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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    HERCULEAN FIREARMS INCORPORATED

    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 ‚ÄčThe 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.

    Leave a comment:


  • glamourweaver
    replied
    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).

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    O'TOLLEY's (Your fast food family place)

    Clearly based on McDonalds, as well as others from the widely diverse world of fast food. Again, I'm still really sad that Subsidiaries never became a series, because Sean Riley, the writer of Hammer & Klaive and the revised Glasswalkers tribebook said he really really wanted to do O'Tolley's in the sequel (partially because he worked at Subway for most of his time at college).

    Modern Marvels has one or two episodes dealing with the fast food business which are kind of interesting. There's also a wide number of videos about various aspects of the industry on YouTube.

    Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation gives a look at the downsides of the industry, as does Morgan Spurlock's "documentary" Super Size Me (2004). I also recommend watching Tom Naughton's Fat Head (2009), which points out a lot of the problems with SSM.

    Marian Nestle has written two books, Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health and Soda Politics.


    For the average crew at an O'Tolley's, see various episodes of Beavis and Butthead and The Simpsons ("We need more secret sauce! Put this mayonnaise out in the sun!"). Also the Doublemeat Pallace episode from season six of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.

    Added: The Founder (2016) is the biopic about Ray Kroc and part of Michael Keaton's ongoing string of excellent acting.

    Since any mention of a PENTEX-run burger place is likely to inspire thoughts of cannibalism, see Delicatessen (1991), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)1, Ravenous (1999), Sweeney Todd (2007), and Soylent Green (1973) for assorted ideas.

    For a more mundane criminal conspiracy angle, the Los Pollos Hermanos chain from Breaking Bad (2008-2013).

    For those that want to get truly weird and out there with O'Tolley's, I recommend Break Today, the Mac Attax sourcebook for Unknown Armies 2nd ed.

    And for those that want the full O'Tolley's employee simulation experience, see Lord of the Fries from Cheapass Games.

    And on the more humorous side, Good Burger (1997), Better Off Dead (1985), Fast Food (1989), Coming to America (1988), and Clerks II (2006)

    1Clearly PENTEX needs a chain of BBQ joints.

    More later.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-14-2018, 07:11 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    I've made a few updates to the previous companies.

    I'm currently working on a list fo O'Tolley's ("The Family Place!").

    I'm also probably going to do an interlude about an industry that never got a company, the banana/fruit business, because the real world United Fruit Company almost qualifies as a PENTEX subsidiary on its own. This'll probably end up being a semi-regular thing in this thread, as I essentially try to invent a completely new subsidiary for people to use.

    Leave a comment:


  • Crowley
    replied
    i been watching Mr Robot and Evil Corp/E Corp has a striking Pentex vibe, specially when it comes to the CEO's and Corporative world view.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    HALLAHAN FISHING COMPANY

    A company that not a lot of Garou are going to run across that often, but a major one for the Rokea if you want to do a were-shark game. Again, we were never given much information on the company or its background, but going by the name, I'm going to guess it was founded by an Irishman (or Irish immigrant/descendant) who started as one of those small single boat fishermen along the Northeast coast of the US back in the 19th century, perhaps making a deal with some ocean-based demon/spirit for commercial success in exchange for some dark favors. Or maybe he was a member of Lovecraft's Esoteric Order of Dagon. At least that's how I would've done it. (If anyone who's knowledgeable on Irish mythology/folklore can suggest any such Celtic sea monsters, I'd love to hear about them.)

    Mark Kurlansky's Cod: A Biography of the Fish the Changed the World is interesting, mostly for historical stuff, but does talk about the fish's depletion due to modern industrial fishing.

    Paul Greenburg's Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood both look at the current state of industrial fishing and it's impact on ocean ecology, US economy and diet, among other issues.

    Lee van der Voo's The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and your Dinner Plate is a look at the increasing privatization of the seafood supply and the impact of the "sea to table" concept.

    Kevin M. Bailey's Billion Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaskan Pollock is about the fish that makes up the vast bulk of mass produced fish items in the US (fish sticks, fast food fish sandwiches, Krab-with-a-K imitation crab meat) and the impact of overfishing on it's population.

