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Pentex is the everpresent servant of the Wyrm corporation in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. You might also find references to Pentex in other World of Darkness books, but on the whole the evil Wyrm Corp is designed as a nemesis for Werewolves. What follows are a few suggested ways to use Pentex in your games, particularly non-Werewolf chronicles.
1) Ventrue Bait
Imagine you are a centuries old vampire who has made careful planning and sound investment your watchword from day one. You’ve amassed a fortune that is unparalleled, even as it is held in various shell corporations and by various minions. Now imagine there is a force working against the interest of your corporation. At first you assume it is another foolish Ventrue, or one of the Toreador muscling in on your action. Then you slowly uncover evidence that this hostile takeover is being performed by a subsidiary of Pentex. You start trying to seed your ghouls into the organization only to find them having ‘accidents’ soon after they take their new job.
Pentex has been planning this operation for 100 years. They know this Ventrue has power over an entire conglomerate of economic authority. The trap is set. Will the Elder put his foot farther into the deep end, or will they leave their hard-earned wealth? This Elder is smart, of course, so they hire a coterie of Kindred to investigate this… King Breweries to see what sort of mischief they are about.
2) Take Your Medicine, Young Woman
Being a Changeling is amazing. You’ve finally started to feel alive again. You are discovering what it means to be you, and after several rough years feeling like you at 18 feels like an accomplishment. Of course, all of the requirements at court make taking college seriously really hard. In fact, you’ve flunked your entire first semester. Now, thankfully the school is willing to give you another chance and they’ll even expunge the entire semester’s grades if you are able to get a B or higher in your second pass through. Oh, and the school nurse suggests you take some new medication from Magadon Pharmaceuticals to help your concentration.
A month later, the motley comes looking for their young Pooka friend. But now she’s hardly herself. Her fae mein seems to have disappeared completely. Where she once felt like herself, now she feels like she has to try and be someone everyone else expects her to be. The only clue the motley has is the daily dose of MagLoft the Pooka takes. How did they do this to her? Why did they? Do they do this to all the Fae that come to this school?
3) Omnipresent and Helpful
The hard-pressed cabal of Mages decides to take the night off. They pull into Ten Tickle Ales’ brewpub and have a few drinks. The next morning they take a handful of Magadon Migraine Mauler, and they roll off to face the Technocracy another day. On the way they pass a sign for O’Tolley’s. Man, their burgers aren’t the greatest but you sure get a craving for them whenever you see the ads. After they escape the clutches of another group of Men in Black with their Hit-Mark associate, they fuel up their car at the Endron station at the end of the block.
That’s when someone in the cabal starts to think. Who owns all of this? Are these corporations owned by the Technocracy? If not, by who? Do they control part of the consensual narrative? If so, how and why? Why do I feel like I always need a drink when I’ve stopped at the Endron Mart for gas? Is that because I’m actually thirsty or because there is a subtle mind-control effect going on? Wait, did something just slither out of the gas line into my car?
Pentex is Everywhere, Pentex is Good.
4) Profit Is Good
The Avalon Toy Company makes a lot of great toys. The Red-Eye Air Rifle you got on your 12th birthday is still one of the things you love. You gave it to your son when he was 12, and now it’s your fetter. However, since coming to the other side of the shroud you’ve noticed something about the gun. It has a… sheen on it. The look in your son’s eyes changes when he holds it. It’s not joy, its something… sinister. You can feel something akin to the Tempest upon the whole thing. When you investigate Avalon-R-Us you notice most of the toys are the same. The factory is the same, and the factory on 5th and West Ave sits on the edge of a Nihil.
Does Avalon have a connection to Oblivion? Does it want to kill children, adults, or does it want to corrupt the world? Should your son even have the air rifle? The one you love, the one that helps you stay connected to him? Can you convince your friends to help you investigate Avalon, and figure out what is going on? Or will they shrug their shoulders and focus on more pressing matters related to the Hierarchy?
Hopefully you can get some mileage from these plot hooks. Pentex is one of my favorite elements of the World of Darkness.
Josh is the intrepid Chief Operations Officer of High Level Games. With 20 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He runs, www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s currently running a Changing Breeds game and writing a lot. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C. You can also find Josh’s published adventures here and here.
Picture Reference: https://nerdarchy.com/world-of-darkness-enemies-garou-pentex/
The World of Darkness books are filled with great NPC ideas. Sometimes though, you want just the shard of a concept to help build your own. Here is a list of concepts for you to flesh out. Some are serious, some are ridiculous. Run with what works for you.
