I’ve been victim to an employment bait-and-switch twice now although I guess one of these was without the employer’s intent. In the normal world, this means that you end up with a job you might not particularly like. In the context of a story, a role-playing game or other “fantastic” setting, the old switcheroo could have far more diverse – and more interesting – results.
- The company is a front for aliens who are either exploiting our planet comercially – or preparing an invasion.
- The board and most of the upper management are Cthulhu cultists or Satanists (see “The Nine Gates” for an example).
- A restaurant secretly mixes unsavory ingredients into the food – Monster parts, mind control drugs, expired meat. And remember: Soylent green is people.
- A pizza delivery service also delivers blood to local vampires.
- A lab accident frees monsters from another dimension, ancient terrors, nanobot clouds, or killer robots that you didn’t even know existed.
- Your employer is a shell company working on a secret government project to evacuate “worthy” citizens to another planet once the world ends due to the 2012 apoclypse / global warming / peak oil / alien invasion.
- By day, you may work at the tech support for your local ISP. But at night you and your colleagues are expected to hunt down werewolves.
- You are hired to work on a new fantasy movie, only to discover that it is being filmed on location and that the orc aren’t CGI.
- Off-world colonists are promised a new earth, a paradise among the stars, but end up as indentured workers in the hellish Uranium mines on Niffelheim.
- The search for a famous sunken ship you were asked to join is a cover for finding a lost nuclear submarine (this actually happened) or to check on Atlantis or the Deep Ones living off the coast of New England.
In fact, an employer could hide any kind of nasty truth from new employers. The stranger, the more effective the switch is, but you need to actually make it hard (not impossible) for the players/readers to guess. You will probably also want to throw out red herrings left and right.