Friday, July 17, 2015

Venture Companies - the Venture in Venture! OR: Meet the Staff of the Southern Star Company

This is our first post in the "Fridays in AEthrem" series, where we'll be detailing another facet of Venture!'s setting each week, time permitting. Today, we're writing about venture companies, which play a big role in the world of AEthrem.

Venture companies first appeared during the colonial expansion into territories now belonging to modern-day Valerica. From their earliest days, venture companies were hired for the most dangerous work: exploring new territories, providing security for settlers or companies, or investigating mysteries on the frontier, where the government could provide little support. Their employees earned a reputation as hardy trailblazers and courageous fighters, and venture companies have had a part to play in many major historical events.

In the modern day, venture companies are still hired for risky endeavors. Although colonial expansion is a thing of the past, they are still considered the best option for academic expeditions to remote or hostile areas. Security is still a common job role for venture companies, and they might be hired on as extra guards in extreme circumstances or serve a more active role, such as hunting down pirates or other criminals in a region. Venture companies also provide private investigation services, much like a detective agency, but with a more diverse skill set.

Licensing is required for a venture company to legally operate. This provides some accountability for these businesses, and reduces the risk for those looking to hire them. Any venture company with a history of unsavory dealings or too many official complaints filed against them can have their license revoked at an annual review, so companies or employees engaging in bad business or getting in too much trouble with law enforcement do get closed down rather quickly. Licensing also offers these businesses certain advantages: the right to arm their employees, legal sanction to engage in private investigation and bounty hunting, and the immediate trust a well-established venture company can receive from potential clients.

Venture companies within the setting provide a ready-made reason for groups of player characters to exist. They tend to attract outcasts as employees, and have a need for a diverse set of skills and backgrounds. Tales of excitement and danger are part of the daily operation of these companies, providing a quick way to involve the player characters (as the staff) in any variety of stories. Planning an archaeological expedition deep in the jungle? Hire a venture company. Trying to track down the base of the sky pirates that have been raiding your shipping line? Hire a venture company. Stumped trying to solve a series of strange murders in the city? Hire a venture company.

We're going to close this post by looking at a sample venture company and its staff. The Southern Star Company is used as an example player group throughout the core rules, and shows what a typical group of player characters might look like in Venture!

The Southern Star Company is a newly-established venture company, based out of Koriden City. Its founder, Nell Carten, is still trying to build up the Southern Star's client base and reputation. Currently, she is taking on any job she can find, putting the young company front and center in one risky endeavor after another and providing just enough to pay the rent on the company's downtown office.

Nell Carten is a Koriden City native, raised in the dockside neighborhood alongside the Beglif twins. From a young age, she yearned to see the world, and learned to fly from her mother while listening to stories of the woman's experiences as an airship escort pilot for Dursmann Industries. As an adult, though, the limited route of an escort pilot wasn't enough for Nell, and she signed up with the Condracean Grey Legion to travel abroad at the earliest opportunity. Service in the Legion was dangerous, but it taught her to how to handle herself in a firefight and gave Nell the chance meet Bronnan during the evacuation of Ederif. Nell still despises the Ferridi after fighting their ruthless soldiers for every inch of that colony as the Legion fell back. While Nell technically earned her Condracean citizenship following her tour of duty, she's avoided that unstable nation, instead investing her pay by founding the Southern Star Company in her home city.

Tren Beglif is Lida's twin sister, born in Koriden City to Exelosian immigrants. He's never been able to stomach common work - not that anyone has been able to tolerate him as an employee for long. Instead, Tren has made a living off his wits and loose morals, running cons and gambling. The latter has earned him a huge debt to Blind Antali, a Kierre with the local Gavierna. After receiving his latest beating at the mobster's hands, Lida forced Tren to sign up with the new company of their childhood friend, Nell Carten. Tren resents his younger sister (by seven whole minutes) ordering him into the job, but he genuinely enjoys his work with the Southern Star Company, and his social talents there might finally get him out of the hole he's dug with Blind Antali.

Lida Beglif is the moral compass for her twin brother, Tren. While he was off getting into trouble with the local criminals, she joined the priesthood, becoming a member of the Peloric Church's Order of Technicians. Lida loved working with machines and helping the communities she visited as a part of her duties, but felt forced to take a temporary sabbatical upon hearing of her brother's latest run-in with the Gavierna. She has kept in touch with Nell Carten over the years, and agreed to sign on as a mechanic for the Southern Star Company provided Nell also hired Tren. Lida is very personable, like her brother, but lacks his duplicitous nature. She also tends to act like she knows whats best for everyone in the company, especially her twin brother.

Bronnan Mieriton has the official title of Duke of Aredral, a duchy in Thassyl. He gained the title upon his father's death, along with a stranger inheritance: a thandi pact handed down to the firstborn son of the Duke of Aredral for seven generations. Bronnan wants nothing to do with the scheming of the Thassylian nobility, and left his home country to travel the world just after being named Duke. Since then, he has mostly squandered his money and his mystic talents with a purely hedonistic existence. His story would have ended in tragedy when he was cornered by Ferridi troops during the evacuation of Ederif, if not for the timely arrival of Nell Carten. Since then, he has felt a debt to Nell for his life, and was the first to sign on with her new venture company when she decided to found it. Quint, the ryn holding Bronnan's pact, loves travel and new experiences, reveling in them with a childish glee - apparently it was kept on a tight leash by Bronnan's predecessors, and Quint wants to make up for lost time. Bronnan tolerates Quint stoically, though their personalities clash, the ryn grants the wayward noble with the ability to sneak past others without detection and makes him deadly in a fistfight.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.