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Credits

Writing: Chris Halliday, Christopher Helton, Jonathan Nichols and Jonathan M. Thompson
Additional Development: John Snead, DM Elliot, Anna Dobritt, Stephen J. Miller, Ramsey Lundock,
Neale Davidson, Jos Porfrio, Timothy Brannon, Eric Pavlat, J. Thomas Pavlat and Luke Green
Proofreading: T. R. Knight
Graphic Design, Typography and Digitial Pre-Press: Richard Iorio II
Playtesters: Jonathan M. Thompson, Adam R. Thompson, Terrece Thompson, Clay Weeks, Christopher Helton, Ramsey Lundock, Mark Vorwerk and Jos Porfrio
Cover Art: Robert Hack
Nemo Diary by Shawn Hilton

Pulp Fantastic Copyright 2015 Christopher Helton and Jonathan M. Thompson. Pulp Fantastic is published by Battlefield Press,
Inc., PO Box 861 Ringgold, Louisiana 71068 First printing. ISBN 0-9721419-8-7. Game system based on Doctor Who: Adventures in Time
and Space, DESIGNED AND WRITTEN by David F. Chapman. Copyright 2009 by Cubicle 7. Fantastic Universe, Pulp Fantastic, Fantastic World, Steel and Swords, Savage Adventures and Mystic East are all Trademarks of Christopher Helton and Jonathan M.
Thompson. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be duplicated without permission of the publisher or the copyright holder.
Errata and other feedback can be sent to thompsonjm@gmail.com. Attention: The bearer of this PDF has the permission of the
publisher and the copyright owners to have one (1) copy printed for personal use via any commercial printer. If you are a clerk in a
copy print center and you are reading this notices please do not treat our customers or yours as if they were a criminal print this
file. We are allowing it and you should also.

FA N TA S T I C

Introduction
What is Pulp Fantastic?
Whats a Role-playing Game?
The Basics
How To Use This Book
Playing the Game
PULP!
Chapter 1
Characters
Attributes
Skills
Traits
Story Points
Rules
A Note On Dice
Setting
Example of Play
Chapter 2
Creating a Group
The Premise
Who are the Characters?
Whos the Supporting Cast?
What Resources Do You Have?
Who Opposes You?
Connect It All Up
Creating your Character
Attributes
The Six Attributes
Awareness
Coordination
Ingenuity
Presence
Resolve
Strength
Skills
Areas of Expertise
Trappings
Assigning Skill Points
Skills List
Animal Handling
Athletics
Convince
Craft

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40
40

Fighting
Knowledge
Marksman
Medicine
Science
Subterfuge
Survival
Technology
Transport
Traits
Affecting your Character
Buying Traits
Traits List
List of Traits in order
Good Traits
Bad Traits
Special Traits
Psychic Traits
Creature Traits
Good Traits
Bad Traits
Special Traits
Psychic Traits
Story Points
Finishing Touches
Name
Background
Connections
Appearance
Equipment
Personal Goals
Groups & Bases
Story Point Traits
Good Group Traits
Bad Group Traits
Chapter 3
The Colonial World
Travel in the Colonies
Regions of the Era
The United States
England and Europe
North America
South and Central America

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Africa
Asia
Australia
Antarctica
Chapter 4
Interesting Times
The Great War
The Roaring 20s
Timeline 1901 1939
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
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1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939

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Chapter 5
Division 4
French Foreign Legion
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
The Invisible College
Knights of the Round Table
MI7
The Air Cavalry
Pinkerton Detective Agency
Scotland Yard
International Criminal Police Organization
Red Headed League
The Tong of
the Black Scorpion
The Tsang-Chan
The Mafia

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105
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106
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107

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The Nazis
The Gestapo
The SS
The Ahnenerbe
The Mara Brotherhood
Chapter 6
Why Roleplay?
Why Use Rules?
Rules are meant to be broken
Dont Cheat
Creating Your Character
Playing Your Character
Advanced Techniques
Research & Investigation
Action
Working as a group
Character Plots
Downtime
Conspiracies
Chapter 7
The Basic Rule
Unskilled Attempts
How a roll works
Intent
Difficulty
How well have you done?
Cooperation
Taking Time
Contested Rolls
Complications
Multiple Opponents
Combat & Extended Conflicts

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Intent
Action Phases
Exceptions
Characters roll and perform their actions
Reactions - Resisting the roll
Ongoing Reactions
Combat Complications
Getting Hit
Chases
Terrain
Pursuit!
Combat in Chases
Doing Something Crazy
Cooperating in a Chase
Losing a Physical Conflict: Getting Hurt
Levels of Injury

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Skills
Traits
Story Points
Leaving the Game
Getting Killed
Forced to Leave
Choosing to Leave
Chapter 8
Trappings vs Group Traits
Obtaining Equipment
General Equipment
Equipment Thats Not Listed
You Have It Until You Need It
Improvising Equipment
Weapons
Guns

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Fighting Damage
Marksman Damage
Other Sources of Injury
Mental or Social Conflicts
Bluffing & Deception
Arguments
Getting scared
Losing a Mental or Social Conflict
Loss of Attributes
Temporary Bad Trait
Forced To Comply
Healing
Natural Healing
Medic!
Multiple Injuries and Reduced Attributes
Story Points
Clues
Bonus Dice
Avoiding Failure
Ignore Damage
Ignoring Bad Traits
Inspiring Others
Altering the Plot
Gaining Story Points
Good Role-playing
Embracing Bad Traits
Completing Goals
Accepting Plot Twists
Helping Out
Maximum Story Points
Learning and Improvement
Attributes

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138

Pistols
141
Shotguns and Rifles
143
Machine guns
143
Sub-machine Guns
144
Beam Weapons
144
Sniper Rifles
144
Telescopic Sight
145
Other Ranged Weapons
145
Melee Weapons
146
Explosives
146
Armor
147
Lifestyle
148
Vehicles
149
Attributes
149
Traits
149
Sample Vehicles
149
Motorcycles
149
Cars
150
Military Vehicles
150
Airplanes
150
Zeppelins
152
Technology Levels
152
TL 1: Stone Age
152
TL 2: Bronze/Iron Age Middle Ages
152
TL 3: Age of Reason
153
TL 4: Industrial Age
153
TL 5: Space Faring/Information Age
153
TL 6: Star Faring Age
154
Purchasing Items of Lower or Higher Technology
Level
154
Chapter 9
155
Owning a Invention
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Creating Inventions
Behold! I call it the
Building Inventions
Invention Traits
Augment
Bulky
Control
Convert
Delete
Detect
Disable
Feedback
Force-field
Fragile
Hungry
Innocuous
One Shot
Open/Close
Restriction
Scan
Simple Controls
Simple Mechanism
Slow
Transmit
Travel
Unreliable
Weld
Zap
Invention Story Points
Some Example Inventions
Gas Gun
Hypno-Disc
Rocket Pack
Sub-Etheric Electrosender
Chapter 10
Storyteller
Director
Referee
What do you need to play?
Basic Gamemastering
Taking Charge
Be Prepared!
Make The Players Do The Work
Relax & Have Fun
Hints & Tips
Rules & When To Bend Them
Death is not the end
What To Do When Players Are Absent

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159

Bringing the Game to Life


Playing Non-Player Characters
Atmosphere
Experience and Gain
The Gamesmaster Is Always Right
Players
Chapter 11
Building a Better Villain
Motive
The Patriot
The Thrill-Seeker
The Quester
The Empire-Builder
The Glory Hunter
Just Plain Bad
Villain Archetypes

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The Foreign Mastermind


Siwang Lung The Death Dragon
The Mad Scientist
Doktor Todeskopf
Radium Man
The Cult Leader
The Black Lama
The Anti-Villain
The Pulp Nazi
The Corrupt Corporate
Rex Monday
The Dragon Lady
Du Kai Hua Poison Blossom
The Baroness
Baroness Veronique Devereaux
The Masked Terror
The Crimson Claw
The Master Spy
The Great Dictator
General Vladic Kazan, Premier of Berezkia
The Mob Boss
Bruno Sposato
The Man-Made Monster
Die Schreck
The Mangler
The Hoxton Creeper
Chapter 12
Creature Rules
Size
Speed
Creature Skills
Athletics

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Fighting
Marksman
Subterfuge
Survival
Creature Creation
Traits
Additional Limbs*
Aggressive
Amphibious
Armor
Aquatic
Bite
Burrowing
Claw
Constrict
Climbing
Enhanced Senses
Environmental
Fast-Moving
Fear Factor*
Flight
Frenzy
Grab
Immaterial
Immortal
Immunity*
Infection
Invisible
Leap
Lurker
Natural Weapons
Networked
Nocturnal
Passive
Poison
Possess
Replication
Savage Roar
Screamer!
Shapeshift
Slow-Moving
Snap
Special
Stalker
Stinger
Stomp
Strange Appearance
Teleport

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Trample
Warning
Chapter 13
Animals
Alligator
Bat
Bear
Big Cat
Bird, Large
Boar (Wild Pig)
Chimpanzee
Gorilla
Monitor Lizard
Octopus
Rat
Scorpion
Shark
Snake, Constrictor
Snake, Venomous
Wolf
Cryptids
Ape, Giant
Ape Man
Kraken
Stinging Bell Plant
Mongolian Death Worm
Spider, Giant
Spider, Monstrous
Vampire Bat, Giant
White Ape
Yeti
Meh-Teh
Migoi
Fantastic Creatures
Eldritch Abomination
Minor Eldritch Abomination
Martian
Martian War Machine
Undead
Mummy
Skeleton
Vampire
New Vampire
Master Vampire
Werewolf
Zombie
The Enslaved Dead
The Hungry Dead

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Dinosaurs
Pterosaur
Raptor
Tyrannosaur
Chapter 14
The Black Tie Affair
Robin and His Unmerry Men
Merry Men
Robin Hood
Aftermath
Lady Lilliamont
Mr Haberdrant of
22 Arcadia Avenue
Mr. Haberdrant
Underground Auction
Thug

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Grease Monkey
Gumshoe
Jungle King
Law Enforcer
Mob Moll
Martial Artist
Masked Avenger
Mystic
Mystery Man
News Hound
Operator
Personality
Relic Hunter
Rocket Man
Science Hero
Scientist

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252

Light Lance
Aftermath
All Seeing Eye
Bibliography
References
Movies and TV
Comics
The Genre
The Pulp Magazines
Reprints
Crimefighting/Superhero
Aviation/War
Horror/Weird Menace
Spy/Espionage
Adventure/Exploration
Detective Stories
Science Fiction
General
Comtemporary Pulp
The Era
Places
Appendix
Academic
Air Ace
Big Game Hunter
Brawler
Escape Artist
Explorer
Femme Fatale
Gangster
Gentleman Crook
G-Man

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Sea Dog
Soldier
Weird Inventor

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Introduction
T

of millions of readers, the magazines provided a financial


foothold for numerous writers who went on to create
stories and books that are the great works that the pulps
were (for the most part) not.

They are the technological knights who sweep from the


tops of their gleaming high-technology towers with their
wonders from the world of tomorrow. They are the shadowy
avengers who step out of the darkness of back alleys to
strike against the criminals who are choking their city.
They are the garishly dressed masked mystery men who
use the loudness of their anonymity to work against the
forces of evil. They are the heroes of pulp fantastic.

Ray Bradbury, Max Brand, Jack London, Sinclair Lewis,


Stephen Crane, H.P. Lovecraft, Walter Gibson, Lester Dent
the list of writers whose works appeared in the pulps
is long. The list of styles and genres that flourished in
those magazines is just as long, they promised fantastic
fantasy and thrilling thrillers: from the whodunnit to the
horror story, from the Wild West to the moons of Mars,
the pulps helped establish science fiction and fantasy in
the literary experience of the early 20th Century.

he characters in a pulp fantastic campaign are


like the heroes from the pulp magazines of long ago.
They let the Players be faster, stronger and smarter,
in a by-gone era where truth and justice could change the
world for the better, even if only on a smaller scale.

Back in the Pulp Era, the lines between those who were heroes
and those who were villains were clearly demarcated in the
stark contrast of black and white. The heroes were giants in
their world, towering over even the colossal skyscrapers going
up in the gleaming metropolis that they would safeguard.
In the chapters that follow you will find the rules that are
the backbone of character creation in pulp fantastic.
But, these rules are only a part of the process of creating
characters. Pulp heroes are stories, modern day mythologies that reflected the time period in which they were
created, as well as amplifying that world. Those stories
should be the most important element of the character
creation process, and those stories should take precedence
over the rules. The rules of character creation should help
to simulate the stories of the character, stories yet to be
told, not limit them.

The pulp publishers were in it, of course, for the money


(some things never change). Fortunes flowed from the
promises of the sensational and the sleazy. With literally
hundreds of competitors on the news-stands, the publishers constantly searched for the type of story that would
sell. And, in the 1930s, they struck gold with tales of
modern knights battling evil the tales that provided the
fodder for pulp fantastic.
The publishers could hardly help but notice that their
largest-selling issues were ones featuring heroes or
villains familiar to their audience, main characters
developed in earlier editions. From that formula, it was a
short alley-vault to continuing series based upon the daring
exploits of a Pulp hero. And it is the exploits of the hero
that pulp fantastic and almost all other rpgs are
influenced by.

If at times pulp fantastic sounds too corny to be true,


remember this: The pulp heroes that inspire this game
were not life-sized characters when they were created in
the 1930s, and the decades have done little to make them
appear any more realistic. They were larger than life colossi
who stood astride the mighty metropolitan cities in which
they were based, while their adventures spanned the
globeand sometimes beneath the Earths surface or far
into outer space. These mythic figures were never intended to reflect their contemporary world.

The first of these pulp heroes was The Shadow; the nemesis
of the night, born from the runaway typewriter of Walter
Gibson in the early 1930s. The pulp business was no more
imaginative then than television or Hollywood is today;
soon, a host of heroes was spawned to capitalize on the
success of The Shadow, from The Spider and The Octopus
to Doc Savage and countless others.

The pulp heroes were the last burst of those mass-produced, formula-fiction factories known as the pulp magazines. Born about the turn of the century, the pulps they
took their name from the inexpensive paper on which
they originally were printed were usually of suspect
literary quality, but besides inflaming the imaginations

Well, that is an easy answer. It is an alternate history set


during what was called the pulp era, or the period in
history existing between the wars. This game is designed
to emulate the adventure stories from that period, this
also includes radio dramas and modern movies set in the
period.

What is Pulp Fantastic?

SETUP

Pulp Fantastic

Whats a Role-playing Game?

How To Use This Book

Youre probably familiar with computer role-playing


games, where you play a character in some fantasy setting.
You wander around doing quests, levelling up, talking to
other characters and getting new gear. Tabletop role-playing games are similar, but theres one key difference.
Instead of a computer running the game, theres a human
Gamemaster and that changes everything.

The first part of this book (once you get past this introduction) is all about set-up how to come up with a framework
for your group, and how to roll up your individual characters. A framework explains why all your characters are
working together, and what it is theyre trying to achieve
as a group. Are they fearless explorers of the unknown,
uncovering the secret history of mankind? Are they the
agents of a reclusive millionaire, searching for the secret
of eternal youth? Are they a band of bored war-buddies,
putting their battle-forged skills to use promoting truth
and justice? Are they relic hunters in the employ of a major
university museum, braving untold dangers for fortune
and glory? Or have they all lost loved ones to the machinations of a nefarious evil mastermind, and are bound
together in the cause of justice by grief and a thirst for
vengeance? There are some suggested group frameworks
on page 36.

Instead of being limited to what the game allows you to


do, you can do anything you can imagine. Lets say you
need to get past a guarded door. A computer game might
only give you the option of fighting the guard or stealing
a pass. In a tabletop game, you can try anything maybe
you can persuade the guard to let you past, or bribe him,
or sneak through the sewers, or forge a fake pass, or even
convince the guard that he should be on your side. The
Gamemaster (or gm) describes the world, the players
decide what they want to do, and then the gm decides
whether or not they succeed.

The Basics

Firstly, you need a few friends to play the pulp fantastic rpg. One of you will be the Gamemaster, and the rest
of you will be the players. The game works with as few as
two people (one gm, one player), but its best with 3-5
players. (By the way, if you havent decided whos going to
be the gm, then the owner of the book should take on that
responsibility.)
Secondly, youll need to be familiar with the contents of
this book. You dont need to memorise the whole thing,
but you should understand how the basic rules (chapter
7 the basics) work, and how to make characters (chapter
2 genesis).
Thirdly, youll need a few dice (the normal, six-sided ones).
When an outcome is in doubt, youll be rolling dice to see
whether or not your character succeeds. Lets say you want
to scramble over a fence to escape the gang of thugs thats
on your heels. Youd add your characters Coordination
and Athletics scores together, and then roll two dice. If
the total of the dice plus your Coordination and Athletics
is higher than a difficulty number set by the gm, you make
it over the fence in time. If you roll badly... well, looks like
youve a fight on your hands, unless you spend a Story
Point.
Fourth, youll need a way to keep track of Story Points.
Story points are a way for you to change a bad roll or alter
the story in your favour. Youll be getting and spending
a lot of story points, so youll need a pile of tokens.
Pennies, glass beads, jelly beans, cardboard chits, anything
like that will do.
Got all that? Good. Lets get moving.

