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  • A few odds and ends:

    Some stuff I recently got in the mail includes Tim Hornbaker's Death of the Territories, about how the WWF/WWE's early 80s expansion destroyed the old regional territories system of professional wrestling, and Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno's The Comic Book History of Professional Wrestling, which has a lot of interesting stuff about Mexico, Japan, and other places. Both are good for Extreme Wrestling Warfare.

    Richard Rhodes's Energy: A Human History, covering the topic from the age of wood, water and wind to modern day. Good for Endron (and Atlas, back in the day).

    And, because I'm weird, Gabrielle Moss's Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of 80s and 90s Teen Fiction, which I'm hoping to find a few odd Vesuvius plot ideas in.

    Currently working on posts about transportation/shipping, including private carriers like UPS and Fed Ex, automobiles and motorcycles, agribusiness, advertising/public relations, and professional sports. I may also do something on Project Lycaon.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-26-2019, 04:52 PM.


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

    Comment


    • Just wanted to note, I appreciate all of the work you've put into this, No One. This is arguably the best and most informative thread on the entire forum--especially for players of WtA.

      Thanks again.


      The Final Frontier

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Lian View Post


        I kind of like the idea Pentex isn't doing something crazy powerful that only Gaia can match vs reanimating lost and dead bits.
        I agree. Warwolves are cool, but outright creating new werebeasts is too much of a stretch for me.


        Originally posted by Fat Larry View Post
        Just wanted to note, I appreciate all of the work you've put into this, No One. This is arguably the best and most informative thread on the entire forum--especially for players of WtA.

        Thanks again.
        I agree. I still don't care for Pentex, at least as presented in canon, but this definitely gave me lots of ideas if I ever played Werewolf again.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Onkwe View Post

          I agree. Warwolves are cool, but outright creating new werebeasts is too much of a stretch for me.
          I always figured that if PENTEX was going to develop their own "shifters", they'd end up being humans with freakish animal traits grafted on (like something the Progenitors tried 100 years ago ala Dr. Moreau) who could just barely pass for human until they freak out in a Rage. But I'm weird that way.


          I agree. I still don't care for Pentex, at least as presented in canon, but this definitely gave me lots of ideas if I ever played Werewolf again.
          I think the biggest issue PENTEX had was that it tried to be both a horror thing and a parody at the same time, so at times it was trying too hard to be cute or mocking that it missed out on angles that would've made them scarier and more dangerous.

          My ideal PENTEX sourcebook back in the day would've treated it like an onion, starting with a chapter on how business and industry works in the real world and why it is in itself a threat to the Garou and their interests without even having the Wyrm, PENTEX and the like involved, as anything which increases human population, life expectancy and quality of life makes things harder for the Garou. (IMO, the single worst thing that happened in the 20th century from a Garou perspective was Norman Borlaug's Green Revolution, which I plan to talk about when I get around to covering agribusiness.)

          I will have a post about private mail carriers/shipping companies up by Wednesday at the latest. Then something about Project Lycaon by the weekend.


          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

          Comment


          • This is an interesting thread and I will explore it more later. For now, in my game I added the kitchen appliance company Zettler to the list outfits working for Pentex. It is named for the Malkavian on the Pentex BoD. Evil kitchen appliances doesn't really track with his personality, but Zettler sounds right as a slightly sinister brand name for dish washers, refrigerators, ovens and so forth.

            Comment


            • I think there was a small electronics company mentioned in the Vancouver book, but it had already gone out of business or something. I'm hoping to do appliances at some point, thou they aren't a sexy topic for books or movies.


              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

              Comment


              • PRIVATE MAIL CARRIERS

                So, back in the old days (when dinosaurs roamed the land, Detroit still had a functioning auto industry, and disco had yet to be invented), if you had to send something somewhere, your only option (in the US) was the US Postal Service. And like most government monopolies, they weren't all that wonderful. This all changed in the 1970s with the development of two companies, Federal Express and UPS. Suddenly, it was possibly for businesses to send important documents and even packages overnight with guaranteed delivery thanks to these two private cargo airlines and their fleet of delivery vans. This was a big deal for the business world, and that was the two companies' main customer base for the next few decades. By the 1990s and 2000s, the increase in private package shipments to and from individuals (which can probably be traced back to the start of Amazon as well as eBay) created a whole new customer base. These days, as a general rule of thumb, FedEx is a little more focused on corporate business while UPS deals more with the general public.

