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  • No One of Consequence
    BRING OUT YOUR DEAD (Defunct Subsidiaries)

    Having mentioned Atlas, it has occurred to me that there are likely a number of other PENTEX subsidiaries that have come and gone over the years. What might've once seemed like a ubiquitous part of modern life can easily drop off into the dust bin of history. So, here are a few ideas for those interested in historical chronicles or long running conspiracies. If anyone has any others, feel free to add them.

    Video Rental Stores
    Even as late as 10 years ago, I'm sure all those HQB planned communities included a PENTEX owned video rental chain outlet. The sort of place that makes sure those new releases from Slaughter House Video and similar companies are given prominent shelf space, and the kids section is full of Action Bill toy commercials - excuse me - cartoons. I'm sure half the staff are like Randal from Clerks (1994), and their last days probably resembled the South Park episode A Nightmare on Face Time. Odds are many of them had that video from the end of The Ring (2002) or something similarly Bane-tainted.

    The Circus
    If PENTEX ever owned a circus, odds are it lived up to any and every allegation of animal abuse made against various companies, had a collection of mentally unstable fomori for the Freak Show, and the clowns were probably all serial killers ranging from John Wayne Gacy to Pennywise. American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), Circus of Horrors (1960), The Last Circus (2010), and Vampire Circus (1971) can all offer possible ideas.

    Conversion Therapy
    I remember this from 10 and 20 years ago, and it gets mention with Homogeniety Incorporated in Freak Legion, but I have no idea if this is even still a thing or not. If anyone in the LGBT community or otherwise knowledgeable about the current state of this can offer information, I'd appreciate it.

    Cheap Dial Up Internet Service for Dummies
    Yes, thousands of free 3.5" floppy disks and CD-ROMs will arrive in your mail each weak, as well as clutter the counters of your local video rental, music store and anywhere else you shop. Likely subtly encouraging uses to act like total ass-hats on mailing lists, reply to scam emails, forward chain emails to friends, cheat on their significant others and look for the most sorted and demeaning pr0n the internet had to offer back then.

    NEW (Feb5)
    Pointless High Tech Gizmo Toys for Executives
    Once a mainstay of shopping malls (which are themselves apparently on death's door), the store that sold nothing but weird (and often interesting) things allegedly for business execs to keep on their desks or use in the office. Personal massagers, those little swinging balls, those boxes of metal rods you could leave your handprint in, tiny putting greens, and countless other largely useless thingamajigs. The sort of things that one can bind a Bane or two onto and have it subtly influence the minds of small business executives, CEO wannabes and the like, encouraging them to do the sort of things PENTEX executives do.

    If you're too old to remember photos before the digital age, you probably also have no memory of how ubiquitous photo processing stores were. Photo development chemicals are not, as far as I can learn, that damaging to the environment. However, certain photo papers apparently contained chromium and some films were known to contain perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (and wow that's a mouthful), which apparently is bad for most living things even in fairly small doses. If there was a PENTEX subsidiary specializing in cameras, film and developing, odds are their film was full of potentially toxic chemicals, their cameras attracting Banes that encouraged voyeurism, spying, obsessiveness and other antisocial behaviors. Certain types of black & white films also contained silver nitrate and other silver compounds, so it's possible such a company might've been a minor source of silver for use in First Team ammo by recovering it from developing fluids. You may find some inspiration for photography related PENTEX shenanigans in things like One Hour Photo (2002), Invisible Adversaries (1977), Shutter (2008), and Time Lapse (2014). Also, both versions of The Omen (1976/2006).
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 02-05-2018, 03:26 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence

    An obscure pair, being introduced in Book of the City, they are PENTEX's entry into the construction industry.

    Safe Haven specializes is making custom specialized projects to suite very special needs, and unlike a lot of PENTEX companies, they do very high quality work, making things to last and coming in on time and within budget. Panic rooms are, undoubtably one of their specialties. Panic Room (2002) is a decent film that gives a good general idea of what the things are like, as well as offering possible inspiration for when a pack of Garou need to get a PENTEX executive or other person of interest out of one. At the far end of the spectrum, check out Vivos Europa One, a five-star billionaire survival resort. I guess all those James Bond villain lairs built into volcanoes, the ocean floor, or in outer space don't seem quite so out there any more. There are a number of construction firms out there that specialize in this sort of thing (;; and are just a tiny sample), and some advertise in the DuPont Registry catering to wealthy clientele.

    Beyond that, the company will create anything a client wants, regardless of issues of legality or morality. Private torture chambers, ritual sacrifice rooms, secret vaults to house illegal collections, and strange death traps are just a sample of what they can do. Films such as Saw 3 (2006), Hostel (2005), The Collection (2012), Blade (1998), Dracula 2000 (2000), and Cabin in the Woods (2012) can offer various ideas. Also Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera (and Susan Kay's Phantom).

