This is another new organization for the June RPG Blog Carnival which I’m hosting here on the Expanding Frontier. I had originally thought I was going to write about my vision of the Galactic Task Force, Incorporated, which I am using in my current game, but decided that I would rather go with something completely new instead of an already established mega-corp in the setting. So I decided to write about “The Investors” a secret society I created as part of my Detailed Frontier Timeline project.
The Investors is a secret society composed of a number of the very, very wealthy citizens of the Frontier. They work behind the scenes on nearly all the worlds of the Frontier. Very few people outside the organization even know of its existence. Star Law has a slim file on the organization, and a few of the large mega-corps have some data, and a few planetary governments have some data, but beyond that, they are very obscure.
The society does not have an official name, the members just refer to themselves as “investors.”
Aims and Goals
The aims and goals of the organization can be summarized by two words, money and power. The organization exists to increase the wealth of its members and increase the power they have in influencing the operation of the Frontier economy.
The members of the society, while sometimes at odd with one another, and always in competition with each other, use their already considerable assets to influence businesses and governments in ways that will increase their personal wealth and make it possible for them to exert greater influence in the future.
An example of this recently in my Detailed Frontier Timeline is their acquisition of the Groth Energy Corporation on Groth in the Fromeltar system, the major power supplier on that world. First, they manipulated the finances of the company to force it into near bankruptcy. They then bought out the previous owners, and finally tripled energy prices on the planet. Since GE was the only power supplier to many portions of the planet, people either had to pay the new prices or go without power. At the same time, they started trying to buy up all the smaller energy producers as well. They were a little too rash, however, and many of the smaller energy providers banded together to form the Consolidated Nebula Energy Group to fight back.
As the society has grown, and due to its decentralized nature, sometimes the members find themselves working at cross purposes with other members. When this is discovered, they meet to discuss the best way forward that provides the greatest benefit to all. If there is ever a business conflict that seemed to be at a compete impasse and then suddenly resolved itself, sometimes in a completely unexpected manner, it may very well have been the investors behind the scenes making deals.
The society started at a country club on Triad in the Cassidine system, in 37 p.f. There was a gala event and three of the Frontier’s richest beings, including the then CEO of Pan Galactic Corporation, were commiserating with one another about all the laws and restrictions their respective planetary governments were placing on them. One of them joked that they should create an organization to invest in the right people to sway things in the direction they wanted. The idea stuck with them and by the end of the night, the three had formed a rough outline of how they would operate.
Over the years, the original three members felt out others around the Frontier with similar feelings and desires and the number of investors grew. While they are primarily a self-interested lot, not everything they do is necessarily bad. Fed up with the depredations of the pirate Hatzk Naar, the organization worked to facilitate the organization of the First Common Muster. The sathar invasion in the Truane’s Star system a few years later was definitely bad for business and the organization was instrumental in the speed at which the Second Common Muster happened, which allowed the sathar to be quickly defeated. And with the formation of the UPF, most of the new military contracts for the creation of Spacefleet and equipping Star Law went to businesses owned by members of the society.
Today, members of the society control, or at least exert strong influence over, nearly all the mega-corps and large planetary corporations. They have tendrils into almost all the governments of the Frontier with some of the members serving in those governments.
There are no more that a few dozen members of the society across the entire Frontier. You must have a net worth of over a billion credits to even be considered for membership and there just are not that many billionaires out there.
No single person within the organization knows all the members, or even the true names of all the members as they only interact through holovid communications and use aliases in their interactions. While a single member might know the true identity of a few other members, possibly the person who recruited them and those they may have recruited, the members are careful about not revealing their identities, even to other members of the society.
That said, due to the limited pool of possible recruits, it is sometimes possible to determine the identity of other members by the agendas that they support. And a few members openly share their identity to other members.
The membership contains representatives from nearly every major industry in the Frontier.
Recruitment is done slowly and carefully. As members interact with the other elite, wealthy citizens, they keep an ear out for those that are discontent with restrictions they are facing or which are limiting their opportunities. These contacts are nurtured and if they are deemed to have the right mindset and ethics, they are approached for membership, sometimes openly and sometimes indirectly.
There is no real hierarchy or formal organization to the society. In theory all members are equal. When conflicts arise or major decisions have to be made, they form committees consisting of the members affected by the activity to discuss and debate the issues and reach a decision.
Occasionally, some endeavors are so large in scope, that it requires a meeting of the entire society. These events are rare and are usually scheduled around major events on one of the core worlds that all the members would reasonably expect to travel for anyway. Even these major meetings are held remotely so as to preserve the anonymity of the members that wish to do so.
Despite there being no formal organizations, there are definitely clicks and power blocks within the organization. Most members are at least somewhat loyal to the member that recruited them and gave them access to the society. Other power groups form along industry lines or other areas of common interest. Some major decisions can take weeks to resolve as each group tries to influence things most favorably for themselves.
What do you think?
The society’s outline is fairly vague and nebulous. That is intentional. It is partially due to the fact that the society is still taking shape in my game and I haven’t decided exactly how and where I want to use it. But it is also partially to allow others to shape and use it in their games as they wish. This description paints broad strokes over the society’s operations and memberships but leaves the details for individual game masters to implement in ways specific to their campaign.
Let me know your thoughts on the society and how you might use such an organization in your game. And don’t forget to check out the other posts linked in the comments of the kickoff post of this month’s blog carnival to see what others are writing about on this month’s topic.