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Old 01-16-2019, 02:32 PM   #1
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Default What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

As the title says, the set of complementary and main skills that would be an indispensable requirement for a corporation to reach the status of extraterritoriality and subject of international law is sought.
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

Originally Posted by Alonsua View Post
As the title says, the set of complementary and main skills that would be an indispensable requirement for a corporation to reach the status of extraterritoriality and subject of international law is sought.
Complementary skills would only apply if the GM would allow a corporation's officers to make a single skill roll (or Quick Contest) with success (or victory) meaning the corporation was recognized as a sovereign state. I'm not sure that could happen at all in the current state of international law; but in any case, I think a GM who allowed it with one main skill roll, even at enormous penalties, would be insane.

Yes, you can take it as a premise if you want; it's no more extreme than the existence of Cthulhu or the Singularity or superpowered adventurers. But the backstory isn't "somebody made this one skill roll"; it's "this long and improbable series of events took place that would have made a campaign in itself."

Addendum: For example, in Atlas Shrugged, the United States is undergoing economic collapse and cultural decay, and the plot focuses on two characters who come to believe that there's a secret cause behind this and start investigating it—and they're right, in fact; that's the premise of the novel, "the mind on strike." But the prime mover of the collapse didn't make a single skill roll to cause it. In fact, when the novel starts, he's been at work for a decade, and when he started, he didn't know if he would live to see the fulfillment of his plans. You could run a campaign about him and his first two allies (rather than about the people trying to learn who he is and stop him), but it would be a campaign. And if you suppose, as the author did, that his efforts are the backstory, you still need to have a detailed backstory, and not reduce it to "he made his Propaganda roll." (In fact, the protagonists succeed in uncovering nearly all the events of that backstory, but not in seeins how they all fit together.)
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Last edited by whswhs; 01-16-2019 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

Making the sovereignty reside with the coorporation itself will be hard. You'd have to get a large number of nations to recognize you, which requires public opinion and having a pre-existing claim to some sort of sovereignty.

I'd favor taking over a small country, then moving your headquarters there. Note the order.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

A very good long term strategy, long term stability of the people controlling the corporation and will to succeed in the plan, tight control of the executive arm, the means to keep the plan a secret and a nearly unlimited budget are the factors to consider before moving onto skills IMO.

The exact skills are going to depend on what the plan is, what the corporation structure is and the game world.

Administration and Leadership are required just to run a corporation. Law, multiple disciplines, and Politics will be required to set up any kind of sovereign nation.

If you're plotting a violent coup on some Micronesian island, you will need a different skill set to say, slowly infiltrating the Vatican over a period of decades and installing your own Pope.

Note that the corporation does not need the owners to possess all relevant skills themselves, for example US Presidents order overseas military operations without neccessarily having skills such as Strategy or Guns: Rifle or Soldier or Pilot.

Last edited by mr beer; 01-16-2019 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

I'm going to attempt to keep this theoretical. No political parties have been named.

Using the US system as an example:

First off, you'd need an army of lobbyists making a series of Diplomacy rolls on at least a monthly basis, probably with TDMs from bribery, against the better of each federal legislator's Politics, Law (United States Corporate Law), or Market Analysis skills; the legislator would use the other two as complementary on the main skill he'd resist against. He'd also have TDMs based on the party line and whether it supports or goes against the platform he ran on.

The initial bill to change the law to support extraterritoriality inside US borders would then take shape with paralegals and other office writers hammering out the details with a series of Law (United States Corporate Law) and Writing rolls.

And then each legislator involved in the initial proposal would need to succeed at Public Speaking each time s/he delivered a speech about this. This is needed to get the House or the Senate to send the bill to committee for further consideration.

And this is where most bills die. Most never make it out of committee.

In the committee, the bill is debated using all sorts of Influence skills, complemented by Law (United States Constitution or United States Tax Laws), Market Analysis (for the projected impact of such a move on the economy), and similar skills. Legal clerks rewrite the bill using Writing (Legalese).

Assuming in the unlikely (but for the sake of argument not impossible) event that such a bill comes out of committee, the bill is then sent to the floor of the house that originated it. Public Speaking rolls are made, Politics and Influence rolls are made behind closed doors (resisted by Will and modified by personal viewpoint, party line on the issue, and its impact on the next election).

Then it's voted on. Should it pass, it's sent to the other House of Congress, where the process starting from voting to send it to committee is repeated.

Should both Houses of Congress agree to the same bill, it's send to the President for a signature or veto. Here, you're looking at the lobbyists' and the supporters' Influence skills vs the detractors' Influence skills and the President's own Will, likewise modified by his position on the issue.

Should the President sign it - or fail to act on it in ten days (what is called an unsigned law) - the bill becomes law. However, the President also has the option to veto the bill, at which point it gets sent back to Congress where more political behind-closed-doors and open debate on the floor occur. IIRC, it takes 2/3 of each House in Congress to override a Presidential veto.

