If knowledge is power, then Markova Enterprises may well be the most powerful organization on earth. This media conglomerate owns major newspapers in every major city in Europe and North America, runs fifteen different cable television networks, syndicates radio and network television programs in twenty different languages, and produces blockbuster movies from studios in Hollywood, Hong Kong, New Delhi, and Paris. And all that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The company is also deeply involved in several major websites and online services, and employs dozens of software design houses to work on proprietary programs.
Owned and managed by the international "Queen of the Media," Anastasia Markova, Markova Enterprises plays a bigger part in many people's lives than their own families do. Their stated goal is to give their audience "just what you want." Detractors point out that this mission statement says nothing about production quality, intellectual or moral content, or even factual accuracy. But this does not seem to have hurt the company's ratings (or stock value).
Mundanes see Anastasia Markova as a beautiful, dusky skinned, twenty-something jet setter, but anyone with knowledge of Shadowkind knows that she is in fact a drow who is at least 125 years old. Of course, that makes many suspicious of Anastasia's motives and her company's actions, but to this day M.E. Intl. has never been involved in anything even marginally illegal. It does, however, specialize in programming of exceptionally questionable taste.
The thing that really makes Markova Enterprises different from other media conglomerates, though, is the fact the its subsidiaries pay attention to Shadow culture. They do not report on such things to mundane audiences, but they do keep careful eyes on people, creatures, and events in Shadow communities. And reporters from M.E.-owned concerns can usually be found at the scene of any major Shadow-related incident. Heroes would be surprised to know exactly how much personal information on them is stored in the M.E. news morgue. It seems unlikely that any hero would be working directly for Anastasia Markova (who is attended mainly by other drow), but anyone with an occupation related to the media might well find themselves working for Markova Enterprises. In most respects, though, the organization is no different than any other media interest. It is only if a hero's activities draw the eye of the Queen that things might become uncomfortable.
The M.E. Morgue
Every news organization maintains a morgue-the place where it keeps file of reference photos, videos, archives of old stories, and significant reports and dossiers that never made it into print. The Markova Enterprises morgue puts all others to shame. It contains an level of detailed information that makes most governmental intelligence agencies jealous.
The key to accessing this trove of facts and images is a Markova Enterprises Press Pass. While much of the information is stored on computer, the system is isolated from all external networks. One must physically go to the morgue to access it, and no one gets into the building or past the five guard stations without showing proper identification.
However, for those who do manage to make it into the morgue, the information sky is the limit. Using the M.E. morgue provides a +10 equipment bonus on all Research and Knowledge checks (for any Knowledge category). Those using this resource must take careful notes, though, because there are no printers in the morgue, and no photographs or video tapes are allowed out without a senior editor's approval.
While access to such a vast quantity of material is a blessing, it also has its drawbacks. The sheer volume of raw data sometimes makes it very time consuming to find a particular piece of information. Apart from any Research or Knowledge checks required to find information, anyone using the M.E. morgue must make an additional Research check to determine how long the search took.
DC Time Required
9 or less 1d6 + 6 hours with no information found
10 -14 1d6 + 6 hours
15 -19 1d6 hours
20 -24 3d10 + 30 minutes
25 -29 2d10 + 20 minutes
30 + 1d10 + 10 minutes