The office building remains one of the enduring symbols of white-collar workers, commerce, and business. The typical building contains multiple offices, ranging from the cubicle farms of low-level clerical workers to the scenic windowed offices of managers and company presidents. Offices contain all the elements for efficient conduction of business: desks, telephones, word-processing devices, and the like. The typical building also has all manner of office supplies, ranging from mundane paper, pens, and correction fluid, to more esoteric devices such as binding machines, paper cutters, and high- capacity shredders.
Unless managers are careful, medium-sized or larger offices tend to encourage factionalism and clustering, so that it’s possible for some groups not to know what others are doing. In fact, a splinter group’s actions within a company – or attempts to leave a company – can form riveting front-page drama.
Offices usually have their own rules and regulations that determine their “personality.” Some keep a stoic and professional environment, with formal dress regulations, canned Muzak, and rigid policies. Others keep a more laid-back atmosphere, permitting casual dress, radios at desks, and relaxed rules; some offices go so far to encourage “outside the box” thinking that they permit rollerblading inside or on-site air hockey tables.
“Modern” offices have existed for centuries, and elements with direct parallels – such as scribes toiling over scrolls about a kingdom’s affairs- have existed since antiquity. The office’s era determines the type of equipment: A pulp-era office would have manual typewriters, carbon paper, and pneumatic tubes; a 1960s spy-era workplace would have teletype, photocopiers, and electric typewriters; and a modern building would have computer networks, scanners, and color printers. In a world with steampunk, magical, or fantastic elements, the office building is usually one of the first places those elements will appear, such as mana-powered facsimile machines, psionic international conferencing systems, or steam-powered computational devices. In the near-future, offices will exist as they do now, albeit with sleeker computers, improved security, and so on. However, the advent of increased telecommunications technology will likely make home offices much more common, reducing the need for monolithic office buildings.
Don’t Miss …
Jan Serval bought the Forrester Building in 1999 from a defunct dot-com company that sold keychains online. Ms. Serval has since turned the office into Serval Consulting, a financial consulting firm that specializes in “no questions asked” business dealings and problem-solving. Although she refuses to do anything knowingly illegal – she insists her company remains snowy white – she also ensures her company doesn’t do any extensive questioning that would place her deniability at risk. As a result, and unknown to her, she has a considerable reputation among the underworld, which has guidelines for how to best utilize Serval Consulting’s services.
The Forrester Building’s exterior shatter-resistant glass walls (Toughness 3D) provide remarkable openness and breathtaking natural lighting, while the glass elevator supports 10 people comfortably. Serval Consulting is open from 8:30 A.M. through 5:30 P.M. , and it remains locked the rest of the time. The front double doors provide the only normal means in and out (Moderate lockpicking to enter), and the entire building is served by an expensive security system (Difficult security check to thwart).
Serval Consulting currently employs 17 workers, and it has room to expand by one manager, two underlings, and another information technology expert. Ms. Serval treats her clients and employees very well, and no one would willingly give up information about her. Ms. Serval works in the top floor Senior Office, and only her terminal has complete access to the office network (Difficult tech roll to access all information; her client’s finances are a “closely guarded secret” to decipher, resulting in a +15 difficulty to business rolls). She meets with clients either in her office or the Conference Room, depending on her mood and how many people are involved.
Clients who utilize Serval Consulting may invest Funds dice with the company; for as long as those dice are invested, they count twice (thus someone with 40 in Funds who invests 20 of that amount has 60 Funds available). However, a failure on a Funds roll utilizing those dice makes those extra dice unavailable for three months, while a Critical Failure means the investor loses the extra dice and the invested dice for six months. In addition, if Serval Consulting runs afoul of the law or other sabotage, those invested dice might be lost forever … or at least until the matter is resolved.
Expanding the Building
For larger office buildings, this map can easily be expanded to by duplicating the second floor to represent the third or higher floors. Each additional floor adds room for 15 employees. The practical limit to this expansion is around eight floors, or about 100 employees. However, higher levels – especially the top floor – might contain luxury offices, given the superior view, and resulting in a lower number of employees. In a huge office building, the top floor’s senior office and cubicle room would be merged, making a gargantuan presidential suite.
Things to See
+ Metal desks with laminated particle board tops
+ Cloth covered chairs on casters
+ Cloth-covered dividers about 1.2 meters tall
+ Office supplies (pens, markers, paper, pencils, erasers, bottles of correction fluid, diskettes, scissors, staplers and staples, staple removers, paper clips, binder clips, glue sticks, tape in a dispenser, holders for supplies, pushpins, letter openers, boxes of facial tissue, rubber stamp with ink pad, paper punch, telephone index, book ends, reams of paper, etc.)
+ Metal file cabinets with folders sorting various memos, bills, invoices, and so on
+ Terminals or desktop computers and shared printers
+ Freestanding coat rack with wire coat hangers
+ Fax machine or teletype machine
People to Meet
Most office employees have 1D+1 to 2D in all attributes, although it is not uncommon for workers to have 1D in a physical attribute (Reflexes, Coordination, or Physique) and 30 in Knowkdge (for clerical, research, or financial work), Perception (for artistic or problem-solving businesses) or Presence (for sales-heavy businesses). One or more skill dice in business is common for managers, and most workers usually have at least a couple pips relating to whatever goods or services the office revolves around: scholar regarding the office’s focus, tech for electronics-heavy fields, and so on. Charm, con, or persuasion are also common, especially in interpersonal or sales fields; which skill is chosen greatly affects how those interactions are conducted.
Office Worker: Reflexes 1D+2, Coordination 1D+2, Physique 1D+2, lifting 20, Knowledge 2D+2, business 3D+1, scholar 3D, tech: computers 3D+1, Perception 2D+2, investigation 3D, search 3D, Presence 2D+1, charm 2D+2, persuasion 2D+2, willpower 2D+2. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 1D. Body Points: 8. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ The players’ characters are hired by an office for an urgent mission. However, something seems fishy about the whole affair. Do they dare break into the office to learn the whole story?
+ The heroes have successfully acquired some important documents in the top floor of a tall office building … only to discover that the building is on fire! Can they escape in time, with the documents intact?