12

Next, theres the rules section. This covers everything


hazardous and nasty that your characters might come
across what happens when you try to shoot a gangster,
what happens when the gangster tries to shoot you, sneaking around, investigating mysteries and gaining new skill
and traits.
The Gazeteer describes the world of pulp fantastic,
and players are encouraged to read that to help immerse
themselves in the Pulp Era. The Organizations section
describes the various groups both good and bad your
heroes might encounter.
Finally, theres the Gamemasters section and the Pulp
Archetypes chapter. The former is full of advice and tips
for running the game, suggestions for series outlines,
along with a sample adventure to get you started, and the
latter describes the many notable individuals the characters may encounter.
Players are allowed to read everything apart from the gms
section and the Pulp Archetypes chapter if you spoil the
secrets in there, the game might not be as much fun for you.
Gamemasters, of course, can read the whole book.

Playing the Game

pulp fantastic is designed to be played in a series of


game sessions. Each game session takes up an evening.
Think of each game session as an episode of your own tv
series. Most of the events in a game session will be mostly
self-contained youll fight the threat-of-the-week and
deal with the problems surrounding the current crisis but
there will be plot elements and mysteries and conspiracies
that continue from episode to episode. Keep the metaphor
of the television series in mind as you play the game its
a good guide for both players and Gamemasters.

PULP!
By Jonathan Nichols

new york city, 1937

he stake sank into the crumbled wall with a shunk


and Veronica Pentecost sent the vampire back to Hell.
As the last pockets of air wheezed out of the skeletal
remains of the undead thing of the night, Veronica lit a
cigarette and blew smoke into the fanged skull of her prey.
Her client would be pleased. Satisfied with her victory,
Veronica pulled her trench coat around herself and turned
to exit the abandoned Brownstone.
But before the detective could even reach the doorway, a
most terrific upheaval of the earth occurred! Debris fell
from the ceiling and came crashing to the floor. The walls
buckled and began to give way as well. Veronica was going
to be trapped in seconds!
Or rather she would have been, had she not vaulted through
the doorway and into the street. It was perhaps not the
safest of moves, but a resident of New York seldom is
taught earthquake safety. And indeed that is exactly what
appeared to be happening that very day in the nations
largest city: an earthquake.
Asphalt streets were cracked and split open, building
foundations had slouched and dozens wandered in the
dust-filled air of the aftermath. As the tremors subsided,
fire trucks and nypd arrived on the scene, eager to put out
the blazes instigated by broken gas mains and fallen flammable materials. Residents turned out to help one another
out from under the rubble and to rush those who were
wounded to waiting ambulances.
In still other pockets of the neighborhood, plumbing had
ruptured, spewing forth water and lowering the water
pressure to a dangerously low level, a hazardous development for the firemen.
What could have caused such a disaster to occur in this
part of the world? Veronica did not know, but as her wristwatch began to blink red, she knew that she would be on
journey towards the answer soon.
Hours later in the midtown Manhattan penthouse of millionaire philanthropist Sterling Westinghouse, Veronica
Pentecost brought her sleek and silky form to what would
otherwise be an all-boys club.
And what a posh and expensive tree house that this boys
club held their meetings in. Overlooking the city and out
onto the Atlantic Ocean, the penthouse was furnished
with every modern convenience conceivable (the largest

television set that Veronica had ever seen was placed in


the lounge area near the bar. She thought momentarily
that she might get to see The Ed Sullivan Show, but then
realized that it most likely would not air due to the tragedy
and the moderate damage sustained by the shows studio
theatre) as well as many a strange and ancient archeological relic.
As was instinctive to the detective, Veronica automatically surveyed the penthouse in a flash, finding it full of the
usual suspects:
Dr. Washington Wash Stuttz, archeologist and worldwide
adventurer. He was a mans man if there ever was one.
Perhaps that is why Veronica disliked him so.
Chase Danner, former agent of the O.S.S. Although he was
a skilled pilot and renowned man of action, Chase was yet
to turn thirty and still had a brash and impulsive nature.
Perhaps that was why Veronica was so drawn to him.
Dr. Campbell Fleming, theoretical physicist and inventor.
With a balding head surrounded by long, white wisps of
hair, The Doc as he was known looked every bit the part
of the prototypical mad scientist. Perhaps that is why he
disturbed Veronica so.
And finally there was Sterling Westinghouse, millionaire
Wall Street man and philanthropist (how rare those two titles
were seen together). Whenever the world was in danger,
Westinghouse would call upon Veronica and the three men
mentioned previously. Together, they would confront the
threat and always they would emerge victorious. Perhaps
that is what gave Veronica hope when all seemed lost.
Ms. Pentecost, Sterling Westinghouse said as he approached her in one of his custom-tailored suits. He took
Veronicas hand and lightly kissed it. We were worried.
When you hadnt arrived we feared you to be a casualty
of the quake.
As you might imagine, its nearly impossible to make it
across the city right now, Veronica explained.
Ive had a late supper brought up and placed on the bar.
If youd care for any food or drink, please feel free.
Rather get straight to work if you dont mind, Veronica
said while taking a seat dangerously close to Chase.
Very well. Obviously, New York City has suffered a terrible natural disaster this day, Sterling said, taking center
stage as it were on a rise overlooking the lounge.

Pulp Fantastic
But how? Wash protested. The city isnt anywhere near
a fault line?

SETUP

Precisely, muchacho! bellowed Dr. Fleming while his


body quivered with nervous twitches and jerks of excitement. Something is indeed rotten in the Big Apple and
its not the garbage scows!
It is beginning to look conspicuously as if this disaster
was not natural in any respect. For as you might not be
aware, Moscow, London, and Paris have all suffered similar
fates this day. Someone is orchestrating these earthquakes
and I have been authorized to put an end to them. Doctor?
With that, Doctor Fleming stood up and snorted. He then
motioned for the others to follow him as he walked away
from the lounge. They proceeded to follow him to an open
area of the hardwood floor where some sort of mechanical
device stood. It was replete with tubes, wires, coils, and
components hitherto unseen before by anyone in the room
save for Jonathan. Excitedly, Doctor Fleming rubbed his
hands together and then flipped a switch.
Walla rutabaga! the eccentric old man exclaimed as the
electric device buzzed to life.
Its a doozy, Doc, Chase said with a whistle. What is it?
In the aftermath of todays quake, inspiration struck me!
I became host to a grand idea that I hope will one day take
root in the rest of the scientific community as well. Behold
my fantastic device! The siesmo-locater! Dr. Fleming said,
pressing another button and causing his device to utter a
series of beeping noises.
Congratulations, Doc, Wash grunted. Youve invented
the seismographan instrument thats been around for
years.
Oh no Dr. Fleming said with all seriousness. This is
far beyond any seismograph. It is meant to trace energy
and force of an entirely different order.
You were correct earlier, Dr. Stuttz, Westinghouse interrupted. Each of todays catastrophic earthquakes occurred
in proximity to no known geological fault lines. Therefore,
they would have to be caused by a construct made by man
that emanates powerful waves of force.
Force that I have called epsilon waves. And now for the
first time, you are about to witness my device track these
epsilon waves to their point of origin, Dr. Fleming said
excitedly.
Without another word, his machine clicked and whirred
and beeped in rapid succession. Within the center of the
device was a globe of the world, a globe that turned slowly
as a metal pointer dragged across the surface.
Its movingits moving Fleming said with bated breath,
anxiously awaiting the discovery of the location.
The metal needle drew a slow but deliberate line from
New York City across the Atlantic Ocean, over the coast
of North Africa, and finally came to rest in the center of
the nation known as Egypt.
14

I will telephone the airport and have your plane fuelled


and furnished, Westinghouse announced. You will leave
presently for the sands of Egypt.
Hot dog! Chase slapped his hands on the machine,
causing no small amount of consternation from Fleming.
Ive been achin something awful to get back into the
skies, Daddy-O!
Pack few personal effects, but make absolutely certain
that you have your wrist communicators. Dr. Fleming and
I will remain in constant contact with you, ordered Westinghouse. With you lies the hope of humanity, democracy, and most importantlyAmerica itself! Godspeed!
Moments later, a C-47 lifted off from a municipal airport
on Long Island. Chase Danner, one of the worlds top pilots,
sat smiling in the captains seat as he nudged the plane
higher and higher into the sky.
But perhaps he would not have been smiling so had he
seen the mysterious man in the gray suit who stood at the
airport, watching their every move before going to make
a phone calla call uttered entirely in German.
CAN OUR BAND OF HEROES LOCATE AND STOP THE SOURCE
OF THESE EARTHQUAKES BEFORE ITS TOO LATE?? AND WHAT
OF THE MYSTERIOUS MAN IN GRAY FROM THE AIRPORT?

cairo, egypt
The wailing of street vendors and beggars assaulted the
eardrums of the three as they made their way through the
marketplace. To Veronica Pentecost, the entire display felt
dirty and untouchable as she continuously yanked her
flowing robes away from grabbing hands.
Want to explain to me again why the hell I have to wear
this again? Veronica cursed from behind her veil.
Because doll, thats how women are supposed to dress
round these parts. Washington Stuttz explained. Me and
Chase here just look like a couple of white men. But if the
locals got a good look at your gams, wed be in the soup
for sure.
How many times have you been here, Stuttz? Veronica
asked as she squeezed herself between denizens of the
densely packed bazaar.
Im an archeologist, Wash said blithely. Cant really call
yourself that until youve been on at least a couple of digs
in Egypt, toots.
Veronica Pentecost took hold of Wash by the shoulder and
spun him around to face her glare.
One day youre going to call me toots or dolland the
next words out of your mouth will be my crotch! She
stabbed me in my crotch! threatened Veronica.
Thats right, Wash replied with a dirty smile. I like em
rough!
Mercifully, Chase arrived in their midst and broke the
confrontation apart. He was wearing a turban and robes.

INTRODUCTION
So what are you supposed to be? Wash asked incredulously.
One of the first rules of espionage. Blend in with the
populace and dont call attention to yourself, the young
secret agent stated. Got these from a vendor for a swell
price.
Friends! Friends! shouted a just-arrived stranger.
The approaching stranger was a portly Arab man in an
ill-fitting and equally ill-fashioned suit. A scraggly black
beard surround his lips and chin, contrasting against the
pale teeth of his smile.
Welcome to Cairo, City of the Pharaohs! I am to be your
guide here, Re-Zal Evad, the man said with arms wide
open.
Sterling Westinghouse sends his compliments, Wash
said to him in response.
You know this cat? asked Chase.
Westinghouse called me just after we took off and said
hed found us a local contact, Wash said.
And when were you going to let us in on that? I nearly
blew this guys head off! Veronica growled.
Come! Come! I have hotel waiting for you! beckoned
Re-Zal Evad as he moved off into the sea of humanity that
was the streets of Cairo.
A warm bath and a change of clothes later, our heroes
found themselves in their modest hotel rooms, sitting and
letting a ceiling fan attempt to push back the desert heat.
Washington Stuttz sat on the bed and tuned the knobs of
his wrist communicator until the vision of Sterlington
Westinghouse came into view in vivid black and white.
Weve checked into the hotel, Wash reported to the boss.
Our expedition leaves tomorrow morning. Anything new?
No new quakes just yet, thank God. Be carefuland
contact me when youve reached the target, Westinghouse
ordered.
Got it, boss, Wash said before cutting the channel and
lying back on his bed where he promptly fell asleep.
Engulfed by the dense fog of exhaustion, Washington was
oblivious that night to the cloaked figures that surrounded the hotel and even made their way inside and up the
stairs. Unaware was he that three of these cloaked ones
in fact had arrived inside his room while he slumbered
and snored. So light were their steps that not even the
squeaky floorboard beside Washs bed uttered the smallest
creak as it was pressed upon. The lead would-be-assassin
drew the length of his scimitar blade from the cloth belt
that was around his waist. Directly and with sinister intent,
the assassin pointed his sword downward, raised high
above the midsection of Dr. Stuttz. If performed correctly,
Stuttz would never even utter a sound during his own
murder. Were it not for a single, solitary bead of sweat
fallen from the sword wielder to Washs nose, that is exactly
what would have happened.

Wash groggily came to after being jarred awake by the


impact of the sweat drop. His open eyes saw the assassins
above him and immediately he gasped. This shocked gasp
continued as the cloaked men jerked and jolted from the
multiple gunshots that suddenly tore through their bodies.
Once they had fallen to the floor, Wash could see Chase
Danner standing in the doorway, holding a smoking automatic handgun in each hand and smiling inexplicably.
Sorry to disturb youre sheep countin, Daddy-O. But it
appears our hotel is surrounded by some mean hombres,
Chase said.
Washington Stuttz was not happy. They were in danger,
he had just come within a sweat drop of being a shiskabob,
and his rest was disruptedmeaning he would be well
beneath his required 7 hours of sleep for the day. Wash
reached into his leather travel bag and pulled from it an
iron mace that dated to medieval times

Sons of bitches must pay! he sneered before following


Danner into the hallway.
Veronica was already in the hotel hall when Chase and
Wash arrived. She slapped a clip into her pistol as bullets
ricocheted from all directions. The other attackers were
now pelting the building with rifle and machine gun fire,
indiscriminately shooting at the windows in hopes of
hitting their prey. Boldly, Veronica charged to one such
window and began to blazingly return fire.
I could stand some help here! she yelled to her cohorts.
You got it! Chase said, taking a stance at another window
where he let the attackers have it with both of his barrels.
His reply came in the form of machine gun fire being raked
across the face of the hotel.
Meanwhile, Washington Stuttz had entered the hotel lobby
where guests were fleeing their rooms in droves and the
night manager had ducked behind the front desk. Stuttz
hid himself behind the potted palm trees near the stairs
and watched as a group of men clothed exactly like the
ones who had attempted to commit his murder ran into
the lobby. As they approached the stairs, these men were
met with the mace of Washington Stuttz.
The leading man got the mace in his stomach, the one
who followed across his jaw, and another a pile driver to
the top of the head. Over and over, swing after swing, bash
after bash, Wash left the veiled attackers in a mess that
was unfit to be viewed by any decent American.
Upstairs, Re-Zal Evad came out of his room, still wearing
the soft, cotton cabana pajamas that he had bought in
London. He was just in time to see Chase climb out of the
window that was his firing position and take up a stance
on the ledge.
Theyre splittin! Chase reported of their attackers, firing
off a few rounds in their direction for good measure.
Friends! Friends! Re-Zal chirped with great alarm. Of
what is this?
Being from out of town, Veronica began as she dragged
15

SETUP

Pulp Fantastic
an attackers corpse from Washs room. We were going
to ask you the same thing. Any idea who these jamokes
might be?

suggested as he brought a shovel over to the rock-hewn


door. Its a the grave of a commoner. Shouldnt have to
worry about any traps.

I have no idea who these could be! Evad replied, perplexed.

But nothing could have been further from the truth. As


Wash Stuttz led his crew through the tunnel that led into
the ancient Egyptian grave, a set of heavy, wooden spears
tipped with bronze launched out of the walls, seeking to
skewer whomever they could and then block the way for
the rest. It was only because of Washs quick reflexes that
he was able knock the rest of the party backward and spare
them the fate of certain impalement. Wash then immediately set about to smash the crisscross of spears with his
mace while Evad went back to the camels for a change of
pants.

