This is the third in a series presenting detailed information about some of the massive multinational corporations that rival nation-states in the Cyberpunk 2020 vision of the world. This time the spotlight falls on two energy companies: Petrochem and SovOil. Like the other CorpBooks, this one provides loads of background to really bring corporations to life in your game, major players who maybe hire the party, or oppose them... or are the target of their activities.
The idea is threefold. Firstly,to provide information to enable you to use the corporation to effect in your game, with details of facilities and personnel to interact with and the like. Secondly, to give you information on what each corporation is trying to do - and what they say they want to do, which may be quite different - to enable the building of sophisticated high-stakes plots. Thirdly, to add depth and realism whenever the corporations in question show up in the game. There's also sufficient material to use each corporation in character backgrounds, or as employers.
We start off with notes on the Second Corporate War, which involved Petrochem and SovOil navies duking it out on the South China Sea. This section provides a fascinating insight into corporate warfare as a whole, explaining how the rise in corporate armed forces came about and how they are used to further the ends of the corporation in question. The Second Corporate War was a three-year affair that involved these two corporations squabbling over oil fields in the South China Sea.
Next comes a detailed look at Petrochem and then SovOil, with the corporation's history, a look at the main products and services that they offer, along with their stated (and unstated) corporate goals and market strategies. Then we get down to detail with notable individuals within the corporation, their major offices and other facilities and even notes on company uniforms. Don't laugh, if you want to infiltrate, the best way is to look like you belong... There are also hints about using that corporation in your game and a complete, if small, adventure you can run involving them. Reading the entries will spawn plenty more ideas, however.
Petrochem is the world's biggest producer of the synthetic alcohol fuel CH00H2, that is the standard fuel that's replaced oil, petrol, etc. It's less polluting, but no alcoholic, however desperate, should try drinking it! SovOil is the world leader in oil production, Petrochem being one of the few other corporations to still work in this area. Most of the money is in what you can make from oil, rather than in the oil itself. There are extensive notes on what can be made: chemicals, weapons and more. Petrochem also has a thriving agricultural business.
The whole book is well-resourced and illustrated, with lots of sketches to bring things to life. One oddity, the word 'the' is often replaced by 'die' - whether this is an error or deliberate to give a slight linguistic shift isn't clear. There's enough material to make both corporations major players in your game and the two scenarios let the party get to know just a little about them. For Petrochem, they uncover illegal dumping of toxic waste and end up nose-to-nose with the corporation. For SovOil, the adventure is an espionage one where the party gets caught up between SovOil and Petrochem with potentially lethal results.
This is a useful addition, bringing corporations that are of vital importance but perhaps lower profile - certainly on the average gamer's radar - than weapons manufacturers and security/military contractors.