                The two companies' expansion period involved both buying out an existing company for their own needs. UPS bought the US and Canadian Mail Boxes Etc in 2001, rebranding them as UPS stores. FexEx, meanwhile, bought Kinkos in 2004, renaming it FedEx Office. (If you are too young to remember the 90s, Kinkos was were everyone went to do computer related work - documents, printing, copying, email, etc. - before everyone had their own computer.)

                In addition to FedEx Office, the company has a number of subsidiaries all using the FedEx [Name] formula, including Ground and Freight. These logos all used to be color coded (orange, green, blue, etc.), which honestly makes me think of the dragon goddess Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons, with her five heads each the color of one of the evil chromatic dragon races.

                Generally speaking, both companies have pretty good records. They've never had any major scandals, and their recent efforts to adapt their delivery fleets to electric, hybrids and other non-combustion methods gets them a lot of praise. About the worst thing is when UPS was apparently fined for shipping untaxed cigarettes in New York and that FedEx makes a lot of political donations and lobbying efforts.

                But there is an interesting angle for PENTEX shenanigans. Back in the 1950s, the CIA created a dummy front company called Air America. It was nominally a civilian passenger and cargo airline, but in reality helped conduct covert operations in areas where the US military wasn't supposed to be operating. During the Vietnam conflict, they provided logistics support to US Special Forces in Laos. They were also allegedly involved in helping various parties in Laos smuggle out heroin and opium. This is the start of the CIA's oft-mentioned involvement in international drug smuggling, especially with cocaine out of South and Central America during the 70s and 80s. This sort of think makes a likely origin for the people behind a PENTEX owned private shipping airline.

                There aren't a lot of books about FedEx or UPS. Greg Neimann's Big Brown and Joseph Allen's The Package King talk about UPS. Vance Trimble's Overnight Success and Roger Frock's Changing How the World Does Business talk about FedEx and its origins. Regarding Air America and the CIA, Christopher Robin's Air America is a really good investigation into the subject from 1978. It was the basis (loosely) for the 1990 Mel Gibson/Robert Downey Jr film of the same name. There's also Gary Webb's Dark Alliance, and it's 2014 film version Kill the Messenger. You may also get some mileage out of 2017's American Made, although it is riddled with historical inaccuracies.


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                Comment


                • Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

                  I always figured that if PENTEX was going to develop their own "shifters", they'd end up being humans with freakish animal traits grafted on (like something the Progenitors tried 100 years ago ala Dr. Moreau) who could just barely pass for human until they freak out in a Rage. But I'm weird that way.

                  That sounds cool actually; not weird at all.


                  Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                  I think the biggest issue PENTEX had was that it tried to be both a horror thing and a parody at the same time, so at times it was trying too hard to be cute or mocking that it missed out on angles that would've made them scarier and more dangerous.
                  I think you finally put into words my problem with Pentex. Wyrm corrupt corporations make sense, but I was just never able to express what bothered me without coming off as dismissing the whole idea.

                  Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                  My ideal PENTEX sourcebook back in the day would've treated it like an onion, starting with a chapter on how business and industry works in the real world and why it is in itself a threat to the Garou and their interests without even having the Wyrm, PENTEX and the like involved, as anything which increases human population, life expectancy and quality of life makes things harder for the Garou. (IMO, the single worst thing that happened in the 20th century from a Garou perspective was Norman Borlaug's Green Revolution, which I plan to talk about when I get around to covering agribusiness.)
                  That would've been a great way to put Pentex in perspective vs. what corporations do without the direct guidance of the spiritual embodiment of corruption (or its various offshoots to be specific).

