In the year 2187, humanity has fully recovered from the turbulence and trauma of the Century of Catastrophes. The nation-states and political movements that have caused so much misery and suffering throughout human history have been replaced with a more efficient system. Human society does not need government, it merely needs supervision. The old names of countries are part of history, and only a few diehards still cluster according to bloodlines and ethnic identities: to all intents and purposes humanity en masse is in the ownership of the three great self-sufficient conglomerates: Tagaro, NEO and Mammon Inc.
Each conglomerate is strongly hierarchized, with the lower levels knowing and caring little of what goes on higher up. In Mammon Inc, these levels are called Merits, as they are awarded to those who perform well for the business. People on Merits 1 to 10 (which are further subdivided into decimals) are Subs - short for subunits, as they are the smallest unit of Mammon Inc's resources - and are provided with their physical requirements,, habitation, entertainment and other necessities of life, including the spiritual. Subs form the vast majority of the world's population. They have a wide range of skills, training and capabilities, and provide staff for the service arms of the conglomerates - those tasks which are still deemed to require humans, such as staffing call centres, acting, supervising algae farms, medicine, reception and so on. In general these tasks are well performed, and everyone seems happy and competent in their job. Subs have few responsibilities - turning up for work and performing their duties to the best of their abilities is about the measure of it - and they are free to move from one conglomerate to another if they wish, by asking their desired employer to buy them out of Mammon Inc. In fact, competition between the conglomerates for Subs is rather fierce; although, because of the very similar incentive packages offered by the three, changes are infrequent.
The next set of Merits, 11 to 20, are broadly described as junior managers, and it is here that we find the player characters - all of whom must start the game with a Merit rating in this range. Many people in these middle ranks will be managers of one of the myriad operating companies which together make up Mammon Inc. For example, your character might run a computer software company, or a chemistry research lab, or a high-atmosphere salvage operation, or a theatre, or a transport company, or In general you will be exercising personal control over a discrete chunk of Mammon Inc's resources, including human resources. Most of these operating companies were once independent business entities, and many have long and interesting histories, but once the tide of conglomeration became irresistible their owners saw it was best to be swept along rather than swept away: and now they are as loyal an asset of Mammon Inc as any other.
Not all player characters will be managers, though, because Mammon Inc also has other responsible roles which it rewards well. Talented researchers, performers and artists, the true stars, are given enhanced Merit status. Commanders of security units - internal and external - are of course rewarded for their dedication to Mammon Inc's preservation, as are agents of the conglomerate's intelligence services. Pioneering pilots, relied on by the orbital stations to react swiftly and effectively to the risks of space, are likewise recognized. Assets of this great value to Mammon Inc, of course, cannot freely change employer in the same way that Subs can: a mind or memory wipe would be the most likely procedure in such a rare eventuality.
One thing is for sure, though: although you may not realize it in character, the reason that you have been instructed to attend the Special Merit Award Briefing which will start off Turn 1 of the game is because you have been carefully selected by the Mammon Inc personnel computers. You have the potential in you, they believe, to one day lead and direct the conglomerate itself, from the giddiest of senior Merits - currently occupied by persons whose bare existence you currently only just have reason to deduce. But if you are to achieve such giddy heights, while continuing to shine in your current post, you will have to prove yourself - as a leader, and as a team player - as a brilliant originator, and as a dedicated striver - as an individual visionary, and as a servant of the greater good of your fellows, of Mammon Inc, and of humanity as a whole. And you will have competitors
We'd like characters in by midnight on January 10th, please, so that we can run Turn 1 that week. After that, deadlines will be every four weeks. Playing the game costs £4.00 per turn to receive results by email, or £4.50 to receive them by post - you can send in your orders by whichever medium you prefer. See the end of this rulebook for the appropriate addresses etc.
We've set up an email discussion list, on which we'll be making announcements about Mammon Inc, and answering players' questions. We strongly advise that anyone who's got email access should sign up to it. If you don't have email access, don't worry, you won't miss out on any of the information, but it will take longer to get to you. If the similar list we ran for Inferno is anything to go by, traffic won't be too heavy most of the time, although there will probably be a few busy days near the beginning especially.
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