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A player wants to work for EVO knowing the corp has a great reputation as an employer (according to Corporate Guide) and they have a great tolerance of technomancers. As part of the day job disadvantage, my player (who is a technomancer) wanted to be a skillsoft programmer at EVO and he would be using openly his technomancy skills to make the best of his job.

Another player found this disadvantage to be worth the points so he decided to play as a bodyguard for a megacorp executive for Ares. As a Street Sam he thought adding the guy as a contact (excellent connections, good loyalty since he saved his life a couple of time and they share a lot of interests etc.) would give him the chance to get access to some prototype or interesting cyber.

Now my question: Should this be allowed and if yes, how can I make it feel like a disadvantage to be working for a megacorp?

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It depends; are the players actually making balanced characters? I had one player once who made a contact who was a full-on pirate king/demigod/initiated magician/messiah for all of mankind as needed by the story, and it really got in the way of running a real Shadowrun game. Especially for the bodyguard, vet his contacts-he can't get Deltaware any faster than the other players, even if he has a slight advantage courtesy of his contact, he'll still probably need to dish out some cash for it. –  Kyle Willey May 24 '13 at 19:16
    
An alternative is that you may force the Street Sam to take cyberware he doesn't want, eating his precious bodily fluids, er, Essence. –  Kyle Willey May 24 '13 at 19:18
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Why would you want to role-play going to the office? –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 24 '13 at 21:47
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Sometimes after a long day of adventuring you just need to take a load off, you know? –  PeterL May 24 '13 at 21:57
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5 Answers

up vote 32 down vote accepted

If you feel it's not going to constrain the sorts of adventures you provide for the PCs, it seems reasonable to allow it. But you'll want to keep in mind the fact that employers (particularly megacorps) will demand a lot from PCs:

  • Conflicts of interest will not be allowed. If you work for Ares, a Mr. Johnson working for Aztech hires you, and one way or another word gets back to Ares, you might not just be fired, you might be fired after a rather serious grilling from Ares Internal Security, complete with unfortunate physical and emotional side-effects.

  • Your time is not your own. Your day job becomes a day and night job when there's a deadline that must be met, or a corporate emergency to be managed. Remember how you were going to meet with your Fixer to discuss your next op? Not gonna happen, because you'll be busy cleaning up the bad code someone else created as part of the latest release of your corp's biggest moneymaking skillsoft.

  • You're not exactly rested and ready for action. Even if you're not working overtime, working a day job and running jobs on the side means you're going to get worn down. That will affect your ability to manage your day job as well as your ability to perform as a Shadowrunner.

  • Uh, Bert, why is your ear missing? Megacorps value conformity and adherence to rules. If you get on the wrong side of law enforcement, or if you wind up being treated by DocWagon under odd circumstances, questions will be asked. Should you really have that high-level security clearance? What are you doing with your spare time? Are your values really a good fit for this megacorp?

On the Shadowrunning side, anyone doing business with the Runners will know they work for megacorps. Questions will immediately surface:

  • How do I know your day job at Ares isn't just a cover? How do I know you don't work for Ares Covert Ops?

  • If things go sideways, can I count on you to do anything and everything necessary to pull off the job? You have a day job, so you're not fully invested in this. You could give up at any time and go back to your 9 to 5 gig.

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+1 great answer, Erik. I've written an addendum to it in a separate answer (wanted to put it in a simple comment here, but it proved too long for that.) –  OpaCitiZen May 24 '13 at 19:30
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When Ares fires you, it can be with a gun, I suppose. –  Flamma May 24 '13 at 23:42
    
@Flamma In Ares Corporation, Gun fires you ! –  Nigralbus Jul 12 '13 at 13:47
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Day jobs in general require special consideration.

I've found the Day Job flaw to be one that is easily abused; most of my characters when I'm playing in someone else's game have them. I'd consider special qualities before working for a megacorporation.