Not a scrap of traceable evidence, Veronica spat as if


what she had said were a curse. Her hands continued to
scour the body beneath her. This fellows face is nondescript, hes got nothing personal on his body. All I can tell
is that he smells like goat.
Yeah, but thats everybody around here, Chase said ignorantly. No offense, Re-Zal.
Oh none taken! Evad said through a forced smile.
That one seems a little cold for your tastes, Veronica,
Danner chided, as Veronica could not give up the search.
Should try to find one a little hotter.
I dont try anything, I just do it, Veronica Pentecost stated
as she stood to look Chase in the eye. Want to try me?
With bloody mace in hand, Washington Stuttz came up
the stairs just as Re-Zal Evad was growing very uncomfortable.
Well, that was a lovely way to spend the evening, joked
Wash.
It was a two-day journey into the desert to reach the target
location. In a convoy consisting of two old Ford pickup
trucks and the many camels brought by the local diggers
and workers that Re-Zal Evad had hired, the three from
America moved at a snails pace to their destination. On
the morning of the second day, the expedition awoke to
find that the tires on the trucks had been slashed during
the night, along with many of the water skins they had
brought along. The local help they had hired ran from the
scene even as Evad begged them to stay on until they had
reached their destination. To that, the workers only replied,
mesh mumken! <impossible!> Evad then had to break
the news that he and Stuttz, Danner, and Pentecost were
on their own.
With the shapes of the great pyramids rising in the distance
before them, the desert travelers finally arrived at the
coordinates provided by Dr. Campbells invention. The
destination itself was unremarkable, but as they dismounted from their camels while Washington rubbed his chin
and gazed upon the rock with great scrutiny, he rapidly
determined the objects true nature.
Its a tomb, Stuttz stated glumly.
I thought those were the tombs, Chase said, pointing to
the pyramids in the distance.
Not all the ancient Egyptians were buried in pyramids,
Re-Zal pointed out politely before waddling across the
sand to join Wash at the carved rock.
Maybe your next question will be better, Veronica suggested in a hot whisper directly into Danners ear.
Well lets get started clearing the entry way, Washington

16

After the spears came the fire. Some form of flammable


substance had been released through holes in the sandy
floor of the antechamber ahead and lit by a torch fallen
from the hieroglyphic-laden walls. Stuttz fell backward
into the others from the blast of heat cast forward by the
crackling flames
Stand back! Chase shouted, forcing his way past Stuttz
and leaping through the fire. His feet found their mark
on the modest sarcophagus that was in the center of the
chamber. Just tell me what Im looking for!
How the hell should we know what an earthquake
machine looks like? Wash hollered back at Chase, hands
to his head in order to deflect the heat.
Boss? Are you there? Veronica said into her wrist communicator, wasting no time in taking matters to the top.
Yes, Ms. Pentecost, a black and white image of Sterling
Westinghouse said. I am here.
Get Doc Fleming on the line, she asked, the heat oppressing her succulent form.
I need a few answers here! Chase shouted as he did a
veritable tap dance upon a grave, dodging the tongues of
fire licking at his boot heels.
Elsewhere, the image of Dr. Campbell Fleming had replaced
that of Westinghouse on Veronicas wristwatch. His white
hair seemed even more out of place than usual, his lab
coat more stained, and his demeanor more harried than
typical.
Whats going on? Whats wrong? he asked in rapid succession. I dont have much time because Ive got to get
back to the lab! One of my atomic experiments is not going
at all the way I had expected and Ive left Miss Akimoto
and my monkey in charge of things and I really shouldnt
even have departed because an isotope of this nature can
be so readily
The earthquake device! Veronica cut him off. What
does it look like?!
The earthquake device? Doc Fleming repeated the question. He then shrugged and gave Veronica a dumb look.
Heck if I know. Uhhh, it would have to be a massive mechanical construct. Power cables and conduit should be

INTRODUCTION
stretching out from it, it should be radiating a great deal
of powercant miss it, Fleming explained.

half a globe away. It still astounded Stuttz how Doc Fleming


could arrive at such marvelous inventions.

Theres nothing even close to that in here! Veronica


screamed.

Have Doc take a look at what weve found, Wash said as


he pointed his wrist towards the machine so that the two
men in New York could see it for themselves. Its cone
shaped, kinda bent at the ends, there are wires hanging
out at the bottom from where Danner ripped it free

Huh, no foolin? replied Fleming, perplexed.


Might it be underground? Evad suggested.
Then Chase pointed. In the direction of his extended finger
was a conical wedge of metal, camouflaged in the corner
of the antechamber amidst a few pottery urns. Stuttz
looked it over skeptically. Could Chase reach it through
the flames? As he looked around at the burning room,
Wash decided that Chase Danner would have to and tossed
a heavy cloth bag to him.
Grab it and get out! Wash ordered and then turned to
Veronica and Evad. The rest of you get out, too! I think
this fire is a self-destruct mechanism!
As his compatriots evacuated the tomb, Chase leaped upon
the odd metal object in question. Rapidly he wrapped it
in the heavy cloth as to protect his hands from what was
now undoubtedly metal that had been heated to a most
scorching temperature. Lifting it he felt resistance. With
time running increasingly short, Chase Danner gave the
object a mighty tug and felt it rip free. Beneath it stood
now severed electrical wires and cablesleading to where
Chase did not know.
Nor did he have time to investigate the matter. With smoke
now beginning to fill the entire underground chamber,
Chase took two more determined leaps and bounded his
way past the ring of fire. Though fleet of feet, he was not
fast enough to prevent the flames from licking across his
legs and igniting his pants on fire.
Finally Chase emerged on the desert surface as the fire
consumed the entire underground tomb. Immediately he
fell to the sands, rolling about in order to extinguish the
burning of his pants. Naturally, Veronica Pentecost immediately went to his side in order to determine just how
much of his pants had in fact disappeared.
Here it his, a coughing and smoky Chase announced as
he unwrapped the machine that he had carried forth from
the inferno.
You were lucky, Veronica told him. You couldve
gotten yourself burned alive by charging into the
chamber that way.
I tell you, lady. Theres the safe way, theres the dangerous
wayand then theres the Chase Danner way, Chase said
as he lit a cigarette that had mercifully not been ignited
by the flames.

Mazoomba! Its not the earthquake device, the voice of


Campbell Fleming said.
You better be joking, Veronica Pentecost said with no
expression.

As near as I can tell, its an amplifiera mechanism that


magnifies the quake waves as they move outward from
their point of origin. There could be many of these hidden
all over the world, Doc explained.
So what is it that we do now? Evad said, asking the
question that was now on everyones minds.
We can only move on down the line, Dr. Fleming replied
through the wrist communicator. Ill use the seismo-locater to run a trace.
Its probably going to be a while, Wash announced to the
others. If you want, Veronica, maybe you can go find a
mirror somewhere and you can pretty up.
I think Ill toss you back into the fire instead, Veronica
replied with complete sincerity.
Ive got it! Dr. Flemings voice mercifully declared, breaking the ugly silence between the bitter rivals. Your next
stop isZanzibar!
All that Dr. Flemings audience of four could then think
about is the hot, sandy, windy journey back to the C-47
parked at Cairos airport.
WHAT AWAITS OUR HEROES IN ZANZIBAR? WILL THEY EVER
ARRIVE AT THE SOURCE OF THE TERRIBLE EARTHQUAKES?
WILL VERONICA FINALLY SNAP AND JUST KILL WASH?

zanzibar
Where was Washington Stuttz? That was the single question on the collective minds of Chase Danner and Veronica Pentecost as they raced through the streets of the island
of Zanzibar, the two of them again finding themselves in
a crowded and exotic locality. Shortly after Chase landed
the plane on the island, the four of them dispersed in
search of the earthquake machine. That was 8 hours ago.
Wash had not been heard from since.

A most tiny machine to cause such large earthquakes,


Re-Zal Evad said aloud as he inspected the salvaged device
that was now sitting in the sands before he and Wash. At
a loss, Wash activated his wrist communicator.

The streets were clogged with bicyclists, pedestrians, and


a handful of cars that seemed antique by American standards, and even a healthy amount of oxen driven carts
were thrown into the mix. Amidst the teaming throngs
of humanity, how could they hope to locate Stuttzlet
alone the quake device?

You there, boss? he asked aloud.

Zanzibar! Chase hissed. Im back in Zanzibar!

I am here, Dr. Stuttz, came Westinghouses voice from

Not fond of Africas Jewel? Veronica asked as she dodged


17

Pulp Fantastic
a bicyclist and made the charge through traffic in order
to get to the marketplace across the street.

SETUP

Was here about a year or two ago, Chase explained as he


tried not to bump into a table that was covered with a pile
of green vegetables that he could not recognize. We knew
that the Reds were real interested in Africa. I went here on
the sly-like to discourage what the Commies had in mind.
You wouldnt have been involved in a certain Soviet
freighter explosion from around that time, would you?
wondered Veronica, again squeezing between pedestrians,
some carrying heavy loads atop their heads.
All I remember is how this damned humidity made me
constantly sweaty, Chase complained. Veronica stopped
dead in her tracks, and then turned to face Danner directly in the eyes.
And whats wrong with being sweaty? she asked in her
typically sultry way. Though known for his cool, smooth,
hipster repartee, even this spy could be left speechless by
the withering and unbridled eyes of Veronica Pentecost.
Truth to tell, she loved every moment of reducing the
young agent to a befuddled schoolboy.
Wewed better find Wash. Hey! Chase shouted, grabbing
the shoulder of a young, bare-chested boy who happened
to be passing by. He displayed an old photograph of Wash
to the boy, perplexing him even further. Have you seen
this guy?
The young African boy shook his head negatively and then
scurried off for fear of being further accosted.
Well, that didnt work. Time to try something else, Chase
said.
WASH! he screamed into the bustling crowd. wash!
where the hell are you?! It was the best that Chase
could come up with. At his urging, the two of them resumed
their hurried pace of walking. Lets hope that Re-Zal is
doing better than we are.
Elsewhere, Re-Zal Evad was seated in a caf, fanning
himself with his hat as the ceiling fans did little to reduce
the heat in the room. He looked about tautly and nervously; worried that someone would see him there, even though
there were only three other people in Zanzibar at that
moment that might question his presence in a caf. The
waiter brought Re-Zal his drink, unknowingly bringing
with it at least a small degree of distraction and comfort.
And then the man in the gray suit sat down at the table
and Re-Zal jumped agitatedly.
Colonel Leermeister! Re-Zal said in surprise.
You have information for me? the German asked humorlessly. He was bald, craggily faced, and seemed genuinely disdainful of life in general.
Please sir! Re-Zal begged in a hushed tone. Do not call
attention to me! There are ears and eyes about us!
I am not concerned with that. I wish only to know what
you have planned.
18

After looking about to make certain that the caf patrons


were far more engrossed in their own business than in
his, Re-Zal leaned across the table and divulged his secrets.
All is ready and in place. Dr. Stuttz already has been taken
care of, Re-Zal reported. One of the natives here who is
on my payroll is leading him to a substation of the earthquake device that is located deep in the jungle...but he
will never find it. There are a good many things in that
jungle that will have their way with him and very soon, I
will bring the others there for the same purpose!
And they are unaware of your involvement? Leermeister
questioned.
They suspect nothing! a giddy Re-Zal replied.
Stupid Americans, the Colonel breathed through a toothy
grin. You have done well, Evad. Your payment will be
wired to your account.
Oh one more thing if I may ask? Re-Zal questioned
timidly, the question bordering on ingratitude and causing
a raised eyebrow from Leermeister. I wish to go to America
and seemovie stars! And listen to this jazz!
Leermeister pushed his chair back and stood away from
the table, never once removing his narrow, predators eyes
from Re-Zal. Grabbing the edge of the table and the tablecloth, Leermeister flipped the table over, spilling the drink
onto his sniveling conspirator. Without saying another
word, the Colonel turned and exited the caf.
SoI suppose that was the infamous German temper,
Re-Zal said very very glumly as the contents of the table
saturated him.
Once in an alleyway beside the caf and off of the bustling
streets, Leermeister removed what appeared as a small
black and white television set from his suit coat pocket.
He manipulated the contraption much as one would the
wrist communicators invented by Dr. Campbell, turning
small knobs to tune in a fuzzy black and white image and
coaxing it into a clear form. A bald man with pointed ears,
a slender goatee and vaguely Oriental features stared
menacingly back at Leermeister from the screen.
We have success, Your Excellency, Col. Leermeister told
the sinister figure.
Despite the language barrier between he and his native
guide, Stuttz felt confident that at the end of the hike he
would be staring at two things: the earthquake device and
whoever had built it. The native guide seemed every bit
as adept at finding his way through a foliage-ridden jungle
as Wash, for Wash had certainly done his share of exploring in rough terrain. Along the way, Washington had
spoken with several villagers who had reported strange,
mechanical sounds and strange, electrical glows emanating from what used to be a temple of worship deep in the
jungle, confirming the rumors that the guide had reported to him.
And now as the guided jabbered in a tongue incomprehensible to Wash, he pointed past enormous, green leaves
the size of elephant ears and directed Stuttzs attention to

INTRODUCTION
what lie ahead. It was indeed a temple, centuries old by
Stuttzs reckon. But by catching sight of the gleaming
metal tube that was at the temples center, appearing
entirely as an anachronism juxtaposed against the ancient
stonework, Wash knew that his archaeological curiosities
would have to take a back seat to the dangers that the
world faced. He was, however, entirely oblivious of the
dangers that lurked just around the corner for him.
Wary of booby traps placed in the temple from ages forgotten, Stuttz entered the structure that was overwhelmed
by vines and other foliage. The metal of the device shined
before him, looking most distinctly out of place amidst
the ruins. He looked it over for a bit, studying all of its
lights, wires and panels. All told, the entire thing was no
longer than three or four barrels placed end to end. Raising
his wrist to his mouth, he made what was to Stuttz, the
only sensible decision.
Doc, you there? Wash said into the communicator. I
found the machine, but Im a little out of my depth here.
Well done Washington! Well done! Dr. Fleming exalted
from all the way in New York. Now move over to the
bottom of the device where youll see a nodule protruding.
It should be the power coupling.
Wash complied. He removed his fedora and ground himself
through the dirt until he was underneath the rear compartment of the technological cylinder just as if he were
about to change the oil on a car.
What am I looking for again? Wash asked while struggling with the gizmo.
A power coupling, the Doc replied.
Whats it look like?
A black cable.
Is it bigger than a bread box?
Of course it is! Dont be ridiculous!
I dont see anything like that.
Really? Are you sure youre in the right place?
Pretty sure, yeah.
I dont understand. Why dont you see the power coupling?
Look Doc, if I knew that wed be able to skip this conversation altogether.
Now where are you on the device again?
Just where you told me to go! Under the gizmo where the
nodule protrudes!
Oh, Fleming said with realization followed by a brief
silence. Thats not it then. Lets start over.
Dr. Fleming is indeed fortunate not have been in the jungle
temple with Dr. Stuttz, as the latter would most certainly
have shown the former just where he could place the
devices protruding nodule.

In time the proper instructions were conveyed and the


machine was indeed deactivated. Wash tromped wearily
out of the ancient Zanzibarian temple and met his native
guide. Though his intellectual curiosity implored him to
return to the structure in order to study it and discern its
social and historical implications, physical exhaustion
eventually won out in the argument.
Lets go, the archaeologist said to the native. Ive had
enough for one day.
After they had been underway for a few moments, Stuttz
looked back and noticed that his guide was no longer
behind him, thus not fulfilling the obligations of a native
guide. Where could he have gone?

Wash got his answer as the guide came running out of the
dense trees, hollering in his native language. Though
Stuttz attempted to steady the man and calm him down
from hysterics, it was of no use. Instead, the native merely
pointed behind them in the direction that he had just come
running fromso that they could both watch the largest
crocodile either of them had ever seen come rising out of
the jungle!
Oh great, Washington sighed in exasperation.
Ominously it crawled, low to the ground and slithering
its tail. Its powerful, beak-like snout opened ever so slightly and allowed a reptilian hiss to escape. In a desperate
panic, the native guide charged the croc, causing it to
open its ever-gaping maw. The guide moved swiftly to jam
his walking stick between the upper and lower jaw of the
great lizard, rendering the beast unable to bite. Infuriated
by this, the crocodile mustered all the strength in its jaw
and snapped the obfuscating walking stick as if it were a
dry twig. The native guide then proceeded to be swallowed
whole, down into the gullet of the animal.
Stuttz did not believe the croc to be sated, despite the
human outline now in the belly of the beast. It eyed him
with eyes cold and devoid of emotion. They appeared as
two black pools, darkened voids which stared back at
Wash. The giant reptile was rattled and it knew that he
was there, making Stuttz a potential threat. Steeling
himself, Wash drew his mace and prepared for the worst.
First came its tail with a broad slash just slightly over his
head. Stuttz jumped back a good six feet, narrowly avoiding connection with the spiny appendage. The second
time around he was not so lucky. The tail swung back and
slapped into Washs hand with surprising force. He watched
helplessly as the mace rolled away and into the green,
bushy, undergrowth of Zanzibar. The lizard moved swiftly
towards him, mouth agape just as it had done with its
previous victim. Empty-handed combat between a Harvard
professor and a giant crocodile; sounded fair to Wash.
With fight-or-flight instincts fully in place, Washington
Stuttz leaped onto the crocodiles head. The head was
essentially flat and made for a perfect springboard. Wash
was able to propel himself to the animals rear flank in
order to grab hold of its tail. A wrestling match of evolutionary proportions commenced. Reptile versus mammal.
19

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

Cold, indifferent blood versus hot, American blood.