1) Clinton Perry: Ragabash Red Talon
Clinton was born in the National Zoo. He was freed by a pack of Bone Gnawers. His deed name is “Breaks All the Shit.” Clinton wants to travel far away from home. Something is calling to him.
2) Jung-Ho Park: Ventrue 13th Gen
Madame Park was embraced during the Korean War by a Ventrue who had attached himself to the US military operation. Park is frustrated by her lack of blood power (generation).
3) Miles Morales: Ananasi Hatar
Miles is from Queens. He ate his parents during his change and now struggles with a reduced emotional connection to that act of horror. He pretends to be a superhero to assuage his dwindling conscience.
4) Professor Jazz: Troll
Prof. Jazz is a blues man by nature, and a jazz drummer because it pays the bills. He gets his glamour from watching people watching his videos on their phones.
5) Keshia Jackson: Salubri Antitribu
Keshia was embraced less than a year ago, but she's made the most out of that time. She is encouraging the Salubri to drop the anti label and declare themselves the 3rd Sabbat pillar Clan. Both the clan, and the Panders are listening.
6) Mary Tandy Moore: Unknown
Mary finds themself caught dealing with drug dealers and college professors fighting over a plot of land which holds value to each side. They want nothing to do with it, but they can't stop being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are looking for help from multiple sources.
7) Joaquin Scheder: Sidhe
Joaquin is way out of his element. He doesn't understand why he can see the world the way it is. A dragon is stalking him, and he doesn't know if it is friend or foe.
8) Casper: Haunter
Casper was killed as a child. He really wants to play with the other children, but they run when he shows up. He is particularly fond of Little Mike.
9) Lupus: Black Fury Gangrel Abomination
She doesn't remember who or what she is. She knows she needs blood, and she cries when she sees the moon. A pack of Sabbat and a pack of Werewolves are stalking her.
10) Charles Maddox: Arcanum Scholar:
Maddox is a strange character. He's been a member of the Arcanum for 10 years, and he claims he's onto a major breakthrough related to the Disparate Alliance. Whatever that is…
So there you are 10 basic character sketches that can get you started. What would you like to add?
With 18 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He recently launched,www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s a player in Underground Theatre LARPs and is running a Mage game and a D&D 5th Edition campaign. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C.
Image Source: John van Fleet
During the last Leveling Up Podcast I talked about some of the surveys I use for my games. I send these surveys to my players using Survey Monkey. Now, I play with all of my players in person, and you might wonder why I use surveys instead of just asking them in person. I do this for two reasons. The first is that I like to give my players a chance to think about answers to some questions. Asking at the table may get a quick response, but it might not be a very considered response and that may not be how they actually feel about something in the long-run. The second is my issue, I don’t always remember the details of my player’s sheets or elements of their character. I remember bits and pieces, but sometimes they have things that I forget about that are drastically important, but don’t come up in play frequently.
I use these surveys to check-in with my players too. If a session was rough, deep, or really awesome I want to hear about it. The table feedback is great, but using these tools helps me to be holistic. A player might think of something awesome to include in the game while they are sitting at work and want to pop that information into the survey. What follows are two survey examples I’ve used recently.
Q1: Where is your character from?
Q2: How does your character dress?
Q3: What goals does your character have that you would like me to take into account?
Q4: Are there aspects of Vampire that you would like to have addressed in our game? (example, descent into the Beast, feeding on other Vampires, Golconda)
Q5: How much combat do you want?
Q6: Is there anything you absolutely do not want to deal with in game?
Q1: Character Name
Q2: Where was your character born?
Q3: What Flaws do they have?
Q4: What are some of your character's goals?
Q5: What goals do you have as a player?
Q6: The World of Darkness can be dark, are there any elements you'd like to avoid in our game?
Q7: What is your highest level skill and why?
These surveys act as a second and third order way of communicating with my players. I want to run the games they want to play. I also want to run games that I find interesting. So these surveys act as another layer of making sure we are both having our interests met by the game. I also do regular conversation check-ins with my people, but those have their limits in social environments if people were to become uncomfortable with answering any of the various questions I have for them. That’s not common, but it has happened before and this is another way of avoiding those situations for the social conflict averse person. You can also check-out a much more in-depth survey here, which I found to be a great resource.
With 17 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He recently launched,www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s a player in Underground Theatre’s and One World By Nights Vampire LARPs and is running both a Mage game and a Dark Ages: Vampire game. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a recent graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.