    On the other hand, Hi-Quality Builders builds absolute crap. They specialize in suburban sprawl housing developments and neighborhoods, using low quality material, shoddy workmanship, unskilled labor, and any other underhanded trick they can think of. If you've ever seen any of Mike Holmes's tv shows, he's made a career out of fixing the messes left behind by bad building companies and contractors. Anything he's ever encountered can probably be found in HQB homes. More outlandishly, there's also Poltergeist (1982), in which an entire subdivision is contructed on a former cemetery without bothering to move the bodies. Their houses apparently have Banes bound to them, which can lead to a classic Amityville Horror (1979) scenario. HQB's big idea as of the printing of Book of the City back in 2002 was fully planned out communities, complete with a friendly neighborhood O'Tolley's, a Hendrik's market and Endron gas station, among other things. One of these could easily turn into something similar to Bentley Little's The Association.

    While these are the two companies named, there's more to the construction business. If you've never heard of them, Bechtel Corperation is America's largest construction and civil engineering company. They were part of the consortium that built the Hoover Dam, built about 40% of the US's nuclear power plants, and did project management for the 1984 Summer Olympics. They were also involved in cleaning up after Three Mile Island, put out oil fires after the Gulf War, helped build the Chunnel, Washington DC's metro rail, and a number of major airports around the world. You can read about them in Sally Denton's The Profiteers: Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World and Laton McCartey's Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story: The Most Secret Corporation and How it Engineered the World.

    Also of potential interest is Corruption and Racketeering in the New York City Construction Industry: The Final Report of the New York State Organized Crime Taskforce.

    More to come.

    Added 4-13: Odds are that a lot of PENTEX developed buildings - especially offices and apartment buildings - are deliberately designed to bring about Sick Building Syndrome, not just on a physical level with atmospheric issues, chemical residues and molds, but also on psychological levels via subtle design choices, decor and layout (using the field of environmental psychology for evil), and spiritually through the use of Banes, Spectres and other nasties.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 04-13-2018, 05:45 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence

    PENTEX's entry into the health care market in Book of the Wyrm 2nd ed.

    This is a pretty sprawling field, covering everything from conception to death, and from small clinics to major hospitals.

    At the hospital level, it's unlikely that Autumn goes out and builds their own. More likely, they find preexisting hospitals and clinics that they can offer their services to. In this way, they take over the paperwork and logistics, and eventually get to make the rules for who gets what kind of treatment, where equipment and supplies are purchased from ("This is Magadon, they'll be providing all out drugs from now on. Now let's go meet the people from Good House and Rainbow."), standards of employee behavior, and dozens of other little details that can easily turn a hospital into a pit of misery and despair for employees and patients alike.

    Some hospitals are teaching hospitals, helping train new doctors, nurses and other professionals, and this gives Autumn a chance to corrupt the next generation of the medical industry. They are likely big proponents of utilitarian bioethics, advocating resources be spent on younger patients with "high quality" lives while being withheld from the elderly, those with terminal diseases and children with birth defects, among others. Wesley Smith's Culture of Death gives a critical overview of the subject, including personal encounters with it. Micheal Palmer's Extreme Measures, as well as it's 1996 film adaption, also touch on some of these issues as well as dealing with secret medical experiments and creepy cabals among hospital administrations.

    Robin Cook has done a number of medical thrillers involving hospital related conspiracies. Coma, involving the deliberate causing of brain death in surgical patients so they can have their organs harvested as needed, is his most famous, having had two film adaptations. Others include Mortal Fear (murdering elderly patients to save on the cost of treating them), Terminal (creating custom made diseases just to be the hospital that has the cure for it),and Godplayer (the murder of terminally ill patients).

    I'll also mention Michael Crichton's non-fiction work Five Patients, which gives an interesting look into hospital and medical culture back in the late 1960s, certain aspects of which are still relevant today. His fiction novel A Case of Need is also pretty good. And, of course, there are dozens of tv shows out there set in hospitals. House, Grey's Anatomy, and St. Elsewhere, just to name a few.

    Below the hospital, we have the small local clinic. This is the sort of place PENTEX can "take it to the streets", so to speak, using local poor people as test subjects for various Magadon drugs or other items, creating fronts for selling illegal drugs, or just finding drug addicts or terminal patients who might make good subjects for fomori production.

    Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are often stereotyped as dumping grounds for unwanted old people, and in the World of Darkness, this is probably more true than not. Autumn run facilities are probably houses of horrors hidden behind a careful facade of pleasant care. [There are more than a few medical thrillers I've read over the years involving the subject, but I can't seem to find my list of them atm.] Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), a cult film about a soul-eating mummy terrorizing a nursing home whose patients include a man who claims to be Elvis and another who believes he's JFK, is worth watching.

    I suspect that Autumn probably also runs a few mental hospitals. Probably a place where some Project: Odyssey testing and research goes on, as well as a possible place for finding lost cubs to turn over the the Black Spiral Dancers (or just experiment on themselves). World of Darkness: Asylum from nWoD/Chronicles of Darkness is a really good sourcebook on the subject. Victor LaValle's The Devil in Silver is a really great horror novel set in a mental hospital. Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and it's 1975 film adaption are both classics. Also Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted and it's 1999 film version. I will also note Session 9 (2001) just because the abandoned mental hospital has such a nice creepy ambiance to it. You can probably also get some ideas from the 2007 remake of Halloween ("This is were we keep the Gorehounds 'til we need them."), Shutter Island (2010), Terminator 2 (1991), and A Cure For Wellness (2016).