As expected, the crocodile put up a fierce fight. It flipped.
It snapped. But Wash eventually was able to twist its tail
enough to render it completely upon its back. Now came
the most harrowing and treacherous part. Could he remember how to do it? He had seen it done once before at
the Worlds Fair in New York. You pin a gator down and
then gently rub its abdomen until it falls asleep. Of course
this was a crocodileand a big one at that. Still, there was
little choice.
As a mother would to a child with a tummy ache, Washington Stuttz brushed, rubbed, smoothed, and even caressed the stomach of the croc. He fought the urge to twitch
and wretch as his hand moved over the outline of the
native guide, being slowly digested within the animals
stomach. Eventually, the reptile massage paid its benefits
and the crocodile collapsed, fast asleep.
Wash followed suit. He fell backward into the grass as a
spent shell casing on the battlefield of the wild.
Through the tropical foliage and across the flimsiest of
rope and plank board bridges, Re-Zal Evad led Danner and
Pentecost on a most precarious trail that they could only
hope would end in finding their colleague, Dr. Stuttz.
Hurry! Hurry! Evad encouraged them, even as the rope
bridge began to give and buckle under their weight. This
way!
And how exactly did you find out that he was here?
Veronica asked as she fought to keep her footing.
I bribed one of the local officials! Re-Zal said as if he
simply wanted the line of questioning to end. Now we
must hurry!
The end of bridge reached, the shores of Indian Ocean
could be seen ahead with the sun setting in the distance.
As fast as his stubby legs could carry his rotund body,
Re-Zal ran to what appeared to be a log in the brush upon
which a figure was splayed in exhaustion.
Wash! Chase exclaimed as soon as he recognized the
figure and then joined Re-Zal in the beach foot race.
Much to everyones surprise, it was not a log that Wash
was upon, but rather a sleeping African crocodile. Stuttz
was barely conscious, his mumbled and barely audible
babble were made all the more incoherent by the proximity of the jungle noises. Chase urged him to keep still and
quiet while he administered a canteen of water to him and
cautiously dragged him away from the deadly reptile.
What the hell happened to him? Veronica asked as she
arrived on the scene, observing Washs torn clothes and
bloody scrapes. Is he going to live?
He will live as long as the rest of you, fraulein, which Im
afraid is not very long, came a sneering voice on the beach
behind them.
Veronica spun on her feet, her handgun drawn and at the
ready, only to find that they were surrounded by soldiers
holding rifles who were dressed in entirely gray uniforms
20

and bearing the red and black emblem of the swastika


upon their lapels. On their backs were metal gizmos the
likes of which neither Veronica nor Chase had ever seen
before. Standing amidst these troops was a triumphant
Col. Leermeister, smiling like a fisherman who had just
caught a prize trout. Bitterly resigned, both Chase and
Veronica raised their hands in surrender as the barrels of
each rifle pointed towards them.
My name is Leermeister and I am Colonel in the Fourth
Reich. I have pursued you halfway across the globe, mein
fruends. At last, I may stop chasing, Leermeister said
calmly. You have done well, Evad.
With that Re-Zal Evad took his place at Leermeisters side,
stunning the ones who were once in his charge.
Money is in my account now, yes? Evad asked. Col. Leermeister nodded affirmatively.
Theres two things in the world I hate, Daddy-O, Chase
said to Re-Zal. Nazis and traitorsand you gone and done
did both of em.
Enough! the Colonel hushed. It is time for us to depart.
Having said that, Col. Leermeister removed a flashlight
from his belt and pointed it into the darkening sky. After
flashing as series of timed pulses from the hand-held light
into the sky, a response of similar flashing occurred. Then
came a low, rumbling sound, as if the sky were about to
become filled with large airplanes. But no such thing
occurred. Instead, a large blimp came into view overheada blimp that bore the swastika emblazoned upon
its canvas side.
Come! Leermeister barked. We depart for New Berlin!
Despite Veronicas obvious repulsion to their hands, the
soldiers took hold of her and Chase and Wash, just before
demonstrating that the contraptions on their backs were
in reality rocket packs that would hoist them into the air
and into the gondola of the Nazi Zeppelin. Where they
would go to from therenone could say.
new york city
Dr. Fleming! Westinghouse said sharply as he entered
the wood-paneled room that had once been another study
of his but was now an impromptu laboratory for Dr. Campbell Fleming, who was waving his hands defensively in
response to his name being called.
Not now, Westy! Fleming pleaded in a manner resembling an epileptic seizure. Im up to my ass in alligators!
With that, Jonathan returned his full attention to the
tuning knob of one of his devices.
As is the rest of the world, Doctor. Ive just received word
that Bombay, India has just been toppled by a severe earthquake. What is the status of our adventurers? Westinghouse asked.
Thats just it! Fleming explained. I dont know! Maybe
theyre alivemaybe theyve met an ill-fate. I dont know

INTRODUCTION
because I can no longer get into contact with their wrist
communicators!
Sterling Westinghouse paused briefly and allowed his gaze
to drift while he mentally measured what his chief scientist had just told him. If the expedition of the three was
indeed lost, then whoever was responsible for these insidious earthquakes had already won.
You may have just written the worlds epitaph, Dr.
Fleming, Westinghouse said somberly.
HOW LONG CAN THE WORLD HOLD OUT AGAINST THE EARTHQUAKE DEVICE? WHAT WILL BE THE FATE OF OUR CAPTURED
HEROES? HAVE THE NAZIS RISEN FROM THE ASHES TO AGAIN
TORMENT THE WORLD?

antarctica
Silently and effortlessly, the Nazi blimp glided above the
frozen wastes. Securely fastened to a chair in the gondola,
Washington Stuttz looked down at the mountains of ice
and swirling snows. Below him was the coldest continent
on earth. Temperatures were regularly well into the hundreds below zero, any exposed human skin would freeze
on contact with the frigid air, and with nothing but white
in all directions, it would be so simple to become lost.
There would be no means of escape for Stuttz and his crew
this time.
Dont be so glum, Jack. I hear its nice down there, this
time of year, came the voice of Chase Danner, the man
who was chained next to him and reading the creased
copy of On The Road that he carried with him.
Sureif you call over a hundred degrees below zero nice,
Wash said with a sullen tenor.
Sounds cold, remarked Veronica Pentecost who was
likewise chained to a nearby chair. Well just have to keep
each other warm, wont we Chase?
The Nazis dispersed parkas to the prisoners and soon the
blimp descended and attached itself to a gantry tower born
skyward out of the snow and anchored in a metal platform.
The entire area around the tower was bustling with activity as the Germans had apparently carved an airbase out
of the ice of the Antarctic shelf. Snow crawlers and tanks
scurried about with mechanics as Leermeister brought
his captives down to the metal platform via elevator.
At the edge of the apron platform was a gaping black
mouth that formed the entrance to a cave. As the troops
plodded them along in a hurry to get out of the cold air,
Chase could see that the cave stretched deeply into the
recess of the ground. But whats more, the cave served as
an improvisational aircraft hangar. And what aircraft it
housed! Chases jaw dropped as his eyes fell upon them
for never before had he seen their level of sophistication.
Some were jets shaped as batwings, others as saucers
(explaining to him the source of what people had been
calling UFOs. Little did the world know they werent from
little green men, but from men more evil even than the
Commies), and others wereyes they were! They had to

be! They were rocketships, on launch pads placed beneath


silo doors in the rocky ceiling and pointing towards outer
space!
Damn, Chase said with a long whistle. Id give my right
nut to fly one of those babies.
When exactly did your people invade Antarctica, Colonel?
asked Veronica Pentecost as they were ushered into warmer
parts of the hangar. Technicians and mechanics still moved
about, shouting at each other in German.
Weve been here for a very long time, frauline, laughed
Leermeister.

SS troopers on guard snapped to attention and raised a


flat palm upward as Leermeister approached victoriously
with the prisoners. The guards stood as aside and allowed
heavy doors to move away, revealing an entryway over
which hung a swastika-bearing flag.
Quite an igloo you got here, Colonel, Wash remarked as
his eyes wandered about. Like something out of Buck
Rogers.
This is all from technology invented by the Reich years
ago, boasted Leermeister as he led them through metallic hallways, dotted occasionally with electronic access
panels and glorious portraits of Hitler. Once you had
invaded France in 1944, we knew that we were kaput in
Europe. So into U-boats went our most secret technologies,
our most brilliant scientists, and our most elite troops.
All of them brought here to the South Pole to build this
Neuschwabenland that you see here today.
And while you stupid Americans occupied yourselves
with your ridiculous victory parades, we were building
rockets, Leermeister said with a sly sneer. And jet-powered aircraft that far surpass any of the kites in your
arsenal.
This guys startin to bug me, Wash, Chase said in anger
as he attempted to wriggle loose of his captors. Stuttz
cautioned him to remain as he was and allow for time to
formulate a proper escape plan.
I think youll find that the wings of liberty havent lost a
feather, Herr Jack, Stuttz bragged with all confidence.
America and her allies stopped you once before and we
can do it again.
Ja? How interesting the Colonel smiled menacingly as
he brought the prisoners to a halt by a closed door. This
time, Deutschland has allies of her ownand weve recently made an arrangement that will have most dire
consequences indeed for America.
With that, the Nazi opened the door. On the other side
was a chamber that resembled a dining room, complete
with a long and grandiose table with chairs and place
settings all around. At the head of the table was a man in
purple robes, a bald man with a sharp goatee and pointed
ears. Slowly, the sinister being began to clap his handsa
considerable feat given his sickeningly long fingernails.
Welcome, Americans, he said with an accent that was
21

Pulp Fantastic
vaguely Oriental. I am Xan, an emissary from the kingdom
of Hyperborea.
This announcement was met with only an exchange of
dumb looks and disaffected silence from our heroes.

SETUP

Of course, I should not expect you to know of where Im


from, Xan said smugly. Please sit. Our mid-day meal will
be served shortly.
The Nazi troopers shoved the prisoners to their places at
the table. Resigned, Wash, Chase, and Veronica each sat
down and unfolded their napkins.
Hyperborea is a civilization which exists many miles
beneath the Earths crust, Xan explained. Unbeknownst
to your pitiful scholars, an entrance to this kingdom lies
below the ice of this continent. We recently encountered
Nazi scouting parties and though our rapport was tenuous
at first, we eventually came to find that we havemutual
aspirations.
Namely, world domination, Leermeister said as he raised
his recently filled flute of champagne.
As if on cue, the sound of thunder rocked the dining room
and rattled all glasses and dinner plates on the table. For
Veronica, the telltale shockwaves were far too akin to those
she had felt in New York.
Earthquake! she cried as she attempted to crawl under
the table, but was denied by Nazi guards.
No, no, silly frau, Leermeister cackled. That is a squadron of our X-Jets, returning from patrol, no doubt.
Man, I aint never heard engines like those on a plane before,
Chase marveled in awe to the sound of the Nazi jets.
I would wager that there are a great many things here
that you have never seen before, Xan mused.
Yeah, like an earthquake device, interjected Wash, attempting to bring the matter to a head. What exactly do
you hope to accomplish by bringing that kind of destruction to the worlds cities?
Oh certainly I have now made our goals most clear, Dr.
Stuttz, the sinister man from beneath the earth pompously stated. Unless the nations of the world turn total
control over to Hyperboreaand of course the Fourth
Reichwe will level every major city on the surface world
in less than two days.
You fiend! cursed Stuttz as he stood to vault over the
table and wring Xans olive-toned neck. He was impeded
however by Chases outstretched arm. This prompted only
laughter from Xan and Leermeister.
A pity, this aggression of yours, Dr. Stuttz. You all could
become part of the genesis of the new world order, offered
Xan with a fingernail thoughtfully poised at his lips.
Hey I might not be a church-going, cookie-baking, Donna
Reed kinda gal, Veronica began, incensed. But this girl
stands for only the good ol red, white, and blue!
No dice, square, Chase concurred.
22

Very well then, a contemplative Xan replied before pressing a button on his ornate belt. I shall have you now meet
a few of our other creations who escort you to your cells
where you will await whatever form of execution we deem
most amusing.
At that, the door to the dining hall slid openand six killer
penguins entered the room.
Yes! Killer penguins! Ordinary Emperor penguins of the
Antarctic now had rows of razor-sharp, piranha-like teeth
in their beaks and heavy weapons held in their modified
flippers. Around their waists were belts laden with ammunition clips and grenades. The penguin in the lead of
the formation leveled his heavy rifle at the three captives
and opened his beak for the first time and spoke:
Eep!
After being herded and corralled by the killer penguins
into a frigid jail cell, Stuttz, Pentecost, and Danner had no
course of action but to sit and waitand waitand wait.
This is driving me crazy! Wash exclaimed as he stood
up to pace, frustration finally getting the better of him. I
cant just sit here! Weve got to do something!
Youre flippin out, man! Chase hollered back. Theres
nothing we can do right now, so lets use our marbles to
come up with a plan! And all the while, Veronica sat silently, seemingly oblivious to their rant.
Oh yoo-hoo! a girly voice called from down the hallway.
Re-Zal Evad entered the brig to stand before their cell and
taunt sadistically. His corpulent form had been squeezed
into the accoutrements of an American teenager.
Re-Zal! Youre lucky I dont tear through these bars and
stomp on your head while cryin cocka-li-doodle-lee-doo!
Chase said with his hands firmly planted on the steel bars
of their cell.
Oh but sir! I was wanting to tell you that soon I leave for
America! I am going to hear live jazz for first time! And I
could not have done it without money gained from your
imprisonment! Shukran! Shukran! with that, he cackled
and departed in same direction that he came.
Oh yeah? Chase called after him, barely able to stick his
head through the bars. I hope your jazz show gets cancelledand they announce the a puppet show instead!
I like puppet shows, Veronica spoke for the first time
since they had been forced from the dining room and into
the brig.
Yeah? Well I like not being locked up in a cell by Nazis!
Washington complained. Now you want to actually contribute something to our planning here, or are you going
to continued to just sit and stare like you have been?
Without saying anything else, Veronica placed her hand
down her cleavage and removed a lock pick in the same
manner that a magician might extricate a rabbit from a
hat. She brandished it about in the air pompously for the
men to see.

INTRODUCTION
Whered you get that? Chase asked, surprised yet delighted.
Im a private investigator, she replied plainly. How else
do you think I get into buildings and rooms that Im not
supposed to be in?
Leaving that question to hang in the air, Veronica reached
her hands through the bars and around to the lock mechanism that she began to pick with all deftness and skillful
tenacity. After what seemed like endless seconds of rattling
and clanking of metal, the lock popped and the door swung
free. Before they were trapped and desperate, now thanks
to Veronicas crafty handling of the situation, the fight
was again theirs to be had. Overwhelmed by enthusiasm
for this prospect, Wash took Veronica in his arms and
kissed herbefore promptly dropping her.
Sorry, he said wiping his mouth. Got a little excited.
S-seems I underestimated you, Stuttz, stammered an
uncharacteristically doe-eyed Veronica.
Chase, you get to a radio transmitteror whatever kind
of Flash Gordon gizmo they have around hereand get
word to the boys back in New York. Veronica and I will
find the earthquake device and see how we can blow it up.
Now lets move like weve never moved before!
With those final instructions from Washington Stuttz, the
three moved out.
Back in New York City, the experiments of one Dr. Campbell Fleming were suddenly interrupted by the sound of
an incoming transmission on the radio receiver.
Uhh, hello? Fleming spoke into the microphone quizzically. His reply was a voice garbled through static. Hello?
Who is this? What do you want?
Doc! Its Chase!
Chase? a startled Fleming hooted. Chase Danner?

A steamy sort of warm?


Yeah. Howd you know?
If theyre working with the Hyperboreans, then I assume
that the Nazis must now have the ability to tap geothermic
energy sources. Listen, you must detonate the reserves of
jet and rocket fuel that they have in storage. Once you do,
the heat from the blast will ignite the geothermic gases
and that entire hall of nightmares youre in will go up like
a second sun. If were lucky, the blast might even be severe
enough to shut off the tunnel entrance to Hyperborea. At
any rate, we must make certain that the Nazis not reach
into space! Just make sure that youre all plenty far away
from there when it happens, okay, Chase? Chase?
Dammit! Doc! I gotta go!
And with that final, pleading statement from Chase, the
airwaves fell silent.
Hold steady, boy! Ill send help! but Fleming had absolutely no idea how he would make good on that promise.
Youve found them? asked Westinghouse as he re-did
his cufflinks and walked into the room behind Dr. Fleming.
Rapidly, Campbell Fleming recounted everything that the
secret agent man had reported to him over the radio and
watched, as the face of Sterling Westinghouse grew grimmer
by the moment. Though he momentarily raised his eyebrows
in optimism as Dr. Fleming explained the physics behind
the explosion that he had just ordered them to create, Westinghouse was still greatly troubled as to how to get his three
operatives quickly out of harms way.
I will call President Truman, a determined Westinghouse
finally announced, and then promptly turned for the telephone that sat on the edge of Flemings cluttered desk.
And tell him that a rapid strike force is needed in Antarctica.

