There are ten megacorps that have a AAA rating from the Corporate Court (hell, they are the Corporate Court). They have all the gold, so they make the rules. Know this: The megas don’t care about you.
Most shadowrunners know Ares from their Ares Arms division, and with good reason. The Ares Predator is the staple sidearm for the discerning runner. Run by wealthy playboy Damien Knight, the corp has a reputation as a very “American” outfit: gung-ho, militaristic, patriotic, and individualistic—Mom and apple pie, in other words. Don’t let that fool you—sure, they’re one of the better megas to work shadow ops for, but keep your eyes open, because they can be as underhanded as the rest. Ares specializes in law enforcement, military hardware and arms, aerospace (they have five orbital habitats), entertainment, automotive (the former General Motors is also part of the Ares family), and smaller divisions in many other areas.
If you’ve bought any kind of consumer goods recently, chances are you’ve contributed to Aztechnology’s bottom line. Sixty percent of the goodies you find at your local Stuffer Shack (ninety percent if you count the Stuffer Shack itself) come from the Big A. They make everything from chemicals to trideo-game software to military goods and magical supplies. They’ve got their fingers in more pies than just about any other mega, and their public relations campaigns are second to none. Which is good, because they’re also all about blood magic and evil conspiracies. Allegedly. Just don’t say anything about that within earshot of the Big A’s ferocious legal team.
“EVOlve,” they say in all their ads. Let’s be fair, they are a megacorp that looks to the future. Their CEO is an ork and their largest stockholder is a free spirit. They focus a lot on transhumanist projects ranging from bioware cybernetics, anti-aging experiments, and other even more out-there projects designed to take metahumanity to the next stage of evolution. On top of that, they’re the first megacorp to successfully set up a base on Mars.
Evo leads the megas in goods and services designed with orks, trolls, elves, dwarfs, changelings, and other nonhuman people in mind. Their corporate culture is pretty touchy-feely, but don’t freak—they can be as cold and calculating as any other mega.
Horizon is based in the midst of media wonderland Los Angeles, and they’ve managed to score many exclusive contracts for dealing with the development of California. With charismatic ex-simstar Gary Kline at the helm, Horizon specializes in anything that can be used to manipulate opinion (media, advertising, entertainment, social networking, etc.), along with consumer goods and services, real estate and development, and pharmaceuticals. Its corporate culture is “people-centered,” and employees are well taken care of and encouraged to develop their talents and pursue their interests on company time—as long as the corp reaps the profits. They had been renowned as being technomancer friendly, but a series of events culminating in a massacre in Las Vegas helped people understand that even the nicest of megacorps can spin out of control.
Mitsuhama Computer Technologies
This Japanacorp is all about the computers. Robotics, heavy industry, you name it—but it’s less well known that they’re one of the biggest manufacturers of magical goods around. There’s a rumor going around that they’re in bed with the Yakuza (who am I kidding, they’re all over each other). In any case, they’ve established quite a presence in North America over the last few years. The corp pays very well for success in shadowruns, but when you fail
they … disapprove. Be extra careful when you’re running against them, because their “zero-zone” policy of shooting first and shooting more later usually means failed runners get geeked.
NeoNET is the primary power behind the Grid Overwatch Division, and they practically invented the wireless Matrix. Needless to say, they’re heavily invested in Matrix infrastructure, along with cyberware, electronics, software, biotech, aerospace, small arms, and many others. As a corporation, NeoNET is pretty fractured, with the major factions controlled by a long-time corporate raider, a reclusive dwarf, and the great dragon Celedyr.
Runs for or against NeoNET are a grab-bag, all the time. Randomness can be fun, until that time you end up reaching in the bag and grabbing a scorpion.
Renraku Computer Systems
Renraku controls the world’s largest data repository and they own almost all of Asia’s local grids. And when nobody knows what kind of useful (or incriminating) information you’ve
got squirreled away in your datastores, it’s going to take some strong motivation to
risk messing with you. They’ve got a seriously traditional Japanese culture, and their Red Samurai military units are universally feared. Not respected, feared.
Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries
Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries can be summed up in one word: Lofwyr. The great dragon owns nearly one hundred percent of this German-based megacorp, and he rules it with the kind of attention to detail that only one of his kind can maintain. It’s not impossible to put one over on Lofwyr, but it’s very difficult—and usually fatal. The wyrm doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and shadowrunners who go against him (or fail in one of his jobs) might just find themselves on his list—which is probably also his lunch menu. S-K is primarily involved in heavy industry, chemicals, finance, and aerospace with a presence in many other areas, which is just what you’d expect from the largest corporation in the world.
The oldest of the megas, Shiawase was the first corp to claim extraterritorial status. A classic Japanese zaibatsu, Shiawase is run in a traditional “family” style, with most employees signing lifetime contracts and even marrying within the corp. Families, however,
tend to squabble, and plenty of runners have made good cash in the course of these quarrels. As for what they do, what don’t they do? Either directly or through subsidiaries, Shiawase has its hands in nuclear power, environmental engineering, biotech, heavy industry, technical service, minerals, military goods, and a whole lot more.
The only Chinese player on the megacorp scene, Wuxing owns a sizeable chunk of the Pacific rim. The corporation is quiet and conservative, the stealthiest of the Big Ten. Their
employees are steeped in Chinese culture, even those who’ve never been within a
thousand clicks of Asia. Traditionally focused on finance and shipping concerns, Wuxing also specializes in magical services and goods, vying for the top spot of most mystic megacorp. Wuxing has also expanded heavily into other markets, including agriculture, engineering, consumer goods, and chemicals.