I didn’t try to spread this topic out to 3 installments, but here we are! I believe that when you’re creating a setting there are a lot of important things that players can interact with, but the most important ones are organizations. They’re the chassis that you can build a variety of NPCs around all with similar goals. It provides GMs tools to create friction between different organizations or even individuals within that particular organization.
This won’t be my last series on setting though! I got my hands on my subscriber of the Galaxy Exploration Manual and it has some juicy tips and tricks on creating a sci-fi campaign and adventures!
The Choice of 3
Coming into this week’s article I have three unions that I created last time. The unions are the Galactic Transporters Association (GTA), League of Keepers, and the Cyber Syndicate. All three of these unions are ones that I can see creating a character that belongs to one. I’ve recently gotten some good professional news though, so the Cyber Syndicate is speaking to me right now.
I think one of the difficulties writing the Cyber Syndicate is to ensure that while some of the goals and interests might align if you were to plop this union into the Pact Worlds setting, it would not just be a rehash of the Starfinder Society’s Dataphile faction. With that in mind, I’ll be referring to the first article in the series and put together a nice little gazetteer for the Cyber Syndicate!
Cyber Professionals Union
Emblem: A visual representation of a qubit, similar to the banner of today’s article
Leaders: Three Hats: Esena Gyulan, Halu, and 8l4CK h@ (Black Hat)
Most unions have a president, but the Cyber Syndicate chose early on that they would represent all professionals that handle the digital, be they network technicians pulling cable and setting up wireless access points, programmers, or cybersecurity engineers. The one thing all of these professionals have in common is the need to think about security. Whether it is breaking into an organization’s confidential files or protecting them. To do that, they set up a system where they are led by a triumvirate known as the Three Hats. The White Hat represents those professionals looking to protect and secure the networks and applications that they are working on. The Black Hat represents the offensive cyber professionals that intend to harm networks they gain access to. The Gray Hat represents everybody that falls in-between, your professional penetration testers and bug bounty hunters. Essentially, those with the intent to inform organizations of any flaws in their security they might find, along with possible solutions to prevent future intrusion.
The Three Hats are allowed to stay in place until members that they represent call for a vote of no confidence or when all three Hats unanimously decide to take adverse actions against a company or criminal outfit due to non-compliance. The Syndicate has been accused in the past of utilizing black hat members to create unfair negotiating opportunities for the Syndicate’s members. This has not been proven to date…possibly because many law enforcement cybersecurity professionals are also members of the Syndicate throughout the known world. The current White Hat, Esena Gyulan (female damaya lashunta) has held her position for 2 years. Halu (host shirren) is the current Gray Hat and they have been in office for just over a year at this point. The Black Hat always takes the moniker 8l4CK h@, but members in the black hat bloc ensure that it is a different person each time a vote happens. Roughly 50 years ago, the other Hats insisted that each Black Hat must at least submit a secure genetic test with the genetic material harvested in front of both the current Gray and White Hats. This happened because an astrazoan was able to remain the Black Hat for five tenures. When the deception was discovered, it nearly tore the Syndicate apart.
Each member, upon joining, must choose which Hat they will be represented by. With this choice, they will be given clear guidelines as to what they may or may not do in regards to their positions. For instance, a white hatter might be able to perform penetration testing for their own company’s system, but would not be allowed to do so for a customer without doing the days-long process of becoming a gray hatter. Conversely, black hatters are similarly barred from providing defensive measures, such as firewalls, for an employer’s systems. This leads to white & gray hatters working for criminal outfits as well. It is not unheard of for companies and criminal outfits to create teams for Cyber Syndicate members with members of all three Hats represented to ensure that the team can smoothly perform any task necessary.