    More to come.

    Added: Autumn may also run plastic surgery clinics. Such places can encourage vanity and self-image issues, offering fertile territory for Banes. Certain "experimental" surgeries and treatments may give rise to a new Fomori breed. There's also more mundane corrupt practices, such as smuggling drugs in breast implants or helping wanted criminals and terrorists change their appearance. Nip/Tuck (2003 - 2010) is an interesting look at certain aspects of the business.

    More Added: Hospitals and the like are a staple for horror and dramatic fiction and films. In addition to ones listed above, others that might offer inspiration for Autumn-focused chronicles include Ginger Snaps 2 (2004; think of it as a lost cub in a rehab center), The Wolfman (2010; lost cub in a Victorian mental institution, which is even worse), Halloween II (1981), Persona (1966), 12 Monkeys (1995), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (1987; especially if you want a potential Wraith or Changeling crossover), Exorcist III (1990; Bane possession in a hospital), House on Haunted Hill (1999), Gridlock'd (1997; just how hard can you make it for drug addicts to even get into rehab, let alone get clean?), Dirty Pretty Things (2002; not about hospitals, but does demonstrate how PENTEX affiliated doctors might take advantage of the poor and desperate), Human Harvest (2014, a documentary about the alleged harvesting of organs of political prisoners by Chinese state run hospitals), American Horror Story: Asylum (2012), and Bringing Out the Dead (1999).

    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-30-2018, 07:39 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence
    Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
    I'd add the caveat that where Pentex is involved there is unlikely to be any effort to keep the water clean, so there would be dangerous contaminants released into the water and carried by the currents.
    Probably doing the absolute bare minimum that the law allows, with the occasional bribe or kickback to get people to look the other way when needed.

    Although, these days, it seems the EPA is perfectly happy to help PENTEX out with the occasional "oops, my bad".

    Edit: I probably will get around to talking about the water industry at some point.

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  • Ramnesis
    Given how much bomb tests factor in the history of the Rokea, this XKCD post is also a good reference for how radiation and water interact.

    I'd add the caveat that where Pentex is involved there is unlikely to be any effort to keep the water clean, so there would be dangerous contaminants released into the water and carried by the currents.
    Last edited by Ramnesis; 01-25-2018, 09:51 AM.

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  • No One of Consequence
    Originally posted by Metalrift View Post
    Prior to its use for nuclear fission, uranium was also used in glass and pottery, such as bowls or tiles. Another reason to mine uranium is to obtain radium, which was isolated in 1910 and was used for its luminescence and also for medical uses, most of which were mere quackery. It seems plausible to me that a PENTEX conspiracy may take part in these uses of radioactive products.
    Thank you. That absolutely screams for a Werewolf: The Wild West one shot about a snake oil salesman peddling radium-infused medical tonics.

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  • Metalrift
    Prior to its use for nuclear fission, uranium was also used in glass and pottery, such as bowls or tiles. Another reason to mine uranium is to obtain radium, which was isolated in 1910 and was used for its luminescence and also for medical uses, most of which were mere quackery. It seems plausible to me that a PENTEX conspiracy may take part in these uses of radioactive products.
    Another notable aspect of the use of radium was the effect that ingestion of radium from paintbrushes had on the makers of radium watch hands. The United States Radium Company was sued by five workers for negligence in protecting their workers from the radioactive substances despite being aware of the dangers. The company had in fact attempted to hide the effect that the ingestion of radium had on their workers, which could also be used as inspiration for PENTEX.
    Last edited by Metalrift; 01-24-2018, 06:11 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence

    One of the big environmental boogie-men (a reputation that, all things considered, is not entirely undeserved in certain areas), if there'd ever been a Subsidiaries 21 book, odds are this would've been one of the two major companies covered (along with O'Tolley's). Wikipedia's article on mining can give you a good starting place the real world industry, its history, various methods, and assorted criticisms. You could probably spend a few hours chasing links and uncovering more than a dozen potential plot hooks for your game if you wanted to.

    Regarding the company's name, I'm guessing that it was perhaps founded by two cousins, as it's not called Harold and Sons or Harold Brothers. That's just a random observation though.

    We'll start with coal mining. Modern Marvels did do an episode on the subject, which is available on YouTube. Barbara Freese's Coal: A Human History is a pretty good overview of the subject, including coal's place in shaping the modern world and the human cost involved in it. John Fitzgerald's Dirty Mines is about Scranton, Pennsylvania and the coal mines there. James Green's The Devil is Here in These Hills is a history of the incredibly violent battles between mine workers and mining companies in pre-WW2 West Virginia. PBS's American Experience did a documentary on the "mine wars" as well. Harlan County USA (1976) is a documentary about the 1973 coal miners strike in Kentucky. Harlan County War (2000) is a made for TV movie about the famous 1931 labor dispute. Matewan (1987) is a film about the 1920s coal miners strike in West Virginia.