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Onkwe View Post
                    I think you finally put into words my problem with Pentex. Wyrm corrupt corporations make sense, but I was just never able to express what bothered me without coming off as dismissing the whole idea.
                    In some ways, it was probably inevitable. Unless you were there at the time, it's kind of hard to get across just how big of an influence the movie Robocop was on Generation X, especially in terms of how big corporations were perceived. I, personally, consider the movie to be one of the best of its decade*, and its cyberpunk-style cut-throat corporate politics is perfect for PENTEX. However, the tongue in cheek humor of the commercials and news spots, which worked well in the original in small doses (and in many ways really do reflect the absurdity of advertising and tv news back then), were amped up too much for the sequel, and I've long suspected that it is in many ways responsible for the tone PENTEX was frequently presented in. The fact that the fomori are so strongly influenced by films like The Toxic Avenger, CHUD, and the like undoubtably also contributed to it. I think the trick it to try to walk a fine line between corporate-industrial horror side of Werewolf's Savage Horror genre and the surreal absurdity of modern corporate culture.

                    *(My favorite scene of the movie is when he saves the woman from being raped, because of their interaction afterwards. She is hysterically grateful and clinging to him for support, and his response is completely cold and machinelike. The look of slowly dawning horror on her face - that this is a machine and not a man - is perfect.)


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

                      In some ways, it was probably inevitable. Unless you were there at the time, it's kind of hard to get across just how big of an influence the movie Robocop was on Generation X, especially in terms of how big corporations were perceived. I, personally, consider the movie to be one of the best of its decade*, and its cyberpunk-style cut-throat corporate politics is perfect for PENTEX. However, the tongue in cheek humor of the commercials and news spots, which worked well in the original in small doses (and in many ways really do reflect the absurdity of advertising and tv news back then), were amped up too much for the sequel, and I've long suspected that it is in many ways responsible for the tone PENTEX was frequently presented in. The fact that the fomori are so strongly influenced by films like The Toxic Avenger, CHUD, and the like undoubtably also contributed to it. I think the trick it to try to walk a fine line between corporate-industrial horror side of Werewolf's Savage Horror genre and the surreal absurdity of modern corporate culture.

                      *(My favorite scene of the movie is when he saves the woman from being raped, because of their interaction afterwards. She is hysterically grateful and clinging to him for support, and his response is completely cold and machinelike. The look of slowly dawning horror on her face - that this is a machine and not a man - is perfect.)

                      Robocop is a classic. It's, in my opinion, utterly perfect and still holds up extremely well to this day.

                      And while I always thought of Robocop to be more Iteration X and Technocracy, the world of Robocop is 100% Pentex.


                      The Final Frontier

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Fat Larry View Post


                        Robocop is a classic. It's, in my opinion, utterly perfect and still holds up extremely well to this day.

                        And while I always thought of Robocop to be more Iteration X and Technocracy, the world of Robocop is 100% Pentex.
                        I knew that the remake was going to completely miss the point of the original when I saw that he still had one of his biological hands.

                        At some point I plan to do a bit about corporate culture and executives, including stuff like Robocop and American Psycho (and Dilbert).


                        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                        Comment


                        • Project: Lycaon

                          So, I'm not all that familiar with any of the WW20 material, and I'll be perfectly honest that I'm not super wild about most of the Mockery Breeds. But, for people who do like them, there is a fair amount of material out there to go looking for ideas and inspiration.

                          As far as PENTEX created breeds go, Werewolf: The Forsaken's War Against the Pure has several potential antagonist shapeshifters, including a roach breed akin to the Samsa who reproduce as a spiritual plague, were-fish deep ones, were-cats, were-bulls, and were-falcons. Even weirder ideas can be found in CoD's World of Darkness: Changing Breeds. (I could easily see PENTEX trying to develop a breed of were-house cats to act as trained seducer-assassins or something who also double as sex-toys for high level executives.)

                          The Rifts RPG had a metric ton of genetically engineered animal people, a number of which were detailed in RIFTS Lone Star, a world book about the surviving high tech genetics lab/military fortress that has survived the cataclysms and churns out the Coalition States' armies of DogBoys and other specialized troops. (A lot of this stuff was originally inspired by their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG and its various sourcebooks/spinoffs, including After the Bomb. Obviously, the various incarnations of the TMNT franchise - the 2012 series is my personal favorite - provides a lot of weird ideas for mutant animal designs.)

                          Trying to turn animals into people as a form of horror is probably best epitomized by HG Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau. The House of Pain is vivisection at its worst, and the sort of thing that PENTEX scientists are likely to find fun. It has had several film adaptions, with 1932's Island of Lost Souls being one of the best, and the 1996 version being one of the not-so-good. Some other interesting films involving lab-made animal monsters include Man's Best Friend (1993), Splice (2009), The Fly (1986) and The Fly II (1989). Then there is Sssssss (1973), which is just weird.

