00 AM
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QUOTE (d1ng0d0g @ May 26 2010, 08:24 AM) *
That is that the players are having trouble envisioning characters who are being groomed to be upper-middle management or lower higher management of a corporation.


Isn't the problem just that characters like that are, from a SR or even any RPG perspective, probably pretty boring? Smart people who work hard in order to make loads of money, with a bright future ahead of them, and very little incentive to risk it by doing something illegal? Crime really isn't cool - lots of risk of ending up in jail or even dead, you'll never be safe and comfy in your lifestyle. You might very well not make that much money, and even if you do, you're going to have trouble spending it outside of criminal circles - yay surrounded by scum.

Smart people with good education are 99% sure that they'll have a good life, without ever having to deal with anything worse than a divorce and trying to keep their teenagers out of trouble. That should be easy enough to envision - the problem comes from envisioning that type of person going on dangerous missions for dragons.

How your player characters realizing this, trying to get out of the deal with the dragon and return to their normal life, only to be pressured back. Your classic law-abiding citizen forced into doing dangerous, illegal stuff - rich roleplaying lies there. Threaten to release evidence damning for their career or social life, threaten them with jail, or whatever. Of course, the dragon only has the best of intentions, but that doesn't mean it plays fair - never cut a deal with a dragon, right?
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post May 28 2010, 11:53 AM
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