    Coal mining brings up the issue of "black lung", a disease that killed several thousand coal miners through out the 20th century, while mining companies, health professionals and the federal government tried to claim it didn't exist (to the point of even claiming at one time that breathing coal dust had a number of health benefits).

    If you've ever seen the movie Silent Hill (2006), the idea of the haunted near-ghost town comes from the real world Centralia, Pennsylvania, where a coal mine fire has been burning beneath the town since 1962. The story has been chronicled in a couple of documentaries, such as The Town That Was (2007), and in J. Stephen Kroll-Smith & Stephen Robert Couch's The Real Disaster is Above Ground. Given that similar underground coal fires in India and Germany have been burning for over a century, and that the "Burning Mountain" underground coal seem in New South Wales is believed to have been burning continuously for about 6000 years, it's unlikely to go out anytime soon. Quite honestly, I'd have to work pretty hard to come up with a better idea for a Black Spiral Dancer hive site.

    And speaking on Black Spiral Dancers, Dean Koontz's Twilight Eyes, in addition to being just a really entertaining book that fits well in the WoD, involves a race of genocidal monsters based out of an old Pennsylvania coal mining town. The description of the town and it's atmosphere are, IMO at least, perfect for Werewolf, especially for a pack that happens to travel through a town totally beholden to one of PENTEX's companies or some other force of the Wyrm. It also had a bit that, the first time I read it thought, "if there'd been a BSD tribe book, this would have to be the opening quote to the chapter on their culture of sickness.

    As I stared at that symbol, I gradually became convinced that their religion - if such is was - did not, in fact, serve to make them more sympathetic or less alien than I had always viewed them. Because I sensed there was something monstrously evil about their unknown faith, something so unspeakably vile about the god they venerated that their religion would make Satanism - with it's human sacrifices and disembowelment of babies - seem as benign as the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
    Naturally, it makes me wonder if perhaps the secret of Harold and Harold Mining is that at its core lies a weird secretive cult centered on some dark, freakish artifact the founders dug up in a coal mine somewhere. Sort of like Tak in Stephen King's Desperation. Edit: Or in Dragon Age 2.

    This is, of course, all from an American perspective. The United Kingdom has it's own massive coal mining culture, as do regions in India, the Ukraine, Romania, Niger, Australia, Chile, South Africa, Japan and many others, any of which might be a prospective Harold and Harold location.

    After coal, the next biggest thing on PENTEX's list is probably uranium. Weirdly enough, from a historical perspective, is that while uranium's main use today is in nuclear power plants, uranium mines were already being established back in the Victorian Era, with Cornwall's South Terras Mine apparently putting out 175 tons of ore between 1873 and 1900. I honestly don't know enough about uranium to guess what people needed that much of it for in that era, but from a Werewolf perspective, it seems like fertile ground for a conspiracy of some sort.

    I mentioned Judy Pasternak's Yellow Dirt: A Poisoned Land and the Betrayal of the Navajos under Atlas, but it's even more fitting here. Also Traci Brynne Voyles's Wastelanding: Legacies of Uranium Mining in Navajo Country and the Navajo Uranium Minor Oral History and Photography Project's The Navajo People and Uranium Mining. Outside of the Navajo Nation, there's Michael Amundson's ​Yellow Cake Towns: Uranium Communities in the American West and Raye Ringholz's Uranium Frenzy: Saga of the Nuclear West.

    Uranium mining is a major issue in Australia. I do not have my copy of Rage Across Australia available at the moment, so I've no idea if it mentions Harold and Harold or how accurate it's presentation of the issue is. If anyone from Australia can provide commentary for us, I'd be grateful.

    Canada used to have a number of mines in Ontario and other areas, but from what I understand, the only ones still in operation are in Saskatchewan, which seems like the perfect place to set a Werewolf game.

    Nambia is one of Africa's major uranium producers. Africa is also home to the world's only known naturally occurring nuclear fission reactor, in Gabon. Apparently the phenomenon occurred back in Precambrian period, which makes an interesting plot hook for a Mokole centered chronicle.

    More later (I still have precious metals, diamonds, rare earths, asbestos and salt to cover).

    Added More:
    The mining industry also involves precious metals, so I'll start with the big one, gold. Gold mining through the 20th century tended to be a very chemically heavy process, using things like sodium cyanide, sulfuric acid, mercury and other fun things. In 2000, a mine in Baia Mare, Romania spilled cyanide into the Somes River causing a massive kill off of fish and other wildlife. The effects found their way down river into the Danube. Even more fun, the entire project was part of an effort to extract remaining gold from the refuse of previous mining, which had turned into a toxic dust being spread by the wind. (Apparently the waste dumps from industrial/chemical gold mining rival that of nuclear waste dumps in terms of toxicity.) Gold mining in the tropics is often blamed for increased deforestation and chemical pollution of the local biosphere. It also not that uncommon for child labor to be involved in some mining in Asia and Africa.
    Silver mining is similar in nature, and silver ore is often mixed with sulfur, arsenic, antimony and chlorine, all of which gets left behind as waste after chemical leaching. Copper and tin mining likewise leave behind a certain degree of waste. Titanium, vanadium (which is toxic), lead, lithium, nickel, cobalt, chromium, magnesium, tantalum, tungsten/wolfram, zinc, and molybdenum are all mined metals, each with their own processes and often toxic byproducts.

