Every game needs competition, and games outside the traditional adventure dynamic often need them even more. A game like the one I’m planning certainly needs rivals for the characters, in addition to the unseen forces moving them around. The best opponents are those who rub all the wrong nerves of the character they’re up against while managing to not be two-dimensional caricatures; today, I’ll be laying out the opposition for the shock jock and their producer.
First up, we have the flashy rival of the octostar, a hyperelite socialite playboy whose wealth makes doing ridiculous and stupid stunts almost certain to end in resleeving into something that one does to pass the time on the weekend. Reginald Aldus III is the grandson of Reginald Aldus, a powerful and wealthy man with investments in several hypercorps, including Cognite and Skinthetic. While the grandfather owns the stock, his son sits on the boards of the companies in his stead, making sure the family interests are looked after. Both men – and Reginald III – have a marked similarity in their misogynistic and patriarchal views; while Sr and Jr are married, rumors abound that the old man’s beliefs have resulted in him forking into younger clones and declaring them his descendants, rather than risk mixing his genetics with anyone else.
It certainly seems believable with Reginald III, whose morph is almost a caricature of masculinity that matches his overblown braggadocio. Using his inheritance to ensure that the spotlight remains on him, he chases ever more extreme thrills and stunts – a hint that the ego in the youthful body may be suffering from the immortality blues. Still, he doesn’t take well to others challenging him for the spotlight, and has been rumored to be willing to hire hit squads to eliminate rivals. As he’s recently set up on Gerlach, he won’t take the arrival of a death-defying octmorph very well at all.
A second rival for the pair will be in the form of the media mogul Segal (who insists on simply being known as The Segal), a producer of XP and other media who uses indentures to produce shows that border on snuff and skirt the edges of legality in what the indentures go through as part of their contracts. When the BASE jumping events on Gerlach happen, Segal usually enrolls a dozen or so indentures in case morphs, all of them with contracts that put any damage to the morph on their contract. Segal also serves as the producer and marketer for Reginald III, even staging mock ambush attempts with the indentures to drive up the socialite’s media capital. Competition from a rival production team and an independent extreme stunt specialist will draw Segal’s ire fairly quickly.
Then there’s Rolf Sapien, a former relative of Halis Sapien of Octavia; a recently avowed exhuman who carefully toes the line of legality, Rolf relies on their shocking declaration to get the social capital they need to fund their transformation from transhuman to ‘actual’ exhuman, providing XP to the Gerlach networks from their increasingly alien viewpoint. They want nothing to do with Segal, seeing the other as a scavenger of the lives of others, something they are above. While not necessarily hostile to the duo the way Reginald and Segal will be, Rolf is unlikely to be pleased about another non-baseline XP feed infiltrating the local networks.
Lastly, Minerva X is an entertainment specialist from the Planetary Consortium, looking for fresh new talent to represent in more traditional entertainment channels, such as through Experia and other entertainment hypercorps. Of course, the contracts involved tend to border on extortionate, are filled with a great deal of constraining legalese, and attempt to foist all the costs off on the hopeful media stars. Several unfortunates are already in her stable of recruits, enough that she’s started to exercise her contract control (and attached incentives) to script out melodrama to feed back to Experia, free of any cost to herself.
These are just the primary four NPCs who will be causing trouble for the PCs in some form or another; two of them as primary direct antagonists for one of them, two of them spread between the two but primarily focused toward the skillset of one or the other as opposition that might be able to be recruited to mutually benefit each other if they want to try to go that route.
There are others, of course, but they’re not The Competition.
Until next time!