Character Introductions: Madam Salt & Baron Goldnose
Welcome to Character Introductions, a series where I interview newly introduced characters to the site and hear what they and others have to say about them. This time I'm interviewing the characters from the newest game on the site, Coal War Tactics: the mining business rivals Madam Salt & Baron Goldnose.
According to the Coal War Tactics' Game Information, both of them once had a friendly rivalry with one another. However, things escalated between the two and now they are both fighting over a claim of profitable ore nodes deep inside the Grand Neovian Mine; and by fighting I mean blowing up each other's mine carts with dynamite! Madam Salt, a Yellow Poogle with long orange hair and plain worker clothes, likes to get her paws dirty doing the day-to-day business, joining in the digging and not caring how dirty her face and clothes get. However Baron Goldnose, a Yellow Mynci with a swirly mustache and dressed in a nice business suit and top hat, only cares about the money and will do anything to keep costs down and profits high. Already these are two very different personalities we're dealing with, but somehow I got to sit down with both of them and had them not hurl dynamite at each other (mostly because I decided to wait and come right after a game session so they had no more dynamite). But a new supply of dynamite is sure to come soon so let's get started:
Welcome, Madam Salt and Baron Goldnose! I'd like to thank you both for sitting down and having this interview.
Baron Goldnose: No problem at all, I needed to do something while waiting for my next shipment of dynamite. And it's Baron Goldnose and then Madam Salt; let's not get the wrong impression of who's in charge here.
Madam Salt: Oh, stuff it, ya penny-pincher; you're as much as in charge here as a cart tryin' to charge uphill. Oh, and nice to meet you too.
Baron Goldnose: Oh, don't mind her; she's just a bit miffed because we just ended a session of our little claim dispute with me proving to be the rightful victor.
Madam Salt: Rightful victor of nothin'! I was one dynamite stick away from beatin' you if you didn't cheat and throw a whole batch of dynamite at one time, sore loser.
Baron Goldnose: It's not cheating if you can do it too, and you're the loser here.
OKAY! Let put this interview back on track. Now we know a little bit about each of you, but I don't think we really know who you are. Why don't each of you tell us a bit about yourself?
Baron Goldnose: Well, certainly, it all started...
Madam Salt: Hey, why do you get to go first?
Baron Goldnose: Because I won our previous dispute.
Madam Salt: 'Cause ya cheated!
Baron Goldnose: Because I tactically used my dynamite.
ENOUGH! I'll decide who goes first. Since your were the first one to speak, Baron Goldnose, I think it would be fair to let Madam Salt tell her story first. Then you can start taking turns who talks first.
Madam Salt: 'Bout time we had someone else with common sense to talk to down here! Anyway, the name's Madam Salt, or at least that's what my workers call me. I'm a humble minin' business woman who believes that the only true way to run a business is if you get your hands dirty and work for your fortune. That way you know that you deserved every single NP that you make and can appreciate all the more! Otherwise, if you only care about the money, you'll become a greedy tyrant who'll never be satisfied and only want more and more.
Baron Goldnose: I'm assuming you're talking about me? Well, I guess that means it's my turn then; by the way only others can judge whether you're humble or not. And considering you just gloated about yourself, humble isn't even in the top one hundred words I'd describe you. But onto the business of describing myself. I am known by most as Baron Goldnose, I too am a mining businessman. I own dozens of mines around Neopia and have made a vast fortune from them. I did so by making very careful decisions on what supplies to buy and how much, assuring that my mined materials are of the highest quality, and by making fair deals with customers that benefit us both.
Madam Salt: Look at ya tryin' to paint a piece of lead over with gold! You buy the cheapest supplies you can get, that "high quality" mined material of yours has been barely refined before you sell it off, and ya bully your costumers into signin' contracts which heavily leans in your favor!
Baron Goldnose: And I'm all that much richer than you because of it! The energy you waste chipping away at rock is the same amount I use to conduct business ventures.
Madam Salt: At least my workers like me so they're willin' to work harder!
Baron Goldnose: HA! If I wanted to be liked I wouldn't be a businessman. Besides my workers and I understand each other: they work or else I fire them and hire someone else who's willing to do their job and probably for much cheaper.
I think we get the picture. Let's move onto something I'm sure we're all interested in. It was said you were once-friendly rivals, what happened to lead you two to blowing up each other's mine carts?