    As far as metals mining goes, Modern Marvels has done a few episodes on gold, silver and other types of mining, as well as earth moving technology. Gold (2016) is loosely based on the Bre-X mining scandal in 1993 (where a mining company fabricated the discovery of a major gold deposit in order to inflate the value of its stock). Where The Green Ants Dream (1984) is inspired by a real clash between a mining company and Australian Aborigines. (It's by Warner Herzog, so is a bit weird.) The Rundown (2003) is a fun action movie, and involves Christopher Walken as the tyrannical head of a South American gold mining operation that looks like a how-to guide for PENTEX. Pale Rider (1985) is a classic, and does give a glimpse at how environmentally destructive larger industrial gold mining in the 19th century could be. Season three of Deadwood (2004-2006) involves George Hearst as a major villain, and he comes across as the sort of person who might found a PENTEX company.

    And yet more:
    Diamond mining probably isn't a huge part of H&HM's business, but there's probably some interest in it. South Africa's diamond fields likely gave the company a foot hold in South Africa, especially during the Apartheid era, and the mines in the Congo and other areas of conflict probably offer a cut of the profits on blood diamonds as well as potential connections to various African paramilitary groups and war lords (something that may involve cooperation with Herculean). Russia is also a major source for diamonds. A lot of the mining used to be these massive open pit affairs that look like giant craters in the earth.
    Greg Campbell's Blood Diamonds is a good look at conflict diamonds and diamond smuggling. Mathew Hart's Diamond: The History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair is a pretty good overview of the history of the subject. (His book ​Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal does a similar job with that subject.) Blood Diamond (2006) deals with the civil war in Sierra Leone during the 90s and the use of diamond mines to fund various warlords. The Ambassador (2011) is a Danish documentary about political corruption in Liberia that ends up uncovering diamond smuggling. And if you want to go old school, there's always Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever (I prefer the book over the 1971 film, but that's not without it's charms, especially if you want to do something about PENTEX building giant space lasers) and it's non-fiction counterpart The Diamond Smugglers.

    Rare earth mining is the mining of a number of more obscure elements that are kind of difficult to mine, mostly owing to their occurring in the same ores but only in low concentrations and being difficult to separate from each other. However, they've increasingly become one of the backbones of modern technology (as detailed in Keith Veronese's Rare and David Abraham's The Elements of Power). China, Souther Africa, India and Brazil are all major sources of these minerals, with additional smaller sites in California, western Canada, Australia and other locations. Rare earth mining has similar environmental issues as precious metals, in that a lot of toxic acids are usually used in refining, and a lot of the refuse (tailings) may be radio active because of the presence of uranium or thorium. The Busit Merah mine in Malaysia has been part of a multi million dollar clean up effort that's involved burying thousands of truckloads of radioactive material and hauling off tens of thousands of barrels of radioactive waste. If you want to set a Beast Courts game in Southeast Asia, this is a potential (and depressing) plot hook. Likewise for any mines in China, as Communist regimes have a well established track record of not giving a crap about environmental damages.

    There's also a ton of common rock/mineral materials that are mined, including salt, limestone, chalk, sandstone, phosphates, feldspar, basalt, gypsum, graphite, asbestos, granite and much, much more. Harold and Harold likely concentrates on the ones that are the most dangerous to mine, produce toxic byproducts, or that they can sell in mass quantities to other PENTEX subsidiaries.
    As far as salt mining goes, I'll mention the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, the so called "Underground Salt Cathedral". It's a literal work of art, full of carvings, working chandeliers made of salt and other fun things. I like to think that in the World of Darkness there's a Wyrm counterpart full of disturbing and madness inducing carvings out of salt, coal or whatever material is most suitable.

    And finally iron and bauxite mining. Bauxite (aluminum) tends to be strip mined. It's processing into aluminum requires a lot of electricity, and one of the cheapest wast to get it in 20th century North America tended to be hydro-power from dams, another subject that Garou find counter to their interests.
    I've never seen North Country (2005) about sexual harassment at a Minnesota iron mine.

    As far as mine-related fomori go, the above mentioned black lung disease gives ideas, as does the mythical "gold fever". Radiation exposure from uranium mining can also produce new breeds, as can the chemical waste from metals mining.

    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-27-2018, 09:30 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence
    A Brief Interlude About Fomori Breeds

    As mentioned in the Herculean post, I sometimes have difficulty coming up with suitable ideas for fomori and other monsters tied to various companies and industries. Some of them are easy - Hallahan and the Deep Ones, for example - but others are illusive to me. And then someone else, like Fat Larry, will come along and easily suggest something that fits really well and makes me happy. So, with that in mind, a few random brain storms.