The one and only, Daddy-O.

But Boss! Wont he think weve failed in our mission?


Wont he think

Where in blazes have you people been? Ive been trying


to reach you for

Truman will think what I tell him to think! snapped the


multi-millionaire as he picked up the phone and dialed.

Cut out the hubbub, bub. Weve been Shanghaied to


Antarctica by a bunch of Nazis. Theyre in cahoots with
this other strange guy who claims to be from a kingdom
inside the Earth and together theyre causin the quakes
with an earthquake device.

Well, thats a radio thatll never work again, Chase thought


to himself as he looked over the shattered and smoldering
radio console with the legs of a Nazi trooper sticking out
of it. Far more serious than the state of communications
though, this trooper would eventually be missed and it
would be discovered that Chase and his compatriots had
effected escape and were on the loose.

Great Scott! Campbell exclaimed after slapping his forehead and jerking about.
That aint all, Doc, Chase cautioned. These Nazis we got
here in the South Pole? Theyre building up for an attack.
I seen a lot of military installations in my time and I should
know. I got a look at the hangars on base and I saw theyve
been building super attack jets, rocketships, and theyve
been breeding an army of killer penguins.
All right! All right! Dr. Fleming interrupted. Listen,
Chase? How warm is it in that base?
You mean other than the brig? Its actually very warm.

With those facts squarely in his mind, Chase Danner drew


upon all of his learned instincts as a special agent in order
to skulk stealthily through the corridors of the Nazi base.
Deeper and deeper into what he was sure was the recesses of the Earth beneath the Antarctic ice and snow, Chases
heart leaped when he came across Veronica and Wash as
they were crammed into a confine space that overlooked
an open expanse of the building that held storage tanks
of fuel and housed generators to power the hidden Nazi
fortress.
23

Pulp Fantastic
Here, Veronica winked before tossing a handgun to him.
I got our guns and communicators out of hoc. Got Washs
mace, too.

SETUP

Cool, man, cool. But I got to the radio and chewed the fat
with the Doc. Heres what we gotta do, Chase began as
re-told the plan to the others.
Theoretically sound, Stuttz ruminated to himself. All
we have to do is find a way to blow this dump without
getting ourselves killed in the process.
Plenty of planes up top in the hangar, Chase remarked.
Just get me to any of em and I can fly us out of here.
Great, pretty boy. But outside of that were stumped,
confessed Veronica. With no better ideas coming, the three
gave in and contacted Dr. Fleming on their wrist communicators.
Great day in the morning! came Dr. Flemings exclamatory expression, transmitted from thousands of miles
away. None of you ever studied science? Oh for the love
of Break the piping of the geothermal gases near one of
the large fuel tanks. The metal of the storage tank will
slowly rise in temperature and then ignite the liquid fuel,
causing a domino effect throughout the area!
And with the help of Washs mace, that is exactly what the
three accomplished, despite the fact that all three of them
were very nearly sent to a scalding death by the ensuing
rush of gases that came straight from the inferno that was
the Earths core. Veronica Pentecost shrugged off the
matter, claiming that dodging death was what they did
best and that the steaming gases had actually been a benefit
to her by curling her hair. Less concerned with ladies
fashion and more with escaping the Nazis Antarctic lair,
the men of the three rushed for the surface to where the
aircraftand their escapeawaited.
Fools! Xan cursed after the S.S. lieutenant informed him
that the cells containing Wash, Chase, and Veronica were
empty. Find them! You have 30 minutes to do sobefore
I begin to find new ways of motivating you and your men!
Not wanting to waste a precious minute of that 30, the
lieutenant gave a Nazi salute and bolted out of the door.
Xan then turned to the table next to him and ran his frighteningly long fingernails over the scale model of the lunar
base that was planned. On the wall behind him were biological diagrams showing the level of genetic intricacy
that went into breeding a killer penguin. Too much was
on the line. Too much stood to be accomplished and conquered to have it all in ruins because these insignificant
three. Leermeister stood in the corner smoking a cigarette,
seemingly without sharing these concerns of Xans.
They must not be permitted to disable the earthquake
device, Xan told Leermeister, his Hyperborean confidence
breaking.
pow! pow! Gunfire filled the entire hangar as Nazi troopers took cover behind aircraft and equipment from the
pistols of Veronica and Chase. Rapidly they returned fire,
their stray bullets hitting a drum that contained some
24

form of flammable material and causing a raucous explosion in the main hangar.
Keep em pinned down! Stuttz shouted. Im going to
secure a plane! Chase nodded in understanding to Wash
and then went back to drawing a bead on the enemy soldiers.
Scurrying about and stopping to take cover behind whatever equipment had been left strewn about the aircraft
hangar, Wash made his way over to his plane of choice: a
bat-winged Nazi super jet. Not only did it appear large
enough to him to accommodate all three of them and not
only did it look speedy enough to carry them safely away
form the blast, but it just looked cool as all get out. Crouching low, Wash made his play for the plane.
It was then that his head bumped into the firmest set of
abdominal muscles he had ever seen. A large, bald Nazi
guard had emerged from behind the plane, carrying a
workmens wrench and batting it menacingly into his left
hand. Every muscle in the giants torso rippled in a show
of pure testosterone and his face sneered in challenge to
Washington Stuttz.
Thats the biggest damned German Ive ever seen! Stuttz
thought to himself. Oh well, no sense dragging this out
any further. With that, Stuttz thrust himself forward and
slammed into the mans mid-section. Though tiny by
comparison, Wash was a brawler by nature and was not
going to go down without swinging a few. But then again,
neither was his opponent.
With a shove on the shoulders, the giant Nazi flung Stuttz
from on top of him, sending him flying into yet another
series of steel drums. After quickly picking himself back
up, Wash drew his mace and closed to engage the
wrench-wielding menace.
Their metal weapons clashed and clanked, connecting
with each swing like swords in a duel. Wash could feel the
Nazis superior strength battering away at him and did not
know just how much longer he could hold out against
him. Suddenly, the bald Nazi had found an opening and
gave Wash a haymaker of a right hook to the jaw. Wash
immediately crumpled to the floor, seeing stars and very
nearly blacking out, an action that would surely have
doomed them all. The Nazi stood over him, giving him
insidious prodding kicks to the stomach and jeering at
him in German.
That was all it took for Wash to fight back the falling curtain
of unconsciousness. No way was this man going to take a
fall for a Nazi! Thinking his prey had been sufficiently
disabled, the guard leaned his face downward to inspect
and ridicule his fallen foe. It was a perfect opportunity for
Wash to give a massive swing of his mace and cave in the
side of the Nazis head entirely.
Elsewhere in the hangar, Veronica and Chase had commandeered a tug cart. Veering and careening between the
parked jets, Veronica drove the tug while Chases handgun
spat hot, leaded death at their enemies. A few Nazis fled,
fearing that if a bullet didnt kill them, Veronicas wild

INTRODUCTION
driving would run them over. Others still met one of the
previously mentioned fates.
Hold on! Veronica ordered as she found herself unable
to brake in time to avoid hitting a wheeled tool chest.
Chase ducked and wrapped his arms around his head just
before there was a prodigious crash and metal went flying.
The tug went into a skid. The world began to spin. And
though Wash stood by the flying wing, frantically attempting to wave Veronica off, the heavy vehicle clipped straight
through the nose gear of the jet, snapping it clean from
the fuselage. The front end of the aircraft dropped to the
floor with a heavy crash, shattering the canopy and fragmenting the nose into cracks with a small electric fire
beginning to burn. The tug came to a stop after it veered
out of control into the side of the hangar, jolting its occupants free.
Its ruined, Stuttz said sadly. We fought our way here
for nothing.
We dont have much time left, Veronica said somberly.
Come on! Stuttz said, shaking loose any self-pity for
their situation. Theres a snow crawler outside. Grab a
parka from the mechanics rack and lets go!
This is a drag, Daddy-O! Chase called out as he held on
to the side of the snow crawler. I think I just saw a turtle
race pass us!
Even Stuttz had to quietly agree with him. The vehicle was
already at top speed in the snow and they had made only
a modest amount of distance from the base. The ground
shook from the shockwaves of the initial detonation in
the lower levels of the base. Soon, the entire area would
go up in a gigantic paroxysm of fire. They werent going
to make it.
Fissures began to develop in the ice as the tremors from
the blast flowed outward from the center. As these cracks
in the ice gaped open wide, a moving mass of black and
white began to spill forth from themthe Killer Penguins.
Their incubation chambers had broken apart and the
penguins had been set freemassing their way straight
for the snow crawler.
Man, those things are going to devour every scrap of flesh
on our bodies, Chase said in soft awe, catatonic in the
face of the oncoming tidal wave of penguins that emitted
and endless chorus of Eep! Eep! Eep!
Devouring my flesh has been tried on me before. But I
somehow doubt its going to be as fun this time, said
Veronica as she lit a cigarette in preparation for an ugly
fight.
The region around the snow crawler had turned from an
endless field of white to a sea teeming of black and white.
Stuttz turned the beam of the snow crawlers rotary searchlight directly upon the encroaching killer birds. Their
beaks squawked out at the light as they became blinded
from the glare reflected by the snow and ice. That is when
Veronica took the first shot. The rapport of the gun made
a sharp crack in the cold air. A killer penguin fell dead

but another soon waddled into its place. Chase Danner


joined in on the action, blazing his handgun towards the
deadly beasts.
Uh-oh, Danner said as his pistol began making a tattletale clicking sound. Im outcompletely out.
Probably should have saved a few bullets for ourselves,
Stuttz remarked, grimly assessing the tide of oncoming
killer penguins.
It was not in the nature of Chase Danner to give up quite
so easily. With all the foolish recklessness of youth, he
dove from the edge of the snow crawler and into the mass
of penguins. He punched. He kicked. He wrestled. He had
a decent-sized chunk bitten out of the flesh of his back.

Crazy kid, Dr. Stuttz muttered while shaking his head


in disbelief.
Mace at the ready, Wash followed Chase and jumped swinging into the fray. Through fisticuffs and a mace, as well as
the last remaining shots from Veronica Pentecost, many
a killer penguin fell that day in the Antarctic snow. But
the situation grew bleaker by the moment. For every avian
adversary that was killed, two more seemed to follow in
its place. The three fought as Sisyphus against the stone.
It did indeed look like the end for our heroes.
That is until the blast of a laser beam incinerated the
penguin nearest Chase. Ray after ray of red lasers shot
down from the sky, reducing the mass of penguins to a
wide pile of smoldering ash and cutting an arc of safety
around the snow crawler.
And as the three looked to the sky to determine the source
of their salvation, they found it in the form of a group of
men flying through the clear Antarctic sky by way of rocket
packs strapped to their backs. Their copper helmets
gleamed in the sunlight and shone as justice before the
spawn of the Nazi menace. It was the United States Rocket
CorpsThe Fightin Rocketmen.
Three of the Rocketmen landed on the snow crawler,
causing Veronica, Chase, and Wash to avert their faces
from the brief burst of heat that radiated from the rocket
pack.
Were The Rocketmen. Were here to get you out, the
lead Rocketman said plainly to Veronica. Let me get a
hold on you, Maam.
Oh you betcha! Veronica turned around with a grin and
allowed her to be enveloped in the arms of the Rocketman.
Wash and Chase also allowed themselves to be held by the
other two rescuers (by the underarms only) and soon they
were soaring up into the skyjust as a fireball of immense
proportions erupted forth into the air from beneath the
polar ice.
Soaring away from the blast like an insect spat forth from
an inferno was one of the Nazi super jets. It desperately
made its attempt at escape, desperately for it contained
Re-Zal Evad.
25

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

Hurry my friends! Re-Zal whimpered to the Nazi pilot


and co-pilot. If you can get us to Argentina in an hour, I
will pay you double!
Before the pilots could answer the sniveling coward, three
Rocketmen appeared in front of the plane, causing the
pilots to point out of the cockpit window and shout nervously in German. The Rocketmen aimed their laser guns
at the plane, motioning for the pilot to ditch the jet in the
icy waters below so that he and his passengers might be
apprehended.
I would have liked to have met Betty Grable, Evad sniffled
pathetically in defeat.
The other remaining Rocketmen delivered their rescuees
to the deck of a U.S. submarine that awaited them in the
waters off of Antarctica. Veronica promptly commanded
her Rocketman to remove his helmet so that she might
give him a deep kiss of gratitude. Chase and Wash told
their rescuers that a hearty handshake was all they were
getting from them.
How is that for a rescue with style? came the voice of
Sterling Westinghouse on their wrist communicators.
Itll do, Boss, Chase said with false indifference.
And the entrance? interrupted a frantic Doc Fleming.
Did the explosion seal the entrance to Hyperborea?
Chase and Wash exchanged dumb looks while Veronica
continued to make out with her Rocketman.
Doc, theres no way we can know that. We had to high-tail
it out of there before we went up with the place, too, Wash
replied.
Yes, I understand, Fleming sagged with dejection. But
I fear we may get our answer to that question someday
soon.
Xan continuously lost his footing on the loose rock of the
tunnel, mainly due to the fact that he was only wearing
slippers on his feet. He fell yet one more time onto his
posterior and uttered a curse in Hyperborean.
Have you no decent footwear? chided Colonel Leermeister who was ahead of him in the tunnel.
Royalty seldom travel this way, Xan growled. Besides,
what time had I to change shoes before our work went up
into flames?
Leermeister could feel the heat from the intense fire that
burned above them and would probably continue to burn
for another week.
They shall all pay dearly for this, Xan swore aloud as he
once more started down the path that led into the Earth.
Hyperborea shall again rise to the surface and when it
doesI shall first go looking for Veronica Pentecost, Chase
Dannerand Washington Stuttz.
the end?

26

Chapter 1
Basics

his chapter covers the basic concepts and rules of the


pulp fantastic role-playing game. Everything
gets explained in more detail in the appropriate chapters later on in the book, but heres the glossary and quick
reference.

Characters
Player characters (pcs) are the avatars controlled by the
players. Theyre the heroes of the series, the protagonists,
and the starring cast. Non-player characters (npcs) are
controlled by the Gamemaster; theyre villains, extras,
and the supporting cast.
In terms of rules, characters are defined by Attributes,
Traits and Skills. They also have Story Points.

Skills
Skills cover the characters specialist knowledge and learning, everything from shooting a gun or moving stealthily
to being an expert on Occult History or safe-cracking.
Skills are rated from 1-6, where 1 means passing familiarity with the topic, while a Skill of 6 means that the character is a world-renowned expert in that field. Skills above
6 are theoretically possible, but represent a nigh-superhuman level of expertise.
The skills used in pulp fantastic are:

Attributes

All characters (pcs, npcs, even monsters and creatures)


have six Attributes. These attributes are:

Awareness: spotting dangers, noticing things


out of place, avoiding surprises
Coordination: dexterity, agility, dodging,
climbing, accuracy
Ingenuity: IQ, inventiveness, cleverness. Not
necessarily a measure of education. A character might be very clever, but poorly educated.
Presence: personal charisma, likeability, charm
Resolve: determination, courage, willpower.
Strength: physical strength, toughness.

Everyone has at least 1 point in every Attribute.


For humans, all Attributes are rated from 1 to 6. For
example, a Strength of 1 means the character is noticeably
weak, small or physically challenged. A character with a
Strength of 6 might be a weightlifting athlete or a really
tough soldier. Particularly strange villains, creatures and
monsters can have Attributes well beyond human maximumsa love-struck giant ape from a lost South Sea
island might have a Strength of 16, while a Kraken might
have a Strength of 40 or more!

Animal Handling: Caring for animals,


calming down ferocious monsters, commanding animals.
Athletics: Climbing over obstacles, running,
fitness
Convince: Persuading people, lying with conviction
Craft: Making or repairing items
Fighting: Brawling, punching, using melee
weapons
Knowledge: History, geography, cultural information, folklore, humanities.
Marksman: Using firearms, from bows to
assault rifles and pistols to electro-blasters.
Medicine: Everything from first aid to brain
surgery
Science: Research, experimentation, scientific knowledge
Subterfuge: Sneaking, sleight of hand, hiding
from monsters
Survival: Outdoor survival, navigation, living
rough
Technology: Weird science, using gadgets,
Transport: Driving, flying, operating vehicles

All skills have associated Areas of Expertise. A character


can pick up Areas of Expertise if they have the related Skill
at 3 or more. Areas of Expertise give a bonus to rolls related
to that area.
See page 40 for a full description of all the skills.

