Writing Corporations Is Tricky And Creatively Demanding The More You Try To Do Them Justice

Normally, I find item lists one of the more tedious lists of writing an RPG. And I suspect many other RPG writers out there do so as well. I mean, why else is a game’s list of items usually just a list of weapons and armour, right? The Item list is one of the things I’m attempt at the minute to write for Big Damn Dryden at the moment. For the most part, I’ve been able to draw on a wide range of Big Damn Sci-Fi books to get a varied list of equipment. But then… we get to the Corporations. I don’t know about other nations, but Australia is notoriously brand-tribal. By brand-tribal, I’m referring to the deep brand loyalty Australians express on no conceivable value other than the products of a particular manufacturer somehow give them the impression that this product is better than their direct competition. Ford versus Holden, for instance, Marvel versus DC, Maccas versus Hungry Jacks, Disney cartoons versus Warner Brothers, AFL versus NRL, Prime versus Win, ABC versus SBS, Coke versus Pepsi, VB versus Carlton… ostensibly, the companies are making the same types of product and in a highly similar manner and there are pros and cons to be argued for one, the other, or both. But at the end of the day the choice is somewhat arbitrary, personal, but ultimately fanatically defended as the ultimate, one and only, valid choice.

For Big Damn Dryden I’ve been trying to build in this sense of branding and brand identity by creating three variants of each item, based on the production of each of the major corporations. On the face of it, each of the Corporations in Dryden largely produce the same types of product, but each Corporation has their own identity, history and reputation that I want reflected in the items characters purchase from them. Syrch is your archetypical evil corporation, for instance, so their items get to be cheaper but less effective. Terra is noted for their cybernetics and star ships so their items of that type get to be a little more expensive and more effective. Lin is the old steady ground, so their items form the baseline from which the others are derived. For the most part, the differences aren’t great but they are characterful…

The tricky and creative part is to give each Corporation not only brand-named variants of each item but to give them branding conventions, reflecting the varied character of their marketing teams (again, building the feeling that the corporations are actually corporations worried about profit margins, with varied departments). The branding convention bit… well, that’s been an interesting series of thought processes. And its seen me spend some time with a few of the Dryden stories. For the most part, Terra gets a three litter acronym, Lin a name from mythology or history, and Syrch a letter-number combo barcode.

Writing Corporations Is Tricky And Creatively Demanding The More You Try To Do Them Justice

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