Practical Pastiche: Modern News Organizations

“Practical pastiche” is a new series I’ll be expanding from time to time, offering drop-in names you can use in your home ttRPG campaigns to replace real-world organizations, places, groups, and anything else you might want to use in a fictional world without the baggage of using real-world elements.

Whoever controls the news has massive influence over public opinion and understanding of current events. The news has always been one way the rich and powerful controlled the narrative of the world, but in the modern era the willingness to place dogma over truth. Some blame the creation of 24-hour news networks, others the move to make money off internet news through ads (which encourages clickbait titles and engagement-at-any-cost editorial decisions), while others feel the fix has always been in and modern awareness of it is an inevitable result of greater access to information.
While real-world new organizations served as inspiration for some of these entirely-fictional sites, these are presented not as efforts to accurately characterize any actual business or journalistic endeavor, but to offer a range of fictional news media that cover a narratively useful range of options. Whether you need someone on FAQS News to constantly spin everything a superhero does to make them seem villainous, an intrepid ANZIS reporter to give constant updates of a local war, or have monster hunters discover a surprising amount of fiction covered by Looky-Loo sites has real supernatural information, these organizations can act as background or major plot points for any modern ttRPG setting.

(Art by Alex White)

ANZIS: “Australia/New Zealand Information Services,” a government funded, theoretically-independent worldwide news service that’s been in place since WWI. Has 24 radio news feeds and web information, a wire service local news agencies often subscribe to for access to international news stories, a reputation for asking hard questions, and though underfunded its funding is not dependent on advertising or sponsors to pay the bills.

Broadcaste: The largest news organization in the world, though a typical person may only be aware they sell internet and cable television packages. But they are also the owners of NBS (National Broadcast Service), NBS News, MSNBS News, CNBS, and Cloud One news channels and services. Some of their channels have a firmly liberal bent, while others sew more conservative, suggesting those biases are intentional and cynical efforts to attract all possible markets.

The Boston Lantern: One of the last Great Newspapers, though most people read it through online subscriptions. Still operates out of the Lantern Building, built in 1919, though they now occupy less than 1/10th of the floors, and others are rented out as office or storage space or vacant.

FAQS News: “Frequently Asked Questions News Networks,” the mouthpiece of a conservative billionaire, FAQS is famous both of often reporting conspiracy questions while claiming they are “just asking questions,” and for being classified as entertainment rather than journalism in some countries.

GNN: “Global News Network,” one of the earlier 24-hour, worldwide cable news networks. Still among the most respected, though extremists often call it “fake news” when they don’t like what it has to say.

Looky-Loo: A media company that runs dozens of specialized topical news websites, such as 1138 (Fantasy and Scifi entertainment news, including comics, movies, novels, ttRPGs, and television), Clutch (racing and vehicle news), Lilith’s Pen (women’s issues), Silver Scream (horror stories, mostly movies & TV), Staydium (sports-news), Smackhead (stories of people being stupid and the oft-humorous consequences of their actions), and Vertical Slice (video game news). The quality of both journalism and writing varies wildly, but the people covering the topics are usually also true fans of the things they report on.

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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on December 28, 2022, in Appendix O, Microsetting, Practical Pastiche, System Agnostic and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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