Traits
Traits are special talents, quirks or foibles possessed by a
character. Traits can be Good or Bad. Good Traits help out
in certain situations for example, a character with the

Pulp Fantastic
Sense of Direction trait gets a bonus when trying to navigate unfamiliar terrain or avoid getting lost. Bad Traits
hinder a character in certain situations, but provide bonus
Story Points in recompense. For more on the various Traits
you can get, see page 46.

DIFFERENCE

SUCCESS

EFFECT

9+

Fantastic

Yes, AndYou not only succeeded,


you get an extra benefit on top
of succeeding

4-8

Good

Yes! You managed to do exactly


what you were trying to do

0-3

OK

Yes, ButYou succeeded, but at a


cost.

Rules

1 to 3

Failed

No, ButYou didnt do what you


set out to do, but you managed
to accomplish something

There are all sorts of special-case rules for unusual situations like combat or investigation, but the basic system in
pulp fantastic is very simple indeed. Heres the catchall rule:

4 to 8

Bad

No! You failed. It didnt work.

9+

Disastrous

No, AndNot only did you fail,


youve made things worse!

SETUP

Story Points
Story Points are a characters edge, that little spark of luck
or genius that makes him special. All player characters
have a few Story Points, and can earn more from Bad Traits
or role-playing. Story Points can be spent to re-roll the
dice, change events in the game, or activate special traits.

ATTRIBUTE + SKILL (+TRAIT) + TWO SIX-SIDED DICE =


RESULT.
Then, compare the Result to a Difficulty set by the GM. If the
Result is greater than or equal to the Difficulty, you succeed.
If the Result is less than the Difficulty, the attempt fails.
Finally (and optionally), determine how well you succeeded or failed by working out the difference between

28

the Difficulty and the Result. You dont have to follow


this step for every roll, but it adds detail to important,
dramatic rolls.

A Note On Dice
Sometimes, well say something like an attack does 1 - 6
damage, or an event happens after 1 - 6 minutes. Just roll
a dice to find the actual number. Youll also run into more
complex formula, like 2 dice +6. Roll the listed number
of dice, add them up, and then apply any modifiers.

TASK

DIFFICULTY

EXAMPLE

Really Really Easy

Really simple, automatic success. Opening a bottle of drink, using a phone, walking down
the street, eating chips. (So simple, you shouldnt even need to roll!)

Really Easy

Doing basic research in the library

Easy

Winding a clock, operating a radio, jumping a low fence,

Normal

12

Driving a car in traffic, shooting at someone, swimming in the sea, uncovering a useful but
not secret fact.

Tricky

15

Driving at speed, shooting a moving target, climbing a building

Hard

18

Picking a lock, lift twice your own weight, treat a gunshot wound

Difficult

21

Climb a sheer cliff without ropes, charm your way into a government facility, escape from
rope bonds.

Very Difficult

24

Recall a whole speech from a Shakespeare play, fix a broken piece of gadgetry, fly a plane
in turbulence

Improbable!

27

Hit a very small target with a slingshot, break into the Division 4 offices, slide down an
elevator cable using only your boots and your pistols.

Nearly
Impossible!

30

Climb a skyscraper in the rain, shoot a small target in an adjacent room without looking.

Basics

Setting

The world of pulp fantastic is the world of the popular


fiction of the 1920s and 1930s. Its the past of our world,
but idealised, simplified, and greatly exaggerated.
First, the bright spots were brighter. Scientific achievements really could deliver on its many promises. Heroes
were generally the noble and strong characters in stories,
even if they had a flaw or two. The question wasnt if the
good guys would win. The question was usually how.
On the other hand, the darker spots were dark. Crime and
corruption in the cities was even worse than what the
papers were reporting. Nefarious schemes hatched by
masterminds both criminal and political were everything.
But this all just gave the heroes something to fight against.
The reason for this more idealistic view of the world was
simple. The Great Depression was a recent, ugly memory.
Not too long ago, thered been a brutal war in Europe, and
it looked like another was on the way. In 1918 Spanish Flu
had suddenly, swiftly and inexplicably killed nearly five
per cent of the worlds population. Times were hard, and
people wanted to escape their lives with light reading.
They wanted stories in which the good guys were stalwart,
true and victorious, and lifes problems could be solved
with a solid right hook. So the pulps werent about realism,
they were simply about entertainment, about stirring
stories of adventure, intrigue, action and horror.
This world a world of square-jawed heroes and villainous
masterminds, of weird science and lost worlds, of mystery
men and two-fisted justice is the world of pulp fantastic.

Example of Play

Terri: I got 8.
Adam: 10 here.
gm: Right. Runt looks around, but doesnt see much of
anything hes too busy watching the shadows. Wild Bill
notices a manhole cover in the rain-slicked alley that isnt
sitting right, as if its been moved recently. Charlie notices
the manhole cover, but his attention is drawn by a faint
scuffing sound as if there is someone on the rooftop above
you.
Clay: I Look up quickly. Can I see anything?
gm: No. Its night, its raining and the glow of the street
lights barely reaches down this dingy alleyway. You do,
however, get the creeping feeling that youre being watched.

gm: Cool. What are the rest of you doing?


Adam: Wild Bill moves over to the manhole cover to check
it out.
Terri: Runt is sticking close to Wild Bill.
Adam: (In a gruff British accent) Thats right lad, you stick
with me.
gm: Can I have Awareness + Survival Rolls from Wild Bill
and Runt please.
Adam: Can I add my Tracker Trait bonus?
gm: Sure.
Adam: Cool. Awareness 3, Survival 4, +2 from Tracker
I rolled 4. Thats a total of 13.
Terri: I got 10.

In this example of play, theres a gm and three players;


Clay, Terri and Adam. Each player has a different character. Quick Draw Charlie McCoy, a soldier for hire, is
played by Clay. Runt, a boy rogue is played by Terri and
Lord William Wild Bill McGommery, big game hunter,
is played by Adam. The group have thwarted an attempted kidnapping on the streets of Hong Kong and tracked
one of the kidnappers to the docks.

gm: Excellent. Wild Bill, as youre examining the manhole


cover, you notice a thin smear of something dark on the
edge, partially washed away by the rain. Moving the
manhole cover slightly, you can see the top rung of a metal
ladder, on which you clearly see a bloody handprint.

gm: You follow the scurrying figure of the would-be kidnapper down alleyways and between buildings, always
staying just out of sight. Pausing to let the figure get far
enough ahead that you wont be seen, you round a corner
to find that he has completely vanished. Ahead you can
see an old, crumbling brick-built warehouse set right on
the waterfront.

Adam: I call Charlie over.

Clay: Is there anywhere else he could have gone?


gm: Is that in character as Charlie, or are you asking me?

Adam: Wild Bill just grunts and starts to climb down the
manhole.

Clay: Thats Charlie. (Clay adopts a lazy drawl) Anyone


see anywhere else he could have gone?

Clay: Charlie looks at Runt. (As Charlie) Are you as crazy


as he is?

gm: Roll Awareness + Ingenuity, everyone.

Terri: Runt grins at Charlie and clambers down after Wild


Bills. (As Runt) Last one downs a sissy!

Clay: Awareness 4, Ingenuity 3, plus a roll of 5. Thats a


total of 12.

Clay: Riiiiight. Charlie unholsters his automatic, just in


case.

Terri: (as Runt) Gee Wild Bill, looks like that shot you got
off connected after all!
Clay: I head over, but Im trying to keep an eye on the
rooftops.
Terri: Looks like our boy went to ground, Mr McCoy!
Clay: Charlie looks at Wild Bill and Runt. (As Charlie)
Dont tell me youre going down there after him!

Clay: Im going to regret this. Okay, Charlie heads down


29

Pulp Fantastic
after them. (As Charlie) Someones got to keep you yahoos
outta trouble

SETUP

gm: At the bottom of the ladder is the tunnel, maybe a


sewer or a storm drain. With all the rain youve been having
it doesnt smell too bad, but you dont feel like setting up
home just yet. Its very dark. Did anyone bring a light?

gm: Awareness + Ingenuity, please. Adam, Wild Bill rolls


Awareness + Survival, plus his Tracker bonus.
Adam: I got 10.
Clay: I got 12

Adam: Uh

Adam: Again? Im using your dice next time.

Terri: Oops.

gm: Youre both pretty certain that the voices arent getting
closer. In addition, you cant hear any of the splashing that
would indicate footsteps in the tunnel.

Clay: Nope.
gm: If one of you spends a Story Point, Ill let you remember that youve packed a torch.
Adam: Ill do it.
gm: Cool. Mark a Story Point off your character sheet.
Adam: Done. Wild Bill pats his jacket pockets for a moment
before finding and extracting an electric flashlight.
gm: The yellow glow of the torch illuminates an ancient
tunnel of brick extending ahead and behind. Which way
to you go?
Terri: Does it go toward the warehouse?
gm: Roughly, yes.
Terri: Then lets go that way!
gm: Does everyone agree?
Clay & Adam: Sure.
gm: Okay. You move slowly along the tunnel, taking care
not to make too much noise. With every step you take the
ankle-deep water stirs and ripples ahead of you. Whos
going first?
Clay, Adam & Terri: (All looking at each other) Errr
gm: Tick tock, times a wasting. Ill need a decision or Ill
have to pick one of you at random in 5432
Terri: Ill go first.
gm: Well done, Terri. Have a Story Point for volunteering.
(To Clay and Adam) For shame, boys! So, with Runt taking
the lead, you proceed down the tunnel. (To Terri) Runt,
make an Awareness + Ingenuity Roll, please.
Terri: Awareness 3, Ingenuity 3 (Rolls die) I rolled 5. Thats
a total of 11!
gm: You see that the tunnel curves slightly to the left
ahead of you, and you can faintly hear the sound of voices
muttering in the distance. If you squint in the darkness
you can see a faint glow playing on the tunnel walls.
Terri: Runt turns to the others and whispers Douse the light!
Adam: Wild Bill flicks off the flashlight.
gm: You wait in the darkness as your eyes become accustomed to the gloom. Faintly ahead, you can see light and
shadows moving on the walls of the tunnel, and dimly you
become aware of the sounds of men, talking and muttering amongst themselves.

30

Clay: Are they coming closer?

Terri: Runt is going to sneak closer to the sound to see


what he can see.
Clay: Charlie follows.
Adam: And me!
gm: Coordination + Subterfuge rolls, please.
Terri: Er, 10.
Adam: 9.
Clay: 12.
Adam: Cmon!
gm: (With an evil grin) He cant keep rolling like that
forever. Right, the three of you steal up to the bend in the
tunnel and peer around. Ahead of you it opens out into a
large cavern or grotto, dimly lit by several oil lanterns hung
on beams and pit-props. Several men seem to be working
in the semi-darkness, moving heavy wooden crates.
Terri: (As Runt, whispering) What are they doing?
Clay: No idea. Can you see whats in those crates?
gm: (To gm) Can we?
gm: Not from here; theyre too far away and the light is
too dim.
Adam: Can we get any closer without being seen?
gm: Maybe. Are you going to try?
Terri: Ill go.
gm: Coordination + Subterfuge roll, please.
Terri: I got 12!
gm: Excellent. Pressing yourself into the brick wall of the
tunnel, you slither closer to the entrance of the cavern. At
the lip of the tunnel you pause and peer into the space
beyond. About two metres away you can see one of the
crates. Stamped onto the side is a crest you recognise from
your adventure in Europe; the horned eagle of Berezkia!
Terri: Oh, no
gm: Before you can head back to the others theres a
metallic rattling above your head, and a heavy iron gratings clangs down across the entrance to the tunnel and
locks in place. At the same time bright lights snap on
inside the cavern, dazzling you all. As you struggle to
regain your sight, a familiar voice chills you to the bone.

Basics
So gentlemen, we meet again, as I predicted! Its your
arch-nemesis, the Death Dragon, Siwang Lung!
Adam: Wild Bill rushes down to Runts side and snarls at
Siwang Lung through the grating. Curse you, Siwang
Lung! Whatever fiendish plot youre engaged in, you wont
get away with it!
gm: Siwang Lung smiles grimly. But I have gotten away
with it, gentlemen. These are the last of the crates, but
even without these I have stockpiled enough Berezkian
weaponry to set the whole of the East afire.
Clay: Charlie joins Runt and Wild Bill. But weve foiled
your kidnapping plot!
gm: Siwang Lungs twisted smile grows wider. You have
foiled nothing! I knew you would track me down eventually, so I engineered a fake kidnapping to draw you here
on my terms. Now you are here Siwang Lung extracts
a small whistle from his pocket and blows upon it. No
sound emerges from it. Now you are here I will dispose
of you.

Terri: (As Runt) Tough talk from a man on the other side
of an iron grate!
gm: Siwang Lung bows very slightly. True. It pains me
to leave the execution of such worthy foes to lesser
minions, but I am a man on a schedule after all.
Adam: Wild Bill draws his pistol.
gm: Siwang Lung wags an admonishing finger. No, no,
Lord McGommery! That will not do. You should save your
ammunition. Youre going to need it. Make Awareness +
Ingenuity rolls, please.
Terri: 9.
Adam: 11
Clay: 8.
gm: Wild Bill hears it first, then Runt, and finally Charlie.
Its behind you, in the tunnel, getting closer. Much closer.
Terri: What is it?
gm: Rats. The squealing of rats. Thousands of them. And
they sound hungry
Just what is Siwang Lungs dreadful plan? Can our heroes stop him,
or will they be devoured by a tide of scurrying death? Find out in our
next thrilling episode of pulp fantastic!!

31

Chapter 2
Genesis

his chapter covers the rules for creating your player


character. If youre using the characters from the
templates, youll still need to refer to this chapter to
learn about Attributes, Skills, Traits and the other character-centric rules.

Creating a Group
Before you start making your character, you should get
together with the other players and the Gamemaster and
discuss how the game is going to work. What sort of characters is everyone going to play? What brings all the characters together? Is there an overall theme or goal to the
game? Everyone needs to have an idea of what the game
is going to be like before anyone moves onto character
generation.
That doesnt mean you cant play the character you want
but you need to find a reason to integrate everyone into
the group. If you come up with an English Big Game hunter
traipsing through the wastes of Antarctica, you have to
have a reason why.
We call the structure you come up with for your game
your Group Framework, and Pulp stories are a good place
to start.

The Premise
The first step is coming up with the premise for the
Group Framework. Think of it as the elevator pitch, the
quick thirty-second summary of what your games going
to be about.
For example, the Doc Savage stories were about an altruistic scientific genius surrounded by men who were experts
in their fields, who teamed up to help people and make
the world a better place. While Doc was undoubtedly the
powerhouse of the group and the reason they stayed together, each member was a capable adventurer in his (or
in the case of Pat Savage, her) own right. The Shadow and
the Spider stories featured a vengeful crime-buster with
a cadre of assistants and operatives who frequently went
off on adventures of their own, often coming to their
leaders rescue at the last moment.
What about your group? Are they a team of treasure
hunters and archaeologists, working for a major museum?
Are they government agents, bent on cracking down on
Nazi spies and threats from the Orient? Are they G-men,

striving to crush the home-grown disease that is organized


crime? Are they the agents of an ancient mystical brotherhood, fighting to push back the forces of supernatural
darkness? Are they explorers and hunters, trekking off
the edge of the map in search of fame, glory and a dinosaur
head to mount over the club fireplace? Are they a combination of the above, or something entirely different?
With the above examples, many different types of character can be brought together by similar experiences.
Perhaps the agents of the mystical brotherhood all encountered some foul supernatural threat at some point in
their lives, and are now bound together by a sacred vow
to protect the innocent from Eldritch Abominations.
Maybe the wise-cracking, whip-wielding adventurer and
the stuttering, bookish scholar both lecture at the same
university, and maybe the grim government agent has
been assigned because the artifacts they dig up have a
tendency to be dangerous. Perhaps the gum-chewing
news hound follows them around because the scrapes
they get into make the best copy!

Who are the Characters?