    Black Bloods - one of the more subtle breeds, at least at first, these things spontaneously develop around Endron facilities, especially oil rigs and refineries. Seemingly human, their blood has mutated/been replaced with a thick oily substance that resembles crude oil. They become quiet, withdrawn and callous toward others, but seem to operate in a strange limited hive mind when in groups. Their strength and stamina is above average, and as they progressively mutate/evolve, they get more powerful. They often develop Hide of the Wyrm (seemingly from the level of grit and grime on their skin), Stomach Pumper (spewing oil like substance instead of acid), Tar Baby or Plasmatic Form (oil). As a potential plot hook, Mokole who encounter them may start having dream memories of an ancient threat they faced in the age of the dragon kings.

    Roid Ragers - the owner of EWW loves his men big and beefy and the fastest way to get noticed is to be on the juice. EWW's mid-card and jobber ranks are full of men and even women (and others) pumped full of Megadon produced steroids, HGH, pain pills and other goodies. The end result is a small army of genetic freaks with bulging muscles and raging tempers, having Mega-Attribute (Strength) and Berserker (some frenzy even easier than Garou). Because of the high turn over in EWW, some of these monsters get cut from the roster, ending up on the road wrecking havoc in small regional promotions (or worse, backyards), local gyms, underground fight clubs or violent bar brawls. While still passing for human (at least when not in a Frenzy induced "hulk out") they can be spotted by their massively overdeveloped upper bodies and underworked legs. (Some have been known to actually tear a quad just from walking.)

    Sharks - Myers, Feinstein & Hargrett is a cut throat firm and only the truly ambitious and ruthless can get ahead there. Sometimes that hunger for power and prestige attracts something equally hungry. Members of this breed are cold blooded predators, both literally and figuratively. They can seemingly sense weakness in others and will attack it without mercy. Members of this breed almost universally possess Fangs (shark like teeth for bite attacks), Eyes of the Wyrm and Mouth of the Wyrm. Older, more powerful ones (senior associates) may also have Mega-Attribute (Manipulation), Roar of the Wyrm or Voice of the Wyrm. All of them require human flesh to survive, at least a pound a day.

    Nukems - Once upon a time, various people at Atlas thought that ATOMICS! was the answer to just about everything, including how to deal with werewolves. So they used massive amounts of radiation and chemical byproducts to try to create a security force that could go through Garou like an atomic bomb. Results were mixed to say the least. While fairly powerful, these monsters are somewhat hard to control, as they are both radioactive and dumb as a brick (Intelligence is usually 1). All possess the Giant merit, as well as Mega-Attribute (Strength), Hide of the Wyrm (a thick, alligator or rock-like skin that tends to be a freakish sickly radioactive yellow color), Infectious Touch (radiation), and Hazardous Breath (radioactive fire). They are kept in a near-death like stasis in special tubes, usually one to a facility, only to be opened as a last resort. A few have been tested as living WMDs in the Amazon and other hotspots.

    Fryfaces - O'Tolley's fry grease has some special additives. Nothing that would show up in a chemical test or anything, but the sort of thing that attracts unhealthy spiritual entities. Too much exposure to this grease - either from consumption of fried foods or just working around it - can result in a rather this rather unhealthy breed of formori. They look, more or less, like people. They tend to be either morbidly obese or extremely skinny, with incredibly greasy complexions, complete with zits and sickly sweat. Their powers are Poison Tumors (massive zits that explode when physically attacked) and Slobber Snot (greasy sweat). More advanced versions, usually referred to as Grease Monkeys, tend to be formed from O'Tolley's employees (especially the night shift) replacing the Tumors with Hell Hide (resistance to heat and fire) and Extra Speed.

    Gunfondlers - Some people love guns. And then some people seem to really, really, love their guns. Sometimes those who buy Herculean weapons get a bit too attached, and this obsession attracts a servant of Sykora, the Urge Wyrm of Paranoia. Someone might try to take their gun away. Even worse, something might happen where they need their gun and don't have it. They need to have that gun with them all the time. They need the gun to be a part of them. They physically merge with the gun, making it a part of their body. This is a unique power in which their hand or arm (depending on the gun in question) physically transforms into a fire arm. They can pass as normal (at least at first, but the longer this goes on, the more likely they are to just have their limb in gun form all the time), but when activated, the limb looks like a horrible mutilated hybrid of bone, muscle, metal and plastic. The weapon fires regular ammo and needs to be reloaded, but in later stages, some are able to fire "bone-bullets" made from their own bodies. (And, obviously, thanks to Fat Larry for this one.)

    Added note: Currently working on Autumn Health Management and Harold & Harold Mining, as well as a really obscure one I found in digging through old city setting books.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-22-2018, 09:39 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence

    One of the more obscure companies, as the only time they've really been mentioned is in the Enticer fomori breed write up in the various editions of Book of the Wyrm. (For purposes of this thread, I'm treating them like they're there own company; it's entirely possible they could just be a brand name/subsidiary of Young & Smith the way CoverGirl was with Procter & Gamble.)