Even if it becomes law, that is not the end of the issue! The megacorporation is not free and clear. Inevitably in cases like this a suit challenging the law will appear in federal courts, which means it'll be argued by Public Speaking complemented by Law (US Constitutional) in front of first a Federal District Court judge, then a Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges, and (let's go all-out here!) the Supreme Court of the United States. The Public Speaking and Law rolls - again, a series, not a quick contest - are opposed by the judges' own Law (US Constitutional) rolls, often with Research rolls to find precedents.

And the SCOTUS has the option to declare the law unconstitutional, rendering all past effort null and void. The SCOTUS needs a simple majority on any ruling; at present that's a minimum 5-4 ruling, which means that the megacorp's lawyers will need to Influence at least five justices out of nine. Should there be seats empty (due to death or resignation), a 4-4 ruling means the SCOTUS didn't come to a consensus and the lower court's ruling is held intact.

Clear as mud?

As an aside, I have no idea about how Canada or Mexico would handle this in their systems. Anyone knowledgeable about Parliamentary systems want to inform us on this?
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

Current Affairs (Politics), Economics, Expert Skill (Memetics)*, Expert Skill (Political Science), Intelligence Analysis, Market Analysis, Politics and Propaganda are important, obviously. You'd need many people who had them, so the political influence and campaigns to work on public opinion is not merely coming from a single traceable source, but actually consists of mutually reinforcing memes of different kinds, coming from a wide variety of sources without any connections that can be found.

Many people with high skill levels of Accounting, Administration, Finance and Law would be needed, in order to skirt or circumvent campaign finance laws over a period of many, many years.

The actual political message and the propaganda would require, in addition to the core skills of Politics and Propaganda, a lot of people with high skill in Public Speaking and Writing, as well as social media influencers, who probably use some variety of Current Affairs and possibly other skills, like Artist or Photography, in order to craft their message. Of course, personal one-on-one influence would be done with Diplomacy and other Influence skills.

Mostly, though, keep in mind that you can't just have one person making all the skill rolls. That would mean massive skill penalties that essentially make this impossible for anything but mythological supernatural beings.

Those penalties would be for making it obvious what was going on, instead of being able to present things as natural changes in public opinion, not being orchestrated by anyone. It can't even appear as a grassroots movement, it has to involve a lot of different and apparently independent institutions and media outlets, which don't appear to be pushing the same message at all, but somehow all lead to a final state where politics, public opinion and prevailing legal theory all allow for the change you need.

*Or the campaign world equivalent.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

Law and politics would be the primary skills required.

Depending on the way you proceed, you will also want experts in some or all of influence (propaganda, public speaking, diplomacy), financial (finance, market analysis), spying (intelligence analysis), covert operations (tactics, computer hacking, leadership) as well as current affair(various).

As complementary skills,
Savoir-faire, sociology, economy, expert skills(political science), administration.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

I really do not think that there are any skills that would allow a megacorporation to gain sovereignty, just skills that allow them to take advantage of weaknesses in the system. Having lawyers with very high base levels in Law would be a minimum, a base Law skill of 25, in order to take advantage of cracks within the legal system. I would personally inflict a minimum of -20 to skill for any lawyer who was attempting to gain sovereignty for a corporation (-10 for doing something impossible and -10 for doing it fast enough before the legislatures could change the law). In addition, the megacorporation must be large enough that it can keep sovereignty, as it is quite vulnerable without the protection of a government, and important enough not to be banned in every polity on Earth.

It is much easier for a megacorporation to just take over a developing nation by establishing a puppet government and bribing the population in submission. For example, the Comoros has around 800,000 inhabitants and a nominal per capita income of $900. If a megacorporation offered $9,000 per person per year, the Comoros would probably be willing and eager to become the puppet government of the megacorporation. At $7.2 billion per year, it would probably be less than 1% of the annual revenues of the megacorporation.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

Originally Posted by Alonsua View Post
As the title says, the set of complementary and main skills that would be an indispensable requirement for a corporation to reach the status of extraterritoriality and subject of international law is sought.
The two requirements are either A) Be able to beat up anyone who says you are not sovereign or B) Convince other sovereignities to recognize your sovereignity whether it's good for anyone or not as if you were their teddy bear.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: What would be the skills to obtain sovereignty?

If you don't want to use the suggested takeover of a poor small country, here is a possible timeline:

You need to get money, overt and covert influence and have public opinion on your side first.

Then (secretly) setup a chain of events proving that the state
--cannot protect you from xxx (terrorist, ..) > get laws passed allowing you a private army (=security forces)
--cannot be trusted to control you > get laws passed protecting you from nationalisation (that one will be hard. A nice scandal with corrupt officials and some other corporation being ruined should help).

Then make your corporation indispensable by providing an irreplaceable and much wanted resource/service/product that require a physical setup not easily moved to another country.

Then (secretely !!!) manipulate the state to attempt and fail at an (now illegal) power grab. Causing many deaths, disruption of service and a potential catastrophe only averted by an heroic sacrifice from one of your people.

At that time, surfing on the wave of public indignation, claim extraterritorial status "for the greater good".

I doubt it can be done in real life. Not even the East India Company managed it. But if you want it to happen, it can be made to look at least plausible.
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