Pulp characters tended to break into two wide archetypes:
Protector and Avenger.
The Protector is a bulwark against evil; defending the
common man, society, the American government, Truth
and Justice. While the Protector is willing to bend rules
and laws in the pursuit of higher goals, ultimately he is
about upholding the law. Regardless of what evil and
heinous acts occur, the Protector will work within the
system to prevent those acts from happening. The Protector is a role-model, as well as a model citizen. He is the
one given the public plaudits, the honorary police badge,
the one handed the key to the city.
The Avenger acts from the shadows and embraces them
as a part of his way of life. While the Avenger may hold
the Protector in high esteem and respect, he knows that
having high morals can get in the way when trying to break
a crime ring. The Avenger is about practicalities and
getting the job done, even when it means breaking the
lawor the occasional bone.
Remember that regardless of which of these two general
archetypes is used as a theme for your character, that
character is supposed to be a hero. The world of the Pulp
Era can be brutal at times, but the characters are the heroes

SETUP

Pulp Fantastic

SAMPLE CAMPAIGN FRAMEWORKS


BRING EM BACK ALIVE!
The characters are a group of naturalists, guides, hunters and reporters who travel the world in search of the biggest, most elusive
and mysterious game for study in a major metropolitan zoo. Funded by a mysterious benefactor, their mission is to investigate
reports of strange and unusual wildlife, and retrieve live specimens if possible. So far theyve not had a lot of success, mainly because
the Nazis keep getting there first. But what does the Fuhrer want with these animals, some of which seem as if they shouldnt be
native to the Earth at all?

KNIGHTS OF THE ELECTRIC TABLE!


Nikola Tesla, the wizard of the 20th Century, has created a new technological Camelot in upstate New York. Playing both Arthur
and Merlin, the quiet genius has recruited some of the worlds most extraordinary men and women to serve as his knights;
guardians who serve to advance the boundaries of human knowledge, and protect the people from the willful abuse of that
knowledge. Together the characters investigate abuses of the new technology, fighting to stop the fruits of Teslas genius from
ushering in a new Dark Age. But how are dictators and mad men getting hold of Teslas designs? Is there a traitor in Camelot? And
what of Thomas Alva Edison and his insatiable desire to make Teslas discoveries his own?

TALES OF THE AIR CAVALRY!


From their super-secret floating island, the brave airmen and women of the visionary Air Cavalry protect the skies of the world from
the machinations of science villains, dictators and criminal masterminds. Beholden to no nation, the Air Cavalry has vowed that the
skies shall remain free from war. But as the nations of the world move closer to conflict, and Herr Hitlers scientists experiment with
new and faster aircraft, and newer and more terrible technologies, can the Air Cavalry really hold back the tide and keep the skies
open for Freedom?

TWO-FISTED ACTION TALES!


The publishing industry in the pulp-era is a cut-throat business, and these days a magazine has to have a gimmick to stay in print.
Say, wouldnt it be a great idea if, instead of paying hack writers to churn out unbelievable stories month after month, the magazine
had its very own real-life adventurers and chronicled the scrapes they got into? Sure it would! If thats not a sure-fire hit idea, then
my names not J. Montgomery. Cruickshank III. Get to it boys! And wheres that copy-boy with my danish?!

FIGHT THE FUTURE!


Youll always remember the night the time traveler appeared. Grim, determined and weighed down with terrible knowledge, he
first convinced you of his veracity with information about your life; information that no-one alive could possess. Then he told you
a little about the terrible future he had seen, on his voyages astride his chronovelocipede. Finally, he told you that you, and others
like you, were the key to stopping that awful, empty future from coming to be. Shortly after the traveler introduced you to his
other recruits, he vanished, leaving behind a tattered journal brimming with notes concealed in a complex cipher. The brightest guy
you know is decoding it, and lets you know whenever he uncovers something useful. The trouble is, you dont know how that
dreadful barren world will come about. You hope youre doing the right thing, but what if youre just making it happen, or even
making it worse?! And who are the dark-suited strangers you seem to be running into more and more often? Are they time travelers too? Or do they serve an even murkier, more fantastic purpose?

34

Genesis
who are striving for a better world even when their
motives may appear vague and mysterious to others.
The Pulp Era was before the time of the anti-hero. Whenever the pulp magazines tried to create a magazine with a
villain as a main character within a few issues that magazine
would fail in the market place. The readers wanted to know
that there were heroes out there in the world, leading by
example and deed, making the hard choices and who could
not live an easy life. They wanted heroes, and at its roots it
is heroes that pulp fantastic is actually about.
Character conception is also the most important idea to
remember when actually playing your character. The basic,
all-important basis of role-playing games is that the players
role-play. Players put together their characters according
to their character conceptions, and in all subsequent adventures react to situations as would their characters.
This means that if a player has put together a character
who is a fearless-unto-self-destruction hero of heroes,
when playing this character he should react as this strapping hero, even if the real player is a skinny and pacifistic
scholar. On the other hand, a strapping player may wish
to portray a near-sighted and indolent coward and should,
in spite of any real-life inclinations, respond to most threats
by running away and using his wits.

Try also to become familiar with the historical


period that is the basis for the campaign. The
Source-book included with this game, the Pulps
themselves, and many readily-available books
on history will supply you with most everything
you need to know. (You dont need to be as
relentless as this games designers and purchase
mountains of books, magazines, almanacs,
encyclopedias, and gazetteers from the period
for your researchbut it helps).
Lastly, get inside your characters head. You
should essentially have done this already, when
conceiving your character. How does he respond
to danger? To prolonged stress? Is he cynical or
romantic? Curious or indifferent? Outgoing or
introverted? Absentminded or fiercely intent?
Comprehend your character, and react to the
adventures situations as he would.
That is role-playing. It is the most important part of a
role-playing game. The characters react to dangers, clues,
and each other and without those interactions, a game
becomes nothing more than a tactical exercise in mayhem.

Whos the Supporting Cast?

Of course, the situations the gm creates will not merely be


threats and danger. Role-playing games should not consist
of a series of incidents of random violence and combat. So,
our strapping hero may have the fighting ability of a squadron and the social awareness of an orangutan, while the
sniveling yet scholarly coward may not be able to out-wrestle an over-stuffed armchair but may be able to read hieroglyphics by touch and operate every known mode of transport in the world. And all this, of course, is at the choice of
the individual player and his gm.

Who are the key non-player characters? Do the characters


have a mysterious benefactor who bankrolls their adventures in return for whatever scientific knowledge they
acquire along the way? Do they know a long-suffering
Chief of Police, a dry-witted University Dean or a particularly feisty lady reporter with a knack for finding trouble?
A good Premise gives the Gamemaster a few fun recurring
characters to play. The gm characters are the supporting
cast, not the stars of the showeven if they tag along on
adventures, its up to the player characters to actually solve
the mysteries and save the day.

In order to role-play more effectivelyproviding for more


depth, enjoyment, and color in the campaign you should;

What Resources Do You Have?

Talk to your GM and understand the nature and


scope of the campaign he is creating. Youll want
to create your character to fit comfortably within
the nature of the campaign. A chivalrous adventurer or a genius inventor/ scholar will fit in well
in practically any campaign; however, a hardboiled detective may feel a little foolish within
the pyramids of Egypt, a devout monster-slayer
may feel useless in a campaign where creatures
of the night do not appear (or worse, do not exist!),
and a whip-cracking and boisterous adventurer
may be of little use tracking delicate sets of clues
through the social strata of Boston.
Become familiar with the genreunderstand
the very feel of the pulp adventures from which
this game is derived. Heroes were a trifle more
single-minded than those today; happily, distinctions between good and evil were also
clearer. Think in black and white, and remember that your characters should be portrayed
as larger than life.

How well funded is your group? What sort of support do


you have? Are you amateur sleuths or secret government
agents? Have you got a luxurious headquarters in one of
New Yorks tallest buildings, or are you operating out of
the back room of a disreputable bar on the docks of Shanghai? Do you have the legal authority to go stomping around
the country looking for spies, cultists and madmen, or do
you have to sneak around and bluff your way in?
Look at the rules for Group Traits on page 65 for ideas.

Who Opposes You?


Adventure and drama requires conflictwhos the antagonist? Who opposes your group? Whos your Evil Mastermind? In Sax Rohmers classic Fu Manchu stories the eponymous Devil Doctor was the main antagonist throughout
the series, but there were also lesser villains like his daughter, the beautiful and venomous Fah Lo Suee and other
senior agents. Therell be disposable bad guys and enemies
in each adventure, but youll also want some ongoing opposition, the quirkier and more memorable the better.
35

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

Connect It All Up
Finally, take a look at everything youve come up with so
far, and see if you can find any interesting connections.
The stunning Femme Fatale is much more interesting as
a characters ex-wife or lover than if she was just a random
spy, and the twisted Mad Scientists grudge could be made
even more personal if he was once the lab partner of one
of the heroes, and blames him for being laughed out of
University. Throw in a few unexpected links between
different elements of the Group Framework.
What if your resources come from the wealthy industrialist father of one of the player characters? What if evidence
comes forward that he was a war profiteer? What if the
opposition are a secret faction of the US Government, run
by a Shadow President? What could tear your group apart?

Creating your Character


Now that youve got an idea of what sort of characters fit
within your group framework, its time to create your own
character.
Characters are defined by Attributes, Skills and Traits.
Attributes are what the character is like how strong they
are, how clever they are, how perceptive, and so on. Skills
are what the character knows can they drive a car, strip
down an engine, know first aid, know how to ski, how to
fight or how to bluff their way out of a situation? Finally,
Traits detail what your character can do, or in some cases
cannot do are they ambidextrous, have a particular knack
for fixing things, do they heal surprisingly quickly, are
they rich, famous, or have a family that keeps getting them
into trouble?
Attributes and Skills have numerical ratings. The higher
the rating the better they are at something. Each character is given a number of points to purchase Attributes,
Skills and Traits, but these points are limited, so the players
should think things through before assigning numbers.
Theyll have to decide if the character is stronger than they
are smart, wittier than they are agile, and what their particular areas of expertise are.
Youve got 42 Character Points to spend. Each point spent
buys you a single point of an Attribute or Skill. You can
also buy Traits Good Traits cost a variable number of
points, while Bad Traits give you points back!
Left-over Character Points become unspent Experience
Points at the end.
Youre limited to spending a maximum of 24 points on
Attributes.

Attributes
Attributes are a measure of a man (or woman) and give
you an indication as to what the character is capable of.
How strong they are, how smart, how charming, how
clever, all these are defined by Attributes ranked from one
to six. Using the Character Points given, you purchase the
36

Attributes of the character, limited to a maximum of six


in each. Six is the human maximum, and no character
may have an attribute above six. It is very rare for a character to start with an Attribute at six. At the other extreme,
you must put at least one point into each attribute. You
cant have an Attribute of zero - when Attributes reach
zero due to injury or other effects, the character becomes
incapacitated - so you cant start in that state!
You could put more points into the characters Strength,
and less into their Ingenuity, meaning that theyre more
of an athlete. Or you could make all of the Attributes the
same, making them equally good (or bad) at everything,
though that may not be very realistic - nobody is equally
good at everything.

The Six Attributes


There are six attributes that define the capabilities of the
character. They are Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity,
Presence, Resolve and Strength. Attributes are ranked
from one to six, with six being the human maximum. A
description of what the Attributes are follows, each covering the various levels so you know what having a Strength
2 or Resolve 3 actually means.

ASSIGNING ATTRIBUTE POINTS


You can spend up to 24 points on Attributes, but you dont
have to spend that many. Most people have only 2s and 3s
and maybe a single 4 in their Attributes. People with an
Attribute of 5 are pretty exceptional people with a 6 are
incredibly talented. Theres no need to make your character
superhuman. Unless you have a specific character concept in
mind, limit yourself to 3s, 4s and maybe one 5. You will have
more fun if your characters exceptional qualities are balanced
by his weaknesses.
Be careful of putting a 1 into an Attribute thats a significant
weak spot in your character that any good GM will exploit.

Awareness
Awareness is used for your sense of your surroundings.
Its what you use to see a native sneaking up on you or to
explore ancient ruins. Awareness covers all five senses
equally if you want your character to be especially keeneyed, thats a Good Trait.
Importantly, Awareness determines whether or not youre
surprised when combat starts.
Awareness 1: Rather oblivious or absent-minded; youre
the sort of person whod walk out in front of traffic, or miss
a clue thats right in front of your nose.
Awareness 2: Below average; easily distracted, preoccupied or never needed to hone your senses.
Awareness 3: About average; moderately aware of your
surroundings, somewhat perceptive, but nothing out of
the ordinary.

Genesis
Awareness 4: Quite perceptive, quick to notice something
out of place. People trained in observation, such as police
officers, fall into this range.
Awareness 5: Extremely aware of your surroundings.
Youve probably spent time in a dangerous environment,
like a jungle, where a single careless misstep could cost
your life.
Awareness 6: The finely honed senses of a predator; you
could be a legendary detective who spots every clue, or a
brilliant hunter who can spot the most cleverly camouflaged prey.

Coordination
This Attribute covers hand-eye coordination and dexterity. It also plays into who goes first when combat starts.
Coordinations a very important attribute if youre playing
a combat-focused character. Athletes and martial artists
have high Coordination.
Coordination 1: Youre clumsy or uncoordinated; you
might even suffer from some ailment or physical problem.
Coordination 2: Below average; you were always picked
last for football, and walk into doors a bit more than most
people.
Coordination 3: Average; you can handle yourself moderately well.
Coordination 4: The level of someone quite athletic or
dexterous.

Presence
This covers charm and charisma. People want to trust you,
to like you, and to impress you. Its very useful when trying
to persuade or command people.
Presence 1: Youre actively anti-social, rude, or just clueless.
Presence 2: Youre forgettable, bland, or put your foot in
your mouth regularly.
Presence 3: About average. Youve got a few close friends,
and can speak in public without embarrassing yourself.
Presence 4: Youre the life of the party, with above-average charisma and charm.
Presence 5: Youre extremely convincing. You could be
an inspiring leader, a wonderful entertainer, or a talented
con artist.
Presence 6: Your charisma borders on the superhuman;
you exude animal magnetism, and people flock to you.
Your force of personality can steamroll most opposition.

Resolve
Resolve measures your willpower, determination, and self-control. Low Resolve means youre nervous or fearful; high Resolve
means youre cool and collected. Resolve is related to courage,
but its not directly correlated a character with low Resolve
could still be brave enough to creep into a cannibals village,
but hed be shaking in his boots as he did so.

Coordination 5: Exceptionally well-coordinated; you


might be a sharp-shooter, contortionist or gymnast.

Resolve 1: You dont handle danger well at all. Youre the


sort who faints at the sight of blood! Youre also a pushover,
and rarely stand up for yourself.

Coordination 6: Incredible hand-eye coordination and


agility.

Resolve 2: Youre nervous and fearful. The thought of violence


makes your knees start knocking and your mouth go dry.

Ingenuity

Resolve 3: About average. You wouldnt consider yourself


especially brave or tough, but you can be relied on when
the chips are down.

This Attribute is how clever you are. It doesnt necessarily reflect intelligence you may be highly intelligent in
one field, but unable to apply your knowledge in other
areas. It also doesnt quite measure education. Think of
it as reflecting how quickly you think on your feet.

Resolve 4: Youre stronger-willed than average. You know


your own mind, and dont let other people boss you around.

Ingenuity 1: Youre noticeably slow on the uptake and


dont improvise well.

Resolve 5: Youre extremely strong-willed. People call you


driven, stubborn, or a maverick. When you set your mind
on something, it gets done. When youre surrounded by
a gang of thugs, you dont even flinch.

Ingenuity 2: Below average; you can get by in everyday life,


but youll lose arguments more often than you win them.

Resolve 6: Your conviction borders on obsession. Your self-control is astonishing. You could stare down a charging bull.

Ingenuity 3: About average; you can adapt when challenged and solve most problems you encounter.

Strength

Ingenuity 4: Above average; youve gone to university


(or could have, if it werent for circumstances), and can
solve a crossword quicker than most people.
Ingenuity 5: Very smart; you could have got a scholarship.
Your intellect impresses people.
Ingenuity 6: A genuine genius; your mind is frighteningly quick.

Strength, obviously enough, is your physical strength. The


higher your strength, the more you can lift and the more
damage you do when you punch or kick someone. A high
Strength score is needed to use some heavy weapons
properly, or to carry lots of gear. When you have to, you
can lift twice as much as you can comfortably carry.
Strength 1: Youre very weak; most likely, youre either
very young, very old, or sick. You do one point of damage
with a punch, and can carry 15kg of gear.
37

Pulp Fantastic
Strength 2: Your strength is below average; maybe youre on
the small side, or just unfit. Your attacks inflict 2 points of
damage, and you can carry around 30kg of gear without strain.

