Wednesday, 8 January 2014

New Project - 4th Corporate War. Part 1 - Background

I have always been a big fan of the R. Talsorian RPG Cyberpunk 2020. I ran a very long and successful campaign over a number of years, taking my players from the US, through Europe on the Eurotour, a long chase after one of the players contacts across the UK as it transitioned from Martial Law to hidden Corporate Law, and then back to the US for the cross continent chase that was Land of the Free.

Our group broke up just as RTG released the first of the 4th Corporate War books, Firestorm: Stormfront, which was a shame, as it had some really excellent stuff in it. Stormfront details a conflict between two of the lesser corporations of the Cyberpunk world, OTEC and CINO, as they fight over the remains of a third corporation, IHAG.

This portion of the nascent corporate war is known as the Oceanwar, as it takes place below the sea. It apparently used a lot of the previously unreleased material from a cancelled supplement called O-Zone. In this phase of the war both corporations are trying to gain control of as much of IHAG's real estate as they can, protect their own stoof and also weaken the opposition. Both corporations start to use special operations troops, hired as freelancers from the two biggest, baddest corporations on the block: Militech and Arasaka.

Militech is a US based weapons manufacturing and security corporation. Think Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, Blackwater, Executive Action and basically the whole industrial part of the military-industrial combine privatised and run by one bombastic, bullish, ego-maniacal hyper-patriot who wants to see the US dominate the whole world (the CP2020 world is iconic, but never claims to be realistic).

Arasaka is a Pacific Rim based security and weapons manufacturing corporation. Think Blackwater, Executive Action, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics and basically the whole industrial part of the military-industrial combine privatised and run by one vicious, neo-Samurai with a twisted code of Bushido honour that hates the US for the damage done to his homeland (the CP2020 world never claims to be realistic, but is iconic).

See what I did there?

The next phase of the war was the Shadow War. As the special ops teams started to strike directly at OTEC and CINO offices on land, they inevitably started crossing paths with Militech or Arasaka regulars, instead of going up against other SPECOPS teams. At some point the strikes started being less about OTEC and CINO, and more about Militech vs Arasaka. The shadow war is fought by spies and prowling assassins, blacked out vans snatching people off streets and tricked out, smart wired, electro-thermal-chemical enhanced sniper rifles firing fin guided ramjet micro sabot shells with armour-piercing explosive payloads over thousands of meters.

Eventually the Shadow War became more overt, and Militech and Arasaka start to target each other directly and in the open. They begin to field troops on city streets in defiance of the local and national governments. In Japan, Militech is quickly exterminated, as Arasaka pretty much IS the police, in Europe (which is a golden paradise compared to the rest of the world (except Britain, because we're contrary)) both sides are warned once, then stomped on by the European elite. The rest of the world, however, is turned into a battleground.

Whilst I can see the fun in some underwater fighter-sub-vs-fighter-sub battles (using modified Silent Death, maybe?) and sneaky-sneaky assassinations missions, the real war gaming potential is in the open warfare in the  second book of the series, Shockwave. Much of the action in Cyberpunk is set in the fictional Californian metropolis known as Night City, situated between LA and San Francisco.

Night City was covered in a ridiculously detailed handbook that had an entry for every building on the map above, and multiple entries for some buildings. This is the map I'm planning to use for a 4th Corporate war game.

Next time I'll talk about gaming and campaign rules, figures and terrain.