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PENTEX: Research & Inspiration Company by Company

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  • #16
    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.

    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink


    • #17
      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.

      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)


      • #18

        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.

        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)


        • #19

          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.

          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)


          • #20
            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.

            Forum's Official's Joker and Trickster. Pardon my bad english, aint my first language (I Speak Spanish).
            ST: DtF, HtR, WtO, MtA
            Signature Chars: Crowley (hakalu), Joe The Nuwisha (WtA)
            Changelings: be afraid of the Technocracian High Five of Doom


            • #21
              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.

              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)


              • #22
                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.

                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)


                • #23
                  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.

                  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)


                  • #24
                    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).

                    Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow


                    • #25

                      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.

                      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)


                      • #26
                        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.


                        "Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger."


                        • #27
                          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 ...."

                          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)


                          • #28
                            SIREN COSMETICS

                            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.

                            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)


                            • #29
                              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.

                              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)


                              • #30
                                HAROLD AND HAROLD MINING, INCORPERATED

                                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.

                                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)