    So, weirdly enough, at the turn of the century, make up was not a thing. About the only people who used it were prostitutes and actors/actresses, and it wasn't for sale in department stores. Perfume was used, but not in major amounts; likewise deodorant (role ons wouldn't come around til the 50s and spray on aerosols til the 60s). From what I understand, it was the popularity of the ballet that changed this just before WW1, and afterwords, in the 20s and 30s, what we think of as the make up industry and culture of today got its real start. So, while it's possible there may be some sort of angle tying to company in some way to early Hollywood or 19th century stage actors (and my fondness for the old tv show Friday the 13th The Series really makes me want to tie John Wilkes Booth's make up case into this somehow), odds are that Siren probably didn't get its start until the 20s or 30s at the earliest, with the post WW2 boom period probably being more likely.

    If you're like me and know little to nothing about women's cosmetics and other forms of make up, Wikipedia's article on the subject does give an overview, as well as terminology and definitions.

    Lindsey Woodhead's War Paint is a duel biography of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, how they founded their beauty empires and their personal rivalry. Apparently it's being made into a Broadway play, and is the basis for a documentary, The Powder and The Glory. Sharrie Williams's The Maybelline Story is about the origins of said company and the underside of the somewhat secretive family that runs it.

    Stacy Malkin's Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry covers a number of issues that can easily tie in to PENTEX and various Werewolf themes. Siobhan O'Conner and Alexandra Spunt's No More Dirty Looks covers similar territory.

    The CBS daytime soap opera The Young & The Restless (1973 - ongoing) involves as part of it's plot lines the Abbott family and their Jabot Cosmetics company.

    As horrible as the film is, Catwoman (2004) does involve an evil cosmetics company and the main villain has powers derived from make up. Likewise, a lot of the early advertising for some of the Resident Evil films involved make up that claimed to "bring dead cells back to life", which offers another weird angle to play with.

    While that's the major cosmetics industry, which may potentially have a number of vampires and other beings who are protective of their little fiefdoms, there's another angle that may tie into Werewolf even better. That would be the "Mary Kay model". They're not as big of a thing nowadays, but if you grew up in the 80s, you probably saw them quite a bit. They work on what is called a "multi-level marketing" system, which is what those of us outside the business world sometimes refer to as "pyramid schemes". A distributor (or "beauty consultant") has to buy a starter kit (usually from another BC) and then goes out and tries to sell to other people. Like most pyramids, the ones who succeed are the ones who move into recruiting and wholesale, getting teams of BCs to sell for them. This sort of middle and working class market is probably one of PENTEX's top target demographics, and the fact that Mary Kay is currently a huge thing in China is just another potential plot hook. (Ironically, from a Werewolf standpoint, Mary Kay was one of the early companies to give up animal testing for their products, but the Chinese government actually makes them do it in China in order for them to sell there.)

    I suspect that Siren likely tries, subtly (or even subliminally), to encourage it's products use among younger and younger women and girls, perhaps doing tie ins with Avalon (Siren branded make up for dolls or "my first make up kit" type things) as well as advertising heavily in Vesuvius published magazines aimed at teens and tweens.

    Bruce Stirling apparently did a weird short bit about using cosmetics advertisement blurbs as weird science fiction, which can serve as idea candy for Siren products or new Siren fomori (the one about acid skin got me thinking). Also, in the intro to Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton made a mention of genetic research being used in the cosmetics industry, which could make for a Weaver-ish plot thread for a pack to follow back to PENTEX.

    And while dealing with perfume rather than make up, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), as well as the Patrick Suskind novel its based on, can offer up a few odd ideas.

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  • No One of Consequence
    Hmm, I'd forgotten about him. I think I remember him from Daredevil. It kind of puts a new spin on "From my cold dead hand ...."

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  • Fat Larry
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

    I've never really had any great ideas for Herculean related fomori, besides the fact that they're obviously the main supplier of weapons to PENTEX's First Teams.
    I've always pictured some guy like Bushwacker, who's one of the Punisher's main villains, to be a good example.

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  • No One of Consequence

    So, guns. Right off the bat, I'm going to plug World of Darkness: Armory for New World of Darkness/Chronicles of Darkness, as the sections are firearms basics, terminology, legal issues and so forth are an easy to understand primer on the subject. It's sequel, Armory Reloaded talks about theoretical high tech/"a week from tomorrow" type weapons as well as cursed relic weapons, both of which can offer ideas for Herculean products or Wyrm fetish guns.

    If one is looking for real world inspiration behind HFI, there's Smith & Wesson, Colt's Manufacturing Company, Browning Arms Company, Olympic Arms, OF Mossberg & Sons, and many others in the US, Germany's Heckler & Koch, Austria's Glock Ges.m.b.H., and Italy's Benelli Armi SpA and Beretta, just to name a handful. Pretty much all of these companies have websites and Wikipedia entries.

    There are also a wide range of gun magazines published, most of which you can peruse at the larger bookstores or the like.

