Master Mines

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Decommissioned: The Language of the Book

I’m readying myself to do some unsexy writing, as Ryan called in an episode of Master Plan.  I’ve decided it is time to write up a playtest draft of Decommissioned in its current state.

Part of the playtest draft will be my attempt to describe the world of D-Com.  In doing so, I want to package the norms of corporate life into a satire that can be easily seen and understood by the audience.  I also want to emphasize the dehumanization of corporations as color to the setting.

Here are some of my language rules for writing the book

1.  The player character will not be referred to with pronouns or descriptors connoting humanity, gender or life.  PCs are units, tools of the corporations.

  • The PC is an “it”, not a “he” or “she”.
  • It does not “live”, it “functions” or “operates” or perhaps “exists”.
  • It does not “feel” or “hurt”, it “processes” or “computes”

2.  The Corporation will be described using as many pieces of corporate jargon as possible

  • Acronyms will be used to describe groups, agendas, policies or areas within The Corporation.
  • Catch Phrases will be frequently shaped into programs or efforts within the company.  The super bonus is an acronym that is also a catch phrase
  • Indirect, “HR-friendly” language will be used for anything potentially controversial.  When employees are killed, they will be referred to as “no longer with the company”.
  • Enemies will be referred to as “competitors” or simply “the competition”

3.  I want to create a few new phrases, a kind of D-Com jargon.  Nothing too complex like Shadowrun or Planescape, but a few words that set D-Com apart.  I’m looking for anything that has a business marketing feel to it, like “upside” or “net-net”, but unique.

Questions:

* Do you have any rules to add?  What other language within a corporation should be satirized?

* What do you think about my goals for language used within the book?  Will this make the game silly, or does it give it a feeling of sickly sweet dread like I want?

* Does it look like it would work? By that, I’m asking, would gamers dig this?

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April 26, 2008 - Posted by | D-Com

4 Comments »

  1. Rich,

    I think this is a cool idea. I would try to avoid doing “too good” of a job with it, though, and winding up with something that’s frustrating to read. I hope that doesn’t sound too negative and I’m afraid the internet might rob me of the tone I’m trying to achieve here.

    It’s interesting to me that you’re writing a draft so early. I playtested for about a year before I felt confident enough to write up text.

    Comment by robertbohl | April 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Rob,

    I think I get what you mean. “Avoid parody so close to source that it doesn’t entertain or inspire, but instead frsutrates?” Right?

    Rich

    Comment by orklord | April 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. Exactly.

    Comment by robertbohl | April 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. Good advice, then. Thanks.

    Comment by orklord | April 27, 2008 | Reply


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