    The reality tv shows Deadliest Catch and Wicked Tuna give an interesting look at commercial fishing from the boat-level. Also the film The Perfect Storm (2000), and the Sebastian Junger book it's based on.

    Whaling isn't really a thing in US companies any more (the petroleum industry pretty much killed the market for whale oil, and North Americans don't really see them as food), but remains a thing in Japan and Scandinavia. PENTEX's fishing company (or maybe some small subsidiary of the subsidiary) might try to get in on that. Eric Jay Dolin's Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America is a good overview of the industry in the US. Jun Morikawa's Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics, and Diplomacy is an interesting look at the subject, but ridiculously expensive for it's size. Even more so for Juliane Riese's Hairy Hippies and Bloody Butchers: The Greenpeace Anti-Whaling Campaign in Norway.

    Monster-wise, H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth and it's precursor Dagon are classics which offer fun ideas for corrupted fishermen.

    Also, Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), for the classic aquatic fomori archetype. (Although I think the redesign from 1987's Monster Squad looks even better than the original.)

    Added: Other fomori ideas from the film Leviathan (1989) and the Go Fish episode from season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    More later.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-13-2018, 11:56 PM.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    GOOD HOUSE INTERNATIONAL

    PENTEX's second oldest company, according to the books, is the pulp and paper industry company Good House International. We never got much background on the company (one of the reasons I was really hoping that Subsidiaries would have ended up being an ongoing series with at least four or five volumes), so it's kind of a blank slate to play with in some respects. The largest such company in the world is apparently International Paper, which is headquartered in, of all places, Memphis, TN. The US, Canada, Japan, Germany, Finland and Sweden are apparently the major paper producing nations. Russia also seems to have their own share of the pie in both the Northwestern and Eastern Siberian parts of the country. This makes Good House a potential antagonist for a lot of settings, including Rage Across Russia era "shadow war" ones (right after the USSR collapsed and they might've been eagerly looking to expand into this new potential market) and the Beast Courts (trying to make investments/deals in Japan or China).

    From a corporate synergy perspective, Good House likely gets all its wood pulp from a PENTEX owned forestry/logging company (which I could've sworn they had one named, but can't seem to find it ATM) and have major contracts with O'Tolley's, Vesuvius, and other PENTEX holdings.

    Mark Kurlansky's Paper: Paging Through History is an interesting and easy to read overview of the history of the subject.

    I've not read any of his stuff, but Jim Thompson has apparently written a number of books about the industry, apparently aimed at investors and insiders (The Pulp and Paper Industry: A Perspective for Wall Street and Personalities in the Pulp & Paper Industry: The 6-Ton Elephant in the Room No One Ever Talks About), which may or may not have some useful information or anecdotes.

    From what I understand, making paper from wood pulp didn't really become an industry in the US until after the Civil War, mainly in New England and New York IIRC.

    Jamie Sayen's You Had a Job for Life: Story of a Company Town is a look at Groveton, NH, a company town built around a paper mill until it's decline in the 1980s. This is the sort of human impact stuff that, IMO at least, PENTEX stories are really good for. The Images of America series has a couple of books about various towns in New England, such as Westbrook (Maine), Jay (Maine), Montville (Conn.) and others for those who might be interested in historical chronicles (say, Werewolf: The Wild West goes East or some sort of Victorian Era Kinfolk or Twilight Agent/Arcanum style thing in the vein of Call of Cthulhu).

    When the Mill Closes (2016) is a documentary about the pulp and paper industry in Canada.

    Apparently because so many of the chemicals and other things used to make paper are so flammable, many of the original paper mills were heavy users of asbestos, with workers never really warned of any of the potential dangers of the material. Obviously, this is a potential plot hook for PENTEX stories.

    Prophecy (1979) is one of those 70s eco-horror films set in Maine and involving the effects of a paper mill's dumping of mercury and other toxins in the local water supply. Like most films of it's type, it's pure shlock, but the movie is also one that was a major influence on Werewolf (especially in terms of toxic mutations and corporate carelessness, and got a major shout out in the Gurahl breed-book, as it has the archetypical bear-fomori).

