As long as people have had stuff, they have also struggled to house it all. Warehouses are the most utilitarian manifestation of this desire – a building dedicated solely to storing things. The standard warehouse of 100 years ago looked remarkably similar to today’s version, and the warehouse of the future will probably also be very familiar.
The standard warehouse is, at its core, a large box-like building, designed to get objects in and out as efficiently as possible. Warehouses traditionally also have utilitarian offices for their workers, usually sectioned off to one side; outside of being traditionally less ornate than their more dedicated cousins, these are otherwise very similar (see the “Office” entry in this book). Unlike retail locations, warehouses discourage visitors; they are situated away from standard traffic (often in a “warehouse district” of town), have bare metal walls with no decoration inside or out, and favor protecting their merchandise over making people comfortable. As such, the typical storage area has no climate control unless the stored product demands it, resulting in extremely uncomfortable winters and summers, if the area has such temperature extremes. This seclusion makes the warehouse easier to load and unload in quiet, but it can also make it a tempting target for thieves.
The standard small warehouse has one roll-up garage-like door by the storage area, and traditional doors into the office. Larger warehouses may have multiple or larger entrances to either area, as might those designed for a specific purpose, such as one intended to store large airplane parts. There are almost always entryways from the office onto the warehouse floor, since those workers are primarily in charge of buying and selling the merchandise, inventory control, or security.
The layout of the warehouse floor primarily depends on what is being stored. In general, warehouses have arrangements that ensure every product is accessible, although slow-selling material may be relegated to an out-of-the-way corner. Thus a heavy machinery warehouse would be arranged into wide aisles so that a forklift could transport any particular piece, while a book redistribution warehouse would keep its books sorted by company and ISBN.
What a warehouse lacks in beauty, it usually makes up for in security. Warehouses typically depend on three different types of protection: structural integrity, alarms, and guards. All warehouses rely on a secure construction (usually solid metal walls and doors – 30 to 40 Toughness, depending on importance). Medium-sized warehouses generally have an alarm system; thwarting this requires an Easy security check for poor or ill-kept warehouses, Moderate for standard important buildings, and Difficult for those storing the most valuable and expensive equipment. Finally, larger warehouses often have at least one security guard on hand at all hours, and multiple guards might watch exceptionally large or valuable sites. To move palettes of product or equipment, large warehouses utilize forklifts.
Warehouses can be customized fairly easily to suit different needs; the only general requirements are storage areas and office space. Thus to mimic a smaller warehouse with the map, simply use the Secondary Storage area as the whole warehouse; the doors connecting the Primary and Secondary Storage areas would instead open to the street or parking lot.
Basically a heavy-duty motor on wheels, with a seat directly over the engine and two movable prongs (forks) in the front, the forklift makes multiple tiers of shelving in a warehouse possible, as well as enabling workers to move much more than they could on their own or with a simple, pushed pallet jack.
Move: 5 (3.6 kph)
Toughness: 6D (does not protect those in an open cab)
Scale Value: 4
Don’t Miss …
The Peachtree Road Business Facility, built in 1978, dwarfs many other warehouses in the city. Its primary storage area provides over 6,000 square meters of space, not counting the offices and other rooms, while secondary storage gives another 1,000 square meters. The warehouse’s current client is KitchiBath Pros, a major chain kitchen and bath fixtures retailer. They use the warehouse to store the region’s supply of bathtubs, countertops, toilets, and the like. (The buff foreman, 34-year-old Al Marshall, jokes that if a fight broke out here, it would literally involve the kitchen sink.)
The Peachtree Facility usually loads product into itself via the primary storage area garage door off the main room, while the loading dock is typically used as a staging area to prepare items for shipping to individual stores. Because the loading dock is so close to the offices and other eyes, sneaking into the warehouse would be much easier via the primary or secondary storage entrances (Easy sneak check), rather than the loading dock (Difficult).
The warehouse’s records are computerized and accessible via any terminal, though they are password protected (Moderate tech to hack in). The warehouse is also about 50% larger than it needs to be, so while it would be difficult to sneak merchandise out, it would be relatively trivial to get objects in … especially if the computer record could be modified to account for the mystery parcels.
Things to See
+ Cardboard boxes, wooden crates, or metal barrels
+ Flat pallets constructed of wooden slats or molded from plastic, about one to 1.2 meters on each side, sometimes stacked with containers and sometimes stacked on each other
+ Hand truck
+ Flatbed pushcart
+ Pallet jack
+ Tools and supplies in a toolbox (hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, nails, screws, clamps, etc.)
+ Packing tape on a dispenser gun
+ Metal bands and crimper
+ Yellow or white safety caps
+ Black safety earmuffs
+ Wide rolls of plastic stretch wrap on metal rod dispensers
+ For office suggestions, see the “Office” entry
People to Meet
Standard warehouse employees, managers, and guards should have 2D in most attributes. Those working on the warehouse floor have at least a pip or two more in Physique or lifting, and a skill die of piloting: forklift if that device is used. The manager should have +2 to +1D in business. A guard would have at least two skill dice divided among brawling, marksmanship, search, and security.
Warehouse Worker: Reflexes 3D, brawling 3D+1, melee combat 3D+1, Coordination 2D, piloting: forklift 2D+1, throwing 2D+1, Physique 3D, lifting 3D+2, running 3D+1, stamina 3D+1, Knowledge 2D, business 2D+1, Perception 2D, repair 3D, Presence 2D, intimidation 2D+2, willpower 2D+1. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 2D. Body Points: 11. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ The players’ characters require an essential, rare machine part that has been obsolete for a decade. They find paper evidence indicating that one particular warehouse might contain the item, but the foreperson refuses to search for it since the computer has no record of the item. Can they fig- ure out a way to sneak or bluff their way in, find the dusty part amid the huge warehouse, and escape unnoticed?
+ An unsavory villain is hiding in a warehouse at night, and it’s vital he be stopped … quickly! Can the players’ characters thwart him amid the dangers of darkness, blind alleys, teetering boxes, and the unfettered forklift? And if it’s true the warehouse was once used by the government to store arcane artifacts, what happens if the villain finds one?