Baron Goldnose: Ah yes, it's a wonderment how Madam Salt and I were once friends, but we were. We both started out in this business as foreman working together under a successful Tonu miner named Helfin. I was in charge of the financial side of the business while Salt was in the mines directing and helping the workers. Well, one day a rival of Helfin caused a cave-in while he was inspecting a potential mine and got trapped under some rubble, perishing before he could be rescued. It was a sad loss though Helfin had given Salt and me co-ownership of his mining operations. At first I and Salt kept to our roles, but soon Salt started to stick her nose into my job.
Madam Salt: 'Cause the workin' conditions started to become unbearable! I can tell you're about to twist the story so I'm takin' it from here! Startin' where Goldnose left off, business at Helfin's mine continued as usual but the workers and I started to notice changes happenin'. First there were orders of longer hours and fewer breaks, Goldnose explainin' that with the death of Helfin we needed to prove we could still supply our customers with the materials they needed and it was only temporary. Then we were told that to keep usin' tools and carts until they broke down, and when they did they were replaced with much more inferior tools and carts. Goldnose once again used Helfin's death as an excuse of needin' to keep costs down until we can get back to makin' a profit. Finally the last straw between us workin' together was when he announced that any worker who broke a tool or cart had to pay to replace it. I confronted Goldnose and told him either he stop bein' cheap or we were done bein' partners. An argument started and in the end we split up Helfin's company; we initially were goin' to split everythin' half-and-half but Goldnose offered to give me all his workers if I gave him a few of the mines I got from the split. I agreed and we left on friendly terms, but that quickly changed when I heard about him stealin' away customers from me!
Baron Goldnose: Stealing customers? Now who's twisting the story? I did not steal any customers, I simply made a better offer and your customers accepted it.
Madam Salt: Ya mean you bribed and bullied them into acceptin' your offer!
Baron Goldnose: It's business my dear, survival of the fittest. But that's where our once-friendly rivalry ended and we started to compete with each other more aggressively. However it wasn't until the Grand Neovian Mine did our rivalry, shall we say, exploded?
I guess that brings us to Coal War Tactics. How did you find out about the Grand Neovian Mine? Why did you two start blowing up each other's mine carts? Aren't you wasting valuable mined materials?
Madam Salt: The Grand Neovian Mine always existed, though previously was just called the Neovian Mine. It was thought that it was exhausted until Petpets who were put through Grave Danger started comin' back with rare ores and minerals. It was believed the Petpets had gotten them from deep within the mine which they somehow accessed through the catacombs, but those who tried to dig through the mine to it didn't have the resources to dig down far enough and gave up. That's where me and, regrettably, Goldnose come in.
Baron Goldnose: I believe that's my cue to take the story reins. I was keeping track of the new ever since I heard that rare mined materials were being brought back. I paid close attention to how far down previous mining attempts went and when the time was right I went to Neovia to talk with the mayor about being allowed to set up my mining operation. Salt must have also been paying close attention to the now called "Grand" Neovian Mines at the same time as I was as she had also come to Neovia to talk to the mayor about the mines the same time as me. Of course, I was first, but that didn't stop Salt from trying to claim she had the right to set up her own mining operation.
Madam Salt: Actually I was in Neovia way before you! Unlike you who were watchin' the news like a Vullard waitin' for ya time to reap the benefits from the hard work of others, I was sending my pet Weewoo through Grave Danger having it help me figure out how far down the ore nodes were. By the time I heard you had come to Neovia to ask the mayor for permission to mine, I had a pretty good idea how far down I needed to dig. However that's when the mayor told us that neither he nor the town of Neovia had the rights to the mine; it was privately owned but the owner died and he had no family so the mine was up for grabs. Me and Goldnose set up our own minin' operations and, usin' what I learned from my Weewoo, I got to where the ore nodes were first. Though of course guess who also "just so happened" to find the ore nodes the next day.
Baron Goldnose: Purely coincidence, I can assure you. As it turns out the previous miners have gotten quite close to where the ore nodes were, if they only dug a few dozen feet or so deeper it would be they who are here and not us. But what happened next answers your second question. For a few days we competitively mined against one another when one day an entire row of my mine carts blew up! It didn't take me a second thought to know who was responsible for this travesty.
Madam Salt: Ya should know, BECAUSE IT WAS YOU! I made sure me and my workers stayed as far away from your minin' operation as possible because I knew you would pull a stunt like this! He blew up his own carts, which later I found out was filled with non-valuable but highly explosive material, imagine that, so that he could slander and discredit me! Of course, when that didn't work the next day he blew up a row of my mine carts!