    Stephen King's short story Graveyard Shift and the mediocre film adaption of it involve a New England textile mill, but a lot of the themes can easily carry over to old and abandoned paper mills in the region. (Some of those old mills are actually Superfund clean up sites, which makes me wonder if PENTEX has a textile company somewhere.)

    More later.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    I think the real heyday for Atlas, at least in North America, is going to be in the 1960s and early 70s. The economics of nuclear power in the US is probably a large factor in why they ended up being bought out by Endron. But one of the genre tropes of gothic horror is stuff from the past coming back to haunt the present, be it uncovering some forgotten conspiracy or some monstrosity lurking in a decommissioned power plant.

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Fukushima can say a lot of different things depending on what you need for your game. That it happened at can be a condemnation of modern nuclear safety. The mistakes and human error that partially countered the safety features can show how Pentex could deliberately cause (or magnify) a nuclear disaster. And that a massive earthquake and tsunami could still only cause what they cause can show just how hard someone would have to work to create a worst case scenario.

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  • The Laughing Stranger
    replied
    A lot of these technologies have the potential to be disastrous from the viewpoint of the Garou; I think a werewolf would have to be insane to welcome a nuclear plant into their territory. Even if everything works as intended under normal conditions, Fukushima shows that when things go bad, they go really, really bad.

    Seems like ape-thinking to assume 'nuclear power is comparatively good but coal is killing the earth.' I am pretty sure most Garou would think they both suck. Gaia doesn't care whether humans are safe or comfortable or have access to internet or HBO. It's all the trappings of the ascendant Weaver.

    With their slipshod practices, I could easily see a Pentex subsidiary failing to dispose of nuclear waste or even using said poisonous materials for evil ends. It doesn't have to involve a catastrophic meltdown to be deeply environmentally dangerous.
    Last edited by The Laughing Stranger; 01-11-2018, 01:59 PM.

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  • glamourweaver
    replied
    Honestly, nuclear power is such a non-issue in the United States that I don't even bother presenting Pentex as having invested in it (at least State-side) at my own table. Instead they use it as a boogieman to deflect from the FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRR greater environmental and human health harm done by the fossil fuel industry.

    Note that in reality, the environmental litigation that ties up potential nuclear power plants are bankrolled by Big Coal. That to me is the more interesting Pentex hook.
    Last edited by glamourweaver; 01-11-2018, 12:55 AM.

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  • marin
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

    I will also mention that Dr. Cockroach from the movie Monsters vs Aliens gave me the idea of (a mentally unstable) someone at Atlas and/or PENTEX coming up with the idea to create human-cockroach hybrids who could survive a nuclear war as some sort of fomori breed (maybe looking like the things from Mimic or the cockroach shifters from Werewolf: The Forsaken's War Against the Pure).

    More later.
    There's the Samsa, the cockroach shifters from Book of the Wyrm 20 (though they tap Kafka's Metamorphosis more than anything else).

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    ATLAS INTERNATIONAL

    Probably the single biggest industrial boogieman - Book of the Wyrm 1st ed flat out says that nuclear energy is PURE EEEEEEVIL!!! and that every single nuclear power plant is a Wyrm Pitt - so it was a tad ironic that by the time the 2nd ed came out, it was such a fading industry that Endron had bought them out and went from oil to energy.

    Anyway, Modern Marvels did do an episode on Nuclear Tech (11-26), and I'm sure that Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are in one of the many, many Engineering Disasters episodes.

    The China Syndrome (1979) is, IMO, not a very good film. But it happened to come out right at the same time as Three Mile Island, and probably did more to shape a generation of American's views on nuclear power than anything else. Also, and especially fitting for PENTEX, is Silkwood (1983). Likewise Edge of Darkness (2010).

    Wikipedia has an article listing notable "whistle blowers" in the nuclear industry, and most of the stories can be mined for plot ideas involving Atlas.

    I am currently waiting on a copy of Kate Brown's Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters to come in the mail, but it looks to be a potentially interesting account of one of the weirder aspects of early plutonium manufacturing and research (and potentially an idea for a way to breed fomori).

