How to make a cosmetics company a interesting run target?

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« on: (00:32:15/12-03-17) »
I came up with a corp for PCs to do runs against if I ever get Shadowrun. The basic concept is a cosmetics company called Siren that is based in Athens, Greece. My question is how could a cosmetics company make for a interesting foe for Shadowrunners?


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« Reply #1 on: (00:52:35/12-03-17) »
Cosmetics are made from God-knows-what chemicals and biological products, some of which are banned in certain parts of the world for various reasons (toxicity, being derived from endangered species, etc.).

You're basically sending your PCs into the Acme Chemical plant from Batman (1989).

Eric da MAJ

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« Reply #2 on: (02:43:00/12-03-17) »
- The company might have stumbled across a chemical combo more useful for other applications - poison, antidote, drug

- It might be a hidden subsidiary of a AAA

- It might be experimenting on animals - or metahumans

- It might be a front for developing something entirely different

- It might be a money laundering front for an organized crime syndicate or policlub

- It might be fighting to stay independent of a AAA - or on the verge of bankruptcy and hoping the AAA will buy it

- It might be run by a cruel hag who wants to branch out into puppy based fur coats (OK I'm reaching)


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« Reply #3 on: (10:47:49/12-03-17) »
Oh lord, there're dozens of ways. Depends on what you want to do, really.

Want to make 'em evil? Animal testing triggers quick reactions. Toss in some rabbits that are lumpy with tumors, chemically-blinded dogs, etc, and the players will go from "Meh, just a corp" to, "We're blowing this place into kindling."

Need to make 'em big? The cosmetics industry is big, but spin it as a subsidiary for a beauty empire (Publishes magazines, beauty tips, reviews fashion, heck, has a line of fashion, etc) and you get several angles where they can be re-used.

Need to make them influential? In addition to just having money, they can use their publishing arm and rumormill to savage people. A simple "Whjo's hot, who's not" regular feature or Enquirer-style candid shot-stalking can smear someone's reputation easily while good photo ops (Swing by our soup kitchen, go on our fashion shoot to remote backwater with gorgeous coast and take a few shots helping the starving kids there) can build someone up.

Scads more. What do you want to do, then we can figure out the how. :)


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« Reply #4 on: (11:38:09/12-03-17) »
Why stop with animal subjects? It's a cyberpunk dystopia, they can totally have whole pens of chemically-scarred metahumans caged up somewhere to test their products. They might even participate in human trafficking to get their test stock.

They could have found that some of their failed products led to horrifying alterations in subjects' physiology or psychology, leading them to take steps into bio-engineering/life sciences as well cosmetics.

There's also the matter of silencing potential critics, which they could have their hands in.


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  • Omae
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« Reply #5 on: (13:00:08/12-03-17) »
Public image is especially important to a cosmetic company. Runners could be hired to conduct a smear campaign against the company, its officers, or its spokesmodel. The spokesmodel makes an especially interesting target for various jobs that could also serve as moral quandaries for the runners ... embroil them in a scandal? Kidnap/extraction? Suppose they're hired to assassinate the model, or worse ó permanently disable/disfigure them? Does it make a difference if the model is a particularly good or bad person? Turn that around ... suppose the spokesmodel was badly disfigured months ago (by accident? rival runners?), and the company hushed it up and has been using a virtual model since ó a major no-no in the cosmetics biz. Maybe the runners are hired by a rival to expose the scandal, or by someone in the same company to clean up the mess internally ... stage a spectacular public demise for the virtual model, and quiet "accidents" for everyone involved in the cover-up. Especially when the corp has substantial life insurance policies on the model, and smaller but still significant ones on their marketing execs.


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« Reply #6 on: (13:40:09/12-03-17) »
If you wanted to get super interesting, you could have the cosmetics be magical somehow (i.e. they give a Charisma bump or something.) IIRC the 4E fashion book had some stuff like that, and it's certainly something that Corps would fight over.


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  • Omae
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« Reply #7 on: (23:38:28/12-06-17) »
Many good ideas! 8)
If you need a magical spin, have the corp use a magical compound that has unintended or intended affects.
To tie it in to existing canon, you could have them use nanotech processes. Or perhaps this is a CFD related issue - perhaps working to grow the CFD community.

Other ideas:
* one cosmetic corp hires a team to sabotage or steal forrmulas
* extra security for a PR stunt they have setup
* a string of murders lead to this corp's facility, an formula scientist has been making genetic poisons that only affect a specific target....


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« Reply #8 on: (06:31:06/12-07-17) »
For a bit of an ethical conundrum the new line of age defying makeup includes a secret ingredient, vampire blood. The vampires are perpetually tortured and chained.


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« Reply #9 on: (09:31:03/12-07-17) »
For a bit of an ethical conundrum the new line of age defying makeup includes a secret ingredient, vampire blood. The vampires are perpetually tortured and chained.
That... actually came up in the Kurtherian Gambit books. Some corporate big wigs captured a vampire, found out that drinking their blood had awesome anti-aging and healing benefits, and began capturing more to fill blood farms to support the elite.
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Mr. Black

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« Reply #10 on: (06:44:28/12-14-17) »
For theme and flavor, you can use Umbrella Corp, which is a cosmetic company (among other things). Hedare Beauty was also a cosmetic company (the evil company from Catwoman). For those that want to harm a cosmetic company, the Jokerís campaign in Burtonís first Batman movie could be a guide. Whether it is a guide for the players to use against the Corp, or an action plan the players need to stop is up to you.