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How strong are local governments in your games?

OK, it doesn't matter where you are, going to the DMV (Or equivilent) is going to be a horrendous experience, but what about the rest?

Military power, customs, treasury, investigative branches, spies, and so on?

Do you play them at the same or slightly lesser strength they have today? Lower? Or just pawns for the Corporations? Or some combination thereof?
Depends on the government. I've never played in a game set past around 2061 or so, but all my games have been globe-trotters, so it varies all over the place.

Basically, read a bunch of political theory writings that point out the flaws of extreme Libertarian politics, then push it past that. There's your average government, existing pretty much because the corporations don't want to bother collecting garbage and fixing the streets (CAS, UCAS, Japan, a good chunk of Europe and Asia).

After that, go read A Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451...throw in Machiavelli in the middle...then read a bunch of Tolkien, Spenser (poet, not hardboiled detective series), etc. Throw all those ideas in a blender and hit frappe. That's the Tirs.

Go read radical environmentalist websites (Think PETA : ALF :: Greenpeace : These jokers)...add dragons...that's Amazonia.

Read Aztech mythology and Lovecraft, throwing in the totalitarian and Libertarian stuff from above as well as the doomsaying from the radical environmentalists...that's Aztlan.

See if you can dig up some old turn-of-the-century communist and union papers and their doomsaying...stuff from the 1900-1920 era, especially when they're writing about the railroads, factories, Standard Oil, etc. That's what corporations act like.

Want to know what Lone Star/Knight Errant act like? Look up the strike busting done by the Pinkertons around the same era.

Plus ca change and all that...
Good answer.

And I gotta love Greenwar. nyahnyah.gif
I think in general, it becomes more 'difficult' in modern SR times for the full weight of any force to be brought to bear on opponents. I guess I work under the premise that part of the reason Shadowrunners can actually exist is that because of the precedence of SO many powerful groups, they cast..well...big shadows when they bump into each other. The factionalism we see in real life is further exploded in the SR setting.

On the other hand, if you've sufficiently managed to piss off just enough of the big guys, they will occasionally get their shit together and drop the hammer on you from orbit. In general though, while any corp is king of its own pond, and can field whatever it wants, it has more difficulty letting that loose off their own property. Local powers tend to also be in contention with each other, or in the pocket of someone else.

Even moreso than today, I see local settings as almost personal kingdoms for whoever's in charge. Brackhaven in Seattle for example. Arguably part of UCAS, but it seems more a lip service. He's got his humanis ties, Ares connections, etc etc.

Basically, any power is as powerful as it can be, as it can get away with. Sure there's a military in Seattle with tanks and attack choppers and milspec armored guys with crazy military weaponry, but they can't just run loose, unless they can get away with it.
LOCAL governments? Well, the UCAS is pretty clearly a federalist state. The local governments have little, if any power, except administrative duties. They'll have a tiny local police force, maybe a national guard unit, branches for registration & inspections, treasury, forms & census, welfare & benefits, and probably a few other odds and sods - with much of those actual duties off-shored to corporations who can do it for less. The DMV is almost certainly corporate-run behind a government front. It's understaffed, the fines and fees are ridiculous, and it's hugely inefficient - but it makes money. The local government would only manage the actual administration level of this administrative public service. I imagine 50% of local government employees are contractor specialists nyahnyah.gif

The CAS is very different. The CAS is clearly an anti-federalist state, and strongly anti-corporate, so the state and local governments are quite strong. They'll have substantial legislative, executive and judicial duties, and do a lot more of this work themselves. I'm sure it's still inefficient as all get out, but at least you know they're not paid to be inefficient.

A place like Atzlan, the local government is probably like the local government in the USSR - government by cronies, where everyone is either a friend of, or desperately afraid of, the federal government officials. The line between the two is basically just one of terminology.
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