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Corporate RP Orientation Handbook
Welcome to the world of topside intrigue!

Congratulations! You've decided to move up in the cutthroat world of Withmore and applied to a corporate position! Please take note of your benefits package, grab your encryptions, and mind the pool of blood on the floor from your predecessor!

Considering the recent discourse on what topside is and isn't, I thought people would appreciate something to help frame their mindset when approaching topside RP, whether as a current or future corpie, or a Mixer looking to interact. The following is merely a list of guidelines and expectations for topside RP, all of which are generalizations and hopefully vague, so please bear that in mind before spouting ACKSHUALLY or expounding too much on things that are better left FOIC. A lot of the intrigue to corporate RP is, surprisingly, the intrigue itself. So no spoilers, please, and mind the gap before jumping in about exceptions. Ready? No? Well fuck it, here we go anyway.


#1 Passivity breeds stagnation, stagnation breeds boredom

Extended metaphor time!

Topside is crazy 4D chess with multiple players and pieces on the board. And the players are pieces as well! However, chess is a long and drawn out game, hinging on careful decision making with long term plans in the future. Much less, the idea of turns is thrown out the window and you might get skipped entirely. It is a patient and methodical game, sometimes involving waiting for the right opportunity to move certain pieces... but that doesn't mean you can't move others in the interim...

What does this mean for a corpie? If you're not moving pieces, you're still part of the game. Other people can and will move pieces, a lot of the time with you unaware, even if you're the piece being moved. And corpies aren't the only pieces on the board!

Find out the rules to the game, even if it means being a pawn for a while. You might just make it to the other side of the board and become a queen!

#2 You are not your job

But HolyChrome, I am but a lowly nanogenic researcher or requisitions specialist. What can I do? Good question! A lot! "You are not your job" is a two-fold statement.

The first being not to expect jumping in as CorpSec will suddenly enter you into the field of crazy bullshit SpecOps. If you think by taking a role such as biotech, the GMs will flood you with hours of RP as you synthesize polymers, you're going to have a bad time. Occasionally, there are GM plots which will spurn you, but if you're hoping to sit on your hands and be handed the chance to get a promotion, it'll likely end worse for you. This isn't to say that some jobs -don't- supply more RP, but those also take a certain mindset and dedication to them. Some people get to use their skills more than others, but this is a very important fact of topside to remember.

The second part is that you are not a mindless drone. Don't be another NPC. Your character should have goals outside your job and even you corp. As reinforced by staff frequently lately, NPCs will tell you to do or not to do a variety of things. It's your choice whether to listen... and when you don't, that's plot!

Mileage -will- vary depending on what type of player you are, the job you choose, and what corp you end up in. But in the end, it's in your hands how you decide to act.

#3 Expectations are everything

A subject about expecting expectations concerning your own expectations? How meta...

One place I see many PCs get hung up on are pipe dreams they don't know are pipe dreams yet. Topside is obviously full of world changing potential, PCs recognize this, and get discouraged that the GMs don't want to let them build a brand new type of aero, create their own clone competitor to Genetek, or expand RePet to include cats, snakes, and velociraptors.

Or they approach the GMs with feasible concepts, but are shot down because they're not aware of extenuating circumstances, like being able to hit another faction but because of the low PC presence there, it wouldn't actually be any fun for anyone involved.

There's absolutely a "secret language" that comes to knowing how to thrive topside, and it all comes with experience and learning it through failures. Not just making attempts of certain actions, but also discussing them with NPCs. While there are many veteran topside players around, I also understand other PCs being apprehensive about approaching these supposed sharks. Which is why there's other resources to find out how to scheme. Simple tricks like knowing which NPC to puppet-request to cover a potential five different others is a great example. Or how plots that involve the creation of a whole new set of objects/place, or extensive puppeting, generally don't get approval. Or preparing your notes, puppet requests, and proposal in such a way that you only need to potentially answer a few minor questions and get a yes or no. GMs are more than willing to hear out your ideas and also tell you why they won't work.

Find out what's possible by trying. Bookending this where we began, passivity will not lead you to discovering things. And assuming the GMs will come along and hand them to you won't help you in the long run either.


Thank you all for reading this and I hope it helps inspire people. I'm sure some of these can help Mixer players feeling stuck in a rut as well. Again, all vague generalizations and if anyone would like to contribute with their own bits of wisdom, please keep this trend.

10/10 it's politics, not everyone's gonna like it.
Good points and well said.

Reading between the lines on your first point with the 4D chess analogy, I got "Take a leap of faith that someone will make use of you."

Is that accurate?


Very much so. Topside doesn't have the sort of tangible minor jobs to hand out that the Mix has (and I'm sure you of all people know what I mean by this) but that's part of the design.

"Player GMs" are a concept you'll hear thrown out every so often, and experienced ones will make use of people who give them hooks to use them. The latter part is vastly important. Being a Player GM is a similar labor of love to being a regular GM, and they're serving their pawns by giving them plot.

For hopeful pawns, look at #1. Give someone a reason to hire you. Show your hand a little. Show you're willing to get dirty. You likely fit into their plans somewhere, or they'll be inspired to place you in them.

For player GMs, see point #3 on learning what you can potentially give people. For player GMs struggling to find jobs to give out, start grooming the pawns you've been training and delegate things out.

Also take a leap of faith that you can put others to use. Start small, try things on for size, see what grows.

Topside can be an opportunity to play a lot more creatively than the Mix.

(Not to say you can't play extremely creatively in the Mix. Of course you can. Topside practically demands it, if you're not going to just play horny sararidrone and call it a day.)

Don't be afraid to approach the sharks either - they don't always bite. While mileage may vary, my experience seeking mentors was surprisingly pleasant - maybe you will be surprised as well, huh?
In character, there's a certain resource as well. I wish I could be more direct here in identifying it. But it's a resource which is available to anybody at any time and outlines quite a lot of the "expectations" material, and even more than what was spelled out here (great work, HolyChrome).

This particular resource and the material contained within it could become an IC standard reference, for people like orienters, helpers and welcomers to point to. Its title could become a shorthand jargon for representing the entirety of corporate-culture expectations. (I'm not saying it actually contains the entirety, there are always going to be certain less-prominent or less-revealed details, but it can represent the whole subject of corporate conformity and success factors.)

Example, an immigrant planning to try to enter corporate employment could be told by their supporters, or by their HR rep, "Be sure you familiarize yourself with *** **** ******* if you want to be recognized for contributing to your corporation's success."

A new hire could be made to state that they have done so.

Corpies who "slip" or present the appearance of slipping could be briefly warned, "Are you remembering the **** *******, Mr. Wing?"

Of a scandalized baka who falls, it could be said "Poor bitch got buried under the **** *******."

You see how I think this could very easily and quickly influence IC culture in the direction we're looking for here.

Let's have a show of hands: I'm curious whether anyone (without specifically revealing it) knows or suspects which IC resource I'm referring to?

I think whether or not we know of its existence ICly is giving away IC info.
Fair. I guess I stepped in that one, myself, already.