    CJ Chivers's The Gun is primarily the history of the AK-47, but also gets into the mindset of early gun manufacturers and some of the sometimes weird history of the industry, as well as modern issues of gun smuggling, child soldiers and other subjects that can tie in well with more serious Werewolf chronicles.

    Paul M. Barrett's Glock: The Rise of America's Gun talks about the history of the popular weapon as well as it's place in pop culture and American gun culture.

    Lord of War (2005) is a look at international arms dealing, the sort of things PENTEX is undoubtably involved in. The film is somewhat based on a real person, Vicktor Bout, who is the subject of a documentary ​The Notorious Mister Bout (2014) and a book by Stephen Braun and Douglas Farah titled Merchant of Death. I have never seen the film War Dogs (2016), but it's based on a non-fiction book by Guy Larson, originally titled Arms and the Dudes (later retitled to tie in to the film) about a private contracting outfit that bought and repackaged cheep black market ammo to resell to the Afghan government as part of a US military contract.

    The company's name is clearly derived from Hercules, the mythic strongman and paragon of machismo, and is meant to convey such an image, most likely with the undertone that people with guns are compensating for something. I, personally, find this a little too on the nose (not as bad as naming the animal testing company Aesop, but close), but, alternately, it does offer up one potential angle behind the company's origins and purpose. Part of Hercules's exploits involve monster hunting (and in this light was the namesake for the Herculean Compact, a faction of monster hunters within the Order of Reason's Void Seekers from Mage), and I can easily see the company getting it's original start from some one trying to make bigger and badder guns to hunt werewolves after some sort of tragic event put him on a path of revenge. This could probably tie in to some sort of Werewolf: The Wild West (or Victorian Werewolf) chronicle for people running such a thing.

    In the US, the majority of early firearms manufacturing took place in New England as part of the early Industrial Revolution, many of them have moved their factories elsewhere in the past generation, usually to the West or Deep South regions. Between this, Good House and Hallahan, this would seem to make late 19th and early 20th century New England a hotbed of proto-PENTEX activity. This seems fitting, given the influence of HP Lovecraft on certain aspects of Werewolf and the Wyrm.

    I've no idea if the forthcoming movie about the Winchester House and it's supposed hauntings will be any good, but it's a really interesting story. Alan Moore used it in an early part of his run on Swamp Thing to good effect.

    I've never really had any great ideas for Herculean related fomori, besides the fact that they're obviously the main supplier of weapons to PENTEX's First Teams.

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  • glamourweaver
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    Clerks II (2006)
    Don't forget Dogma (1999), which introduced Mooby in the first place (hence the significance of a Golden Calf mascot; sort of a nonsequitor detail in Clerks II, but that's because the commercialism as modern idolatry fit specifically into Dogma's narrative and themes).

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  • No One of Consequence
    Yes, We Have No Bananas (The Weird World of Tropical Fruit Companies)

    So, among the numerous companies mentioned as part of PENTEX, somewhat surprisingly, none of them were involved in agriculture, save the most tenuous ties with Young & Smith. What makes this especially surprising is that the misadventures of the United Fruit Company in Central America and the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in the Pacific are the sort of stories that have strongly influenced popular perception of unethical behavior by large corporation.

    So, the United Fruit Company primarily dealt in bananas, and their near monopoly over certain regions of Central America is where the term "banana republic" originated. (For a period, they actually ran Guatemala's postal service.) After WW2, they had serious ties to the CIA, using them to help quash regional problems to their company. There are a number of books about United Fruit, including Peter Chapman's Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World, Jason M. Colby's The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race and US Expansion in Central America, Rich Cohen's The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King, Stephen Schlesinger, Stephen Kinzer and John Coatworth's Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, and at least three different books titled Banana Wars about US intervention in Latin America. In the 1960s, the company merged with a meat packing company to become United Brands, but rampant mismanagement lead to the suicide of the CEO, crippling debt, and exposure of a scheme to bribe the president of Honduras (known as Bananagate). The company was acquired by American Financial Group and is now known as Chiquita Brands International.

    United's main competitors in the Latin American banana trade was the Standard Fruit Company, who were eventually bought out by Castle & Cook, who also ended up buying the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Hawaiian Pineapple Company was founded by James Dole, who came to Hawaii right after his cousin, Sanford Dole, became President of the Republic of Hawaii following the overthrow of the native monarchy by foreign business interests. Julia Flynn Siler's Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Venture is a good overview of this event. Today, Castle & Cook is known as Dole Food Company.

    Obviously, any PENTEX business as heavily involved in Latin America as any fruit/banana company is going to eventually touch on issues of political oppression and corruption, death squads, revolutionary terror groups and other dark subjects. Films such as Romero (1989), Salvador (1986), The Evil that Men Do (1984), and Under Fire (1983) can offer up plot ideas. This is the sort of thing PENTEX First Teams can excel at (and also find potential recruits from).

    In terms of fomori breeds, I can't help but imagine some sort of blood-sucking bat-like creature. But I'm weird.

    More later.

    Debating mining vs guns for the next one.

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