Baron Goldnose: Do you have proof of that? You're throwing out a lot of accusations against me, yet showing no evidence to support them! However you are the first one to say you'd start using dynamite against me when you talked to me about what had happened!
Madam Salt: Unless it's on paper it doesn't exist! But don't see how it matter if I did say it first or not, as you were eager to start throwing dynamite my direction! And that's how we got where we are now. And the answer to your final question is a sad yes, unfortunately when it'll stop is up to Goldnose!
Baron Goldnose: You started this, my dear, and I'm going to end it! Either you leave the mine or I'll keep on destroying your mine carts!
Madam Salt: I could say the same thin' to you!
*Just then carts full of dynamite came rolling in and their workers started to unpack them*
Baron Goldnose: Just in time! Time to force you out of these mines once and for all!
Madam Salt: It'll be you who will be runnin' after I make you run out of mine carts!
It's at this time I decided to end the interview and immediately leave the Grand Neovian Mine, echoes of explosions going on behind me as dust and small pieces of stone fell off the sides of the mine tunnel's walls. Upon getting outside, I decided it would be a good time to go around and talk with certain other characters about these two and see what they have to say about them.
Bori Miner (Helfin's rival)
"I want to first make it clear that I did not purposely cause the cave-in that killed Helfin, it was a terrible accident I feel extremely guilty about. But at the same time I claim no responsibility as the cave Helfin was inspecting was one that I owned so he had no permission to be in there in the first place! Had I known he was in there, I would have postponed the explosions which caused the cave-in, guided him out, and then continued the explosions as planned. Of course, try explaining that to his annoying Sandan which keeps stealing my gems! With that out of the way, let's talk about Helfin's previous foremen. Due to me and Helfin being business rivals, I actually saw a lot of Baron Goldnose, though just known as Goldnose back then. We talked a bit and he seemed like a guy who had his head on straight and knew how to get down to business. He even managed to convince Helfin to leave him the mining business if anything ever happened to him, though probably didn't realize Helfin made him co-owner with Madam Salt. Speaking of whom, I may have never met her but I have respect for Madam Salt. I agree with her that when you're digging yourself the rewards feel all the greater. I don't care who wins this "coal war" of theirs; if anything I'm actually kind of hoping they force each other out so I can taken the Grand Neovian Mine, HAHAHA!"
Solly the Sandan (Helfin's Petpet)
Due to Solly being a Petpet, he cannot directly speak so instead showed his thoughts on Madam Salt and Baron Goldnose through pantomime. I first asked Solly about Madam Salt and he gave a positive response, smiling and purring while jumping up and down in a happy dance. But when I mentioned Baron Goldnose he stopped hopping around and started growling angrily. Solly then went through a series of actions: he first acted like he was writing something down, pointed to where the Bori Minor was, ran over to a cave and acted like he was looking for something, pointed back over to where the Bori Minor was, and then made loud growls while throwing pebbles up in the air and acting like he was stuck under them. Hmm, it's as if Solly is trying to say that Goldnose had wrote to the Bori Minor telling him that Helfin would be exploring the cave letting the Bori Minor cause the cave-in which killed Helfin... NAH! But that would be one major conspiracy, wouldn't it? I ended my "interview" with Solly by petting him on the head and giving him some Petpet treats, though he must have not liked the flavor as he was frowning and shaking his head as I walked away. Oh, well.
Baffington (Neovian resident)
"How many times do I have to keep telling you people that they are VAULTS, not Catacombs. Anyway I kind of don't like them miner business people claiming a mine that technically no one owns and are starting to fight over it using dynamite. I recently had to stop exploring the vaults because they connect to the mines at some points and the explosion from the dynamite is causing clouds of dust to blow into the vaults. The Petpets crawling around are low enough to the ground that they remain unaffected, but I talked to many of the cultists, ghouls, doppelgangers, and dragons and they all been complaining about coughing fits since this whole thing started! Well, at least they're far enough away from Neovia that we're not feeling or hearing any of the explosions, but I do fear that one day they're going to hit a fault or something and cause a chain reaction that'll sink Neovia down a crevice, but that could just be me being a bit paranoid."
And that'll do it! Thank you for reading this installment of Character Introductions! I say we found out a lot about Madam Salt and Baron Goldnose and what others think of them as well. If you want to help either Madam Salt or Baron Goldnose out, make sure to play Neopets's newest game, Coal War Tactics. Pick who you want to help, place your mine carts, and try to destroy all the other's mine carts before they destroy all of yours! Until next time, safe dynamite throwing... saying that out loud, it doesn't sound quite right...!