  • Reputation. This sounds a little weird, but I'd make them take the Fame flaw in addition. Why? First, it models the fact that they'll be more recognizable to security forces everywhere, but also if they'e a wiz-drek whatever-they-do they'll be making more than a piddly [insert starting tier Day Job nuyen] per month, which is also increased by the Fame thing.
  • SIN. Corps don't hire punks. You need a good ID; if you're exceptional you might pass with a Criminal SIN, but you'll probably have a standard one to get a job at, say, Ares.
  • Is it a choice? One thing I ask when people want a day-job is whether they get to work at Super McNice Publicly Minded Friendly Corporation. I reserve a lot of rights at my table, so I often pull a lot of stuff, but if my players want to work outside a nameless or asset-less position they need a pretty good reason. Sure, you can work for Evo. As a janitor. Want to be a branch manager of a Stuffer Shack?
    • The alternative to forcing them into a role is having them be "extracted" by a hostile megacorporation. This is a great story hook as well.

In addition, I'd consider other things to count into play:

  • Working. Believe it or not, most players don't consider this when it comes up. What happens when the phone call telling them they need to get down to work now comes in?
  • Injuries and healing. As Erik mentioned, you'll often wind up with visible scars or long-term hospitalization as a runner.
  • Criminal records. Say good-bye to that job, and you're also in a place where KE/The Star knows you will be.
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I love your points about Rep and SIN. One of the great things about being SIN-less is that you can pass through the cracks without a trace, but in the corp world lack of a SIN marks you as immediately suspect. –  Erik Schmidt May 24 '13 at 19:31
    
I have to say that the "Injruies" section strikes a bell. Especially if you remember Fight Club ("Yes, these are injuries from fighting") –  CatLord May 25 '13 at 3:01
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A simple addendum to the other answers:

...furthermore, you'll be subject to constant security screenings. Your actions and contacts will be monitored practically all the time by internal security, no matter how great buddies you are with (practically) anyone in the corp. In fact, if you're on friendly terms with or simply work close to anyone powerful or any sensitive data (source), you'll be tracked & watched even more closely.

Yes, you'll probably be tested too: agents of internal affairs will approach you undercover, and offer you runs, data etc. They'll try to compromise you, simply to weed out anything dangerous to the corp. Once proven a weak link, you'll either be subject to legal or other retaliation... or you'll be left unaware, but you'll be used as an expendable distraction (a source of misinformation for rivals, decoy for rival runners, a scapegoat etc.)

Also, if you get any new tech from the corp, it will be bugged, in your own best interest. It'll be bugged doubly: there will be the bugs you'll be told about contractually (you'll be legally forbidden to disable them)... and the rest.

Good luck. :]

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+1 for the point about internal affairs testing you constantly –  Erik Schmidt May 24 '13 at 19:29
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All these answers are very useful, I just wanted to add something about the SIN : not having a SIN isn't just "suspect", it's illegal : SINless can't rent flat, have bank account, access medical care, etc... They're non-existant in the eyes of the law. You could find an employer agreeing to pay you with a credstick, but corporations most likely won't.

So you have two choices :

  1. You're OK with a real SIN : so now every government and megacorporation know your DNA, voice/eye/finger prints, what you buy, where you go, where you live, when you go to the hospital and what for...

  2. Now, if you decide to go the other way, buy a strong fake SIN, but remember that if it's compromised (associated with criminal activities, including buying stuff from MCT if you work for NeoNET) or worse, if it's spotted as fake during a control (in which case it'll probably be erased or at best tagged as criminal) you'll need to replace it, and that means you could have to get a new job, even a new life.

Think of the Gattaca movie if you need inspiration about how hard it must be to live someone else life at work.

As a GM, I don't bother with all these considerations, but I would eventually if half of my players were going to work for AAAs.

Source : jackpoint's fluff (mostly Unwired, I think) and Cast Off your SINs

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A fun aspect of that particular dayjob could be the plot points. Say your character (fake SIN if needed) has a good enough job to have an expense account. They then become their stable's fixer for any jobs within that company, because that company would rather use a backdoor hire for certain clandestine jobs.

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