    While I suspect uranium production probably falls more under Harold and Harold Mining than Atlas, I will go ahead and mention anyway Judy Pasternak's Yellow Dirt: A poisoned Land and the Betrayal of the Navajos, one of a number of books on the impact of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.

    James Mahaffey has written a trio of books about atomic energy, ‚ÄčAtomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters, Atomic Awakening: A New Look at the History and Future of Nuclear Power, and Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder.

    Kazuto Tatsuta's Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is a manga-form first hand account of the clean up efforts at Fukushima after the massive earthquake and tsunami induced meltdowns.

    More on the humorous side, The Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986)

    And, of course, no discussion of nuclear power plants in the World of Darkness could be complete without mentioning Mr. Burns and the Springfield Nuclear Plant from The Simpsons.

    I will also mention that Dr. Cockroach from the movie Monsters vs Aliens gave me the idea of (a mentally unstable) someone at Atlas and/or PENTEX coming up with the idea to create human-cockroach hybrids who could survive a nuclear war as some sort of fomori breed (maybe looking like the things from Mimic or the cockroach shifters from Werewolf: The Forsaken's War Against the Pure).

    Added: So, the above mostly focuses on atomic energy in the US, but there is an "International" in the company title.

    Euratom is apparently the shorthand name used for Europe's Atomic Energy Community, the international organization which has been promoting nuclear energy in Europe since the 1950s. Weirdly (or perhaps conspiratorially), they're about the only organization of that type to have remained independent of the EU and outside the regulatory control of the European Parliament. I confess to not knowing very much about Europe's history with nuclear power. Hopefully someone who does can offer some insight, especially on areas where Atlas might have insinuated itself or found some sort of partner company to merge with/buy out.

    I've not read it, but Gabrielle Hecht's The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after WW2 sounds potentially interesting, as does her more recent Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade.

    And speaking of Africa, South Africa actually had a nuclear weapons program back in the 70s and 80s, until they decided to completely abandon it in 1989. David H. Albright's Revisiting South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Program is a pretty good overview of it. This is, of course, the sort of thing a PENTEX nuclear power company might have been secretly involved in.

    And, back in the US, John M. Findlay and Bruce W. Hevly's Atomic Frontier Days: Hartford and the American West about the Washington State arm of the Manhattan Project, it's role in Cold War plutonium production, and the ongoing efforts to clean the site.

    I will mention that while Endron was clearly initially meant to be based on oil companies like Exxon, BP and Standard Oil, the post merger Endron appears to be morphing into something akin to General Electric.

    And More Added: I am kicking myself for forgetting this: C.H.U.D. (1984), about homeless people in NYC turned into mutant monsters by illegally dumped radioactive waste. It's a classic of it's genre, and was a major influence on Werewolf in regards to the fomori. I really consider it a must-see for Werewolf fans.

    More later.
    Last edited by No One of Consequence; 01-12-2018, 10:23 PM.

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  • Ramnesis
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post

    Vesuvius Incorperated, the publishing company, is said to publish comic books, but no brand imprint was ever given, IIRC. (I'm going to have to poke about a bit and see.)

    The subject of comics is one I hope to get into when I start looking at industries that were never really covered1, because I think there's a tremendous amount of material to be mined there. Not just in terms of subject matter or male empowerment fantasies and the like, but also historical bits like pre-comics code stuff in the 40s and 50s and the speculator bubble of the 90s, and corporate synergy issues such as when Marvel was owned by Toy Biz and DC's place in the Gordian knot that is Time-Warner.

    If you've never read it, I very highly recommend David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America. It's an easy but informative read about how and why the Comics Code came into being and, ironically, how it actually saved the Superhero Genre.
    SFdebris' series, The Rise and Fall of the Comic Empire, is a source I would recommend when you get around to that subject.

    For one of my own projects I've been researching the history of American television animation and it is amazing how many twists and turns that story takes. A lot of it is better inspiration for the Technocracy (there's a lot of stuff that revolves around court decisions and battles over free speech), but there's plenty of inspiration for Pentex there too, from how Hasbro leapt on lowered restrictions in the 80's, to how Ted Turner built his media empire, to why you should keep beloved shows away from Hallmark at all costs.

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