                          I will mention the movie Bats (1999), which is not all that great, but can offer ideas for things going wrong with trying to bring back a dead breed.

                          Regarding cockroaches, if you've never read Kafka's The Metamorphosis, it's worth a read. And for the issue of were-roaches, the film Mimic (1997) is a must watch. Less necessary, but interestingly weird is The Nest (1988), about genetically engineered carnivorous super roaches, based on a novel by Gregory Douglas which I've never been able to find.

                          With the Yeren were-apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) is a good film in and of itself, as well as a curious look at genetically enhanced apes. Monkey Shines (1988) is also interesting, if a little unfocused. And then there is Shakma (1990), which is not a great film, but does offer an interesting idea for a Yeren hunting a bunch of people in an office building after hours.

                          Since it's probably only a matter of time before PENTEX tries to make shark equivalents to the War Wolves, you can probably find ideas from stuff like Deep Blue Sea (1999), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012) and it's various head-count increasing sequels, Sharktopus (2012) and it's sequels (vs Pteracuda, vs Whalewolf), Snow Shark (2012), Sand Sharks (2011), Avalanche Sharks (2014), Ghost Shark (2013), and oh, god, please make it stop!

                          Ahem.

                          Then there's the realm of genetically engineered dinosaurs, as seen with the killer mutant dinosaur hybrids in Jurassic World (2015) and its sequel. Because you know that if PENTEX could make killer dinosaurs, they would. And quite honestly, a were-tyrannosaurus rex who's crinos form has a giant head and tiny little arms that can only wield little machine-pistols would be adorably awesome.


                          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                            This is an interesting thread and I will explore it more later. For now, in my game I added the kitchen appliance company Zettler to the list outfits working for Pentex. It is named for the Malkavian on the Pentex BoD. Evil kitchen appliances doesn't really track with his personality, but Zettler sounds right as a slightly sinister brand name for dish washers, refrigerators, ovens and so forth.
                            Something interesting I learned yesterday was that Texas Instruments, mostly famous for making calculators, but who also do a lot of other stuff, got their start doing seismic exploration for the oil industry in the 1930s. So, there's the curious possibility that a PENTEX electronics company could've started as a spin off of ENDRON.


                            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                            Comment


                            • Cool. I did not know that.

                              Texas Instruments also made Speak and Spell, a learning tool for children popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The World of Darkness version probably, when adults were not around, told children to burn things.

                              I have to admit I can't make evil kitchen appliances interesting, and not also silly. I mean, I suppose the 'fridge could turn into a killing machine and start attacking people - but the mental image is kind of silly. Still, I believe Pentex has its hand in the production of ovens, vacuums, blenders, fridges, etc.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                                Cool. I did not know that.
                                I've mentioned the YouTube channel CompanyMan before, and he did an interesting video on them. There's also a followup about Casio.

                                Texas Instruments also made Speak and Spell, a learning tool for children popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The World of Darkness version probably, when adults were not around, told children to burn things.
                                That, or encouraged them to invite creepy worm-skinned aliens into their homes and touch them with their radioactive Wyrm finger so they can establish contact with their Lovecraftian home dimension.

                                I have to admit I can't make evil kitchen appliances interesting, and not also silly. I mean, I suppose the 'fridge could turn into a killing machine and start attacking people - but the mental image is kind of silly. Still, I believe Pentex has its hand in the production of ovens, vacuums, blenders, fridges, etc.
                                While there is always the issue of things which deliberately cause fires or carbon monoxide poisoning (not from any physical design element but from Bane infestation), one of the most subtle things I keep finding in my research is the everyday environmental impact of the manufacturing process and where the parts come from. Even just encouraging rampant consumerism and planned obsolescence to eat up resources and create more junk is a win for PENTEX.

                                (I want to say it was Stephen King's IT that had something that lured a small child into an abandoned refrigerator. There's also the idea of refrigerators which taint the food in them. I know I've seen that somewhere, but can't remember where.)
                                Last edited by No One of Consequence; 03-15-2019, 10:45 PM.


                                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                                Comment

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