SETUP

Strength 3: Average strength. You can pitch in to do a bit


of physical labor when you have to, and you go the gym a
few times a month. Your attacks inflict 3 damage; you can
carry 45kg.
Strength 4: Youre fit; maybe you exercise regularly, or
your daily job is a physically demanding one. Your attacks
inflict 4 damage, and you can carry 60kg with ease.
Strength 5: Youre very strong indeed; people remark on
how muscular or toned you are. Your attacks inflict 5
damage, and you can carry 75kg without a problem.
Strength 6: Youre a monster. You could wrestle a gorilla.
Punching someone inflicts 6 damage, and you can carry
90kg or more.

Skills
Skills are learned abilities. Your character may have been
blessed by genetics with a high Ingenuity and good Strength,
but what he learned in life makes all the difference.

Assigning Skill Points


You dont have to allocate points to every Skill; after all,
most people arent good at everything. Pick one or two
Skills that reflect the characters occupation or pastimes
and put three or even four points into those, and pick a
Skill or two that youll think will be handy for the coming
adventures and put a couple of points in them. The remaining points can be distributed as you see fit, bearing
the concept of the character in mind.
While the character can advance and have Skills above
five, it is rare for a starting character to have a skill above
that. During character creation, no Skill can be above level
five unless this has been discussed in detail with the Gamemaster and authorized. If you want to play, for example,
a university professor or a limping medical diagnostician
you may be allowed to put more than five points in a Skill,
but then it should only be in the Skill that reflects the
characters profession. Besides, you dont want to pile all
those points into one place and become too much of a
specialist to be of any use, do you? If youve got lots of
points left over, put them into Areas of Expertise.

There are thirteen skills in pulp fantastic, which cover


all the threats and dangers youre likely to encounter on
this side of Maple White Land, anyway. Like Attributes,
skills are rated from 1-6. 1 indicates a passing familiarity
with the topic, 6 means youre a world-class expert in the
field. Unlike Attributes, you dont have to have a point in
every skill. Your skills can go over 6 if you improve them
through experience.

Areas of Expertise
Skills are very broad; but just because you know Science,
it doesnt mean youre an expert in biology, chemistry and
astrophysics. As you learn something, you get to a level
where you may focus your studies or interests, getting
better at something in particular. This is an Area of Expertise. For example, the Transport skill covers all forms
of mechanical vehicles, from automobiles to auto-gyros
to locomotives. Normally, youd just roll Coordination +
Transport when driving a car but if you had an Area of
Expertise in Automobiles, you could add +2 to your roll.
Areas of Expertise can only be purchased once you have
three points in a skill; they cost 1 point each.

Trappings
If youve got a skill, then youve also probably got the
tools to use it. The trappings entry for each skill describes
the equipment and contacts that are customarily associated with it. For example, if youre a trained sharpshooter,
then you either have your own gun collection or are a
member of a gun club. Trappings dont always apply: if
your character has been exploring the jungles of Borneo
for the last five years, she probably doesnt have a working
motorcycle even if she has Transport (motorcycles) 4.
38

ADDING NEW SKILLS


If your players are just itching to have a Skill that is not on the
list, first of all think whether one of the Skills listed below
covers it already. Want a skilled grease monkey? No problem,
they have a good Technology Skill. Adventuring archaeologist?
Theyd probably have a high Knowledge to cover that history,
maybe some Athletics to take the active nature into account.
You dont need to be too specific, but if you feel that you want
a specific Skill that isnt covered by these broad Skills listed,
you can apply your Gamemastering skills and create it!

Genesis
SKILLS
Suggested Areas of Expertise are in brackets, but players should come up with their own specialties that reflect the characters
personality and background.
Animal Handling (Dogs, Fish, Horses, Insects, Primates, Reptiles)
Athletics (Acrobatics, Climbing, Jumping, Parachuting, Running, Scuba, Swimming)
Convince (Bluff, Charm, Fast Talk, Interrogation, Leadership, Lie, Seduction, Talk Down)
Craft (Building, Painting, Farming, Singing, Guitar, Woodwork, Metalwork, Dancing)
Fighting (Block, Club, Feints, Knife, Parry, Sword, Throws, Unarmed Combat)
Knowledge (Anthropology, History, Language, Law, Literature, Psychology, Sociology)
Marksman (Automatic Weapons, Bow, Mounted Weapons, Pistol, Rifle, Thrown Weapons, Tranquillizer Gun)
Medicine (Disease, Forensics, Poisons, Psychological Trauma, Surgery, Veterinary Medicine, Wounds)

Science (Biology, Botany, Chemistry, Mathematics, Parapsychology, Physics)


Subterfuge (Camouflage, Lock-picking, Pickpocketing, Safe-cracking, Sleight of Hand, Sneaking)
Survival (Arctic, Desert, Jungle, Mountain, Swamp, Wilderness)
Technology (Electrics, Gadgetry, Repair, Robotics)
Transport (Aircraft, Auto-gyros, Boats, Cars, Motorcycles, Submersibles, Trucks, Zeppelins)

Skills List
Above is a list of the Skills in pulp fantastic. Each
Skill describes the areas it covers and how it is used. For
details on actual Skill rolls, see p. 128 of Chapter 7: Action.
Within each Skill there are suggestions for how they are
used, as well as a list of possible Trappings and Areas of
Expertise. Remember, this is not exhaustive, and the Gamemaster and players should feel free to add Areas of Expertise (or even whole Skills) if it best suits their game.

Animal Handling
The Animal Handling skill is used when dealing with
animals of all shapes and sizes, from riding a horse to
calming a rampaging bull-elephant. It covers body language (how to appear non-threatening or dominant), an
understanding of animal behavior, basic veterinary medicine, and how to tame and train an animal.
When trying to calm an animal down or convince it to do
something, you use Presence. When trying to work something out about an animal, like trying to guess what made
those tracks, youd use Ingenuity. At higher skill levels,
Animal Handling crosses over with Science (zoology or
biology) and Survival.
Areas of Expertise: Dogs, Horses, Reptiles, Insects, Fish,
Primates.
Trappings: Youve probably got a pet or two or ten. Youve
also got all-weather clothing and any special equipment
you need to care for animals.

Athletics
The Athletics skill covers fitness, physical training and
agility. It often complements Strength and Coordination
a character with a high Coordination but a low Athletics
is naturally dextrous but isnt trained in using their talents
properly.
Any physical or straining activity the character may have
to perform may be covered by Athletics. However, blocking a swung fist may be accomplished with the Fighting
Skill (paired with Coordination), whichever is more ap-

RIDING?
You could make a good argument for riding being an Area of
Expertise for Animal Handling its all about working with
the animal, establishing a rapport, and learning to read the
animals body language. You could also say riding comes
under Athletics its about balance, pulling on reins, movement and so on. Therefore, you can take Riding as an Area of
Expertise under either skill. The two different forms of riding
are slightly different its the difference between, say, the
Horse Whisperer and a champion jockey but are close enough
to be interchangeable.
Also you could make a case for Weird Science this way as well,
due to its very nature it could be an Area of Expertise for
Science, but it could also be one for Technology. If you wanted
to apply it to the theoretical aspects of the topic, then it
would be an Area of Expertise for Science, but if its applied
to new gadgets and equipment, then it would be an Area of
Expertise for Technology.
39

Pulp Fantastic
propriate to the situation. As a basic rule of thumb, if its
physical, its Athletics. If its combat, its the Fighting Skill.

SETUP

Areas of Expertise: Running, Jumping, Acrobatics, Climbing, Parachuting, Diving, Swimming.


Trappings: If youve got an Area of Expertise, then youve
got whatever specialized equipment is associated with
that field. For example, if youre a deep sea diver, then you
have your own diving suit, helmet and weights, and you
may have your own oxygen pump and boat.

Convince
The best used-car salesperson in the world has high levels
of the Convince Skill. As you may have guessed, Convince
is all about getting people to do what you want. You can
use this to win an argument, to sway people to your way
of thinking, to bluff that youre meant to be in this cultist
temple or that youre perfectly entitled to have pitched a
Nazi out of a zeppelin because he had no ticket. It can
mean youre a convincing liar, or just the most commanding military leader. Most of the time, Convince rolls are
resisted. After all, youre trying to change someones mind.
Convince is usually paired with, and resisted by, Presence
or Resolve.
Areas of Expertise: Fast Talk, Bluff, Leadership, Seduction, Interrogation, Charm, Lie, Talk Down.
Trappings: Clothes make the man a high Convince
means youve got a good wardrobe, while someone who
specializes in lying and deceit might have a selection of
disguises.

ROLE-PLAY VS ROLL-PLAY
Convince is used for many types of social interaction, from
convincing someone that the lies you are telling are the truth,
to convincing them you are a sincere and trustworthy person.
Many social interactions will rely on the Convince Skill, but
it shouldnt be as simple as rolling dice and getting what you
want. The Gamemaster should encourage players to act out
the dialogue, the amusing lines and the attempts at bluffing.
If their lines at the game table are good enough, the Gamemaster may apply bonuses to the roll or reward the players
with Story Points. The same can also be said, however, for
being less than convincing, and penalties may be imposed if
your story is patently ridiculous. Penalties should not be
given for simply being unable to come up with cool and witty
lines or being unable to fast talk their way out of a situation.

Craft
Craft is an all-encompassing Skill that covers all manners
of talents. Whether the character is good with their hands
and can carve an ornate chess set from wood, or maybe
just great at playing the guitar or singing, all of these are
covered by the Craft Skill. However, if the character is a
blacksmith, their metalworking may be great but if they
try to use their Craft Skill for something very different to
40

their Area of Expertise, weaving for example, the players


can expect some penalties to be imposed by the Gamemaster. (If you dont have the Skill needed for an Area of
Expertise, you should still decide what sort of Craft you
have.)
If youre building something like a barricade to keep the
Radium Men out, you use Craft. Coupled with Technology,
you can use Craft to assemble devices like Herr Doktor
Todeskopfs clock-work Assassin Spiders.
Areas of Expertise: Building, Painting, Farming, Singing,
Guitar, Woodwork, Metalwork, Dancing, Literature.
Trappings: If you make things, youve got a studio or
workshop, along with the tools you need. If youre a performer, then youve got instruments. Either way, you also
have contacts related to your field.

Fighting
Fighting as a Skill covers all forms of close combat.
Whether this is with fists, feet, swords, axes or cat claws,
Fighting is the Skill used (usually paired with Strength,
but some martial arts use Coordination instead). Any
combat that involves weapons that fire (like rifles, dart
guns or even the trusty bow and arrow) uses the Marksman
Skill. This is purely for when it gets up close and personal. Fighting can be used with Strength to not only land a
punch, but also to block that nasty jab.
Areas of Expertise: Unarmed Combat, Parry, Block,
Throws, Feints, Sword, Club, Knife.
Trappings: Martial arts gear, possibly a collection of
weapons.

Knowledge
This is a broad and almost all-encompassing Skill that
covers most areas of knowledge. The exceptions are those
covered specifically by other Skills such as Medicine,
Technology or Science. Knowledge usually covers what
those in education usually call the humanities, such as
law, sociology, psychology, archeology, history, literature,
or languages. The Skill is most often paired with the Ingenuity Attribute. (If you dont have the Skill needed for
an Area of Expertise, you should still decide what sort of
Knowledge you have.)
Areas of Expertise: History (choose an era), Anthropology, Law, Psychology, Language (select a specific language),
Literature, Sociology.
Trappings: If your skill is only 3 or less, youve got a few
books related to your Area of Expertise, if any. With a skill
of 4 or more, you know experts in the field personally, and
have a small library of reference works at home. You might
even have a job in that field.

Marksman
Violence isnt the answer to every situation, but firepower
is often the best fallback position and when you speak
softly it often pays to carry a big stick. The Marksman Skill

Genesis
LEARNED SKILLS AND INSTINCT
While were talking of parrying and blocking, lets just mention the difference between a learned skill and a reaction or instinctual
act. There are a couple of areas where the difference between a Skill roll or an Attribute roll can be a little confusing. One is blocking/parrying and dodging. The other is noticing something.
Blocking and Parrying is a learned skill. Anyone who has done martial arts or fencing will know that learning to block or parry an
attack takes knowledge and skill. When blocking or parrying in the game, youll be using Strength and Fighting.
Dodging is another matter - a lot of it depends upon natural reactions and instinct. When it comes to dodging gunfire or moving
out of the way of a rockfall, youll use Attributes only, usually Coordination and Awareness. If youre a skilled Fighter or martial
artist, youll be able to bend out of the way of a punch or kick, so you can use Coordination and Fighting to dodge in this case, but
youll still be using Attributes only when dodging that gunfire or rockfall! Its tricky, as Gamemaster, which Skill or Attribute combination to be used is down to you.
As a guide:

Punching or Kicking (or any physical attack): Strength + Fighting


Blocking or Parrying a physical attack: Strength + Fighting
Dodging a physical attack: Coordination + Fighting
Dodging gunfire or environmental hazards (if they have chance to see it coming): Awareness + Coordination
Dodging gunfire or environmental hazards (if they cannot see it coming): No chance to dodge.
Of course, the character has to be aware of the attack to begin with in order to block or dodge. If the character is taken by surprise,
or if the attacker is hidden (for example, sniping from a distance), they will be unable to react to it first time. The attack will just
be rolled as an unresisted task, against a fixed difficulty to hit defined by the Gamemaster.
Noticing or spotting something important is another tricky one that can be used in multiple ways. If the character is not actively
looking for something and you want to give the player a chance to see the trained hawk before it attacks, they will have to make
an Attribute only roll, usually Awareness and Ingenuity. However, if theyre searching old books for a clue, looking into medical
records for information or something like that, if the characters skills or knowledge comes into play, then its Awareness paired
with the Skill.
As a rough guide:
Passively noticing something (not actively looking, but theres a chance of seeing it): Awareness + Ingenuity
Actively looking for something: Awareness + Skill (related to the subject, Knowledge, Medicine, Technology, etc)

COMMON KNOWLEDGE
Keeping things simple, and having a lower number of Skills, does mean that some of them, especially Craft, Knowledge, Medicine
and Science, require a little bit of adjudication on behalf of the Gamemaster. For example, if the character is a lawyer, their Knowledge Skill will have an Area of Expertise that refer to their knowledge of all things legal, and an archaeologists Areas of Expertise
will reflect their years of education in history, geology and archeology. If your character is trying to use their Skill for something
that is obviously not their Area of Expertise a classical guitarist trying to craft a bow, for example the roll will incur some
penalties to reflect this. (Even if a character doesnt have an Area of Expertise, the player should still have some idea of the sort of
Knowledge or Science or Craft or Medicine his character knows.)
Think of how far removed from the actual knowledge they have is the knowledge they want to use. If its fairly similar to something
theyd know, whether they have the Area of Expertise or not, but not something theyd obviously know, then a penalty of around
-1 or -2 would be apt. If its something theyd know nothing about, then the penalty could be a high as -4, the usual penalty for
being unskilled. Of course, if its something really technical, the Difficulty of the task is going to be suitably high making it hard
for them to succeed.
A good Gamemaster will put opportunities into the game for characters to use their skills, and avoid making key plot points depend
on skills that no-one possesses.

41

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

is used for any weapon that fires a projectile or shoots at


a target that is outside of close combat range. For weapons
that require physical aiming, such as a gun or manual
weapon system, pair Coordination with the Marksman
Skill. For other more technical weaponry pair Ingenuity
with Marksman, to reflect the more intellectual approach
to operating the weapon.
Areas of Expertise: Bow, Pistol, Rifle, Automatic Weapons,
Sniper, Thrown Weapons, Dart Gun, Mounted Weapons
Trappings: At Skill 2 or 3, you may possess a weapon or
two of your own, depending on local laws. At Skill 4 or
more, you definitely have access to your own weapon, and
may be part of a gun club, reserve military unit or other
group.

Medicine
The Medicine Skill, at low levels, reflects the characters
ability to perform basic first aid, resuscitation or stabilize
wounds. At higher levels, they may be medical students,
or fully fledged doctors or nurses, even surgeons. Medicine
is usually paired with Ingenuity, though if the medical
procedure is particularly tricky or requires delicate work,
then Coordination can be used. Medicine also reflects
other Areas of Expertise, depending upon the background
of the character, such as forensic, veterinary medicine or
alternative therapies.
Areas of Expertise: Disease, Wounds, Poisons, Psychological Trauma, Surgery, Forensics, Veterinary Medicine,
Alternative Remedies.
Trappings: Youve got a first aid kit at least. Higher skill
levels mean youve got a much more extensive kit; at Skill
4 or more, you could be a doctor or surgeon with your own
practice.

WHAT DO SKILL RANKS MEAN?


What do those skill numbers actual mean? For academic skills
like Knowledge, Medicine or Science, it breaks down like this:
1.

42

Youre broadly familiar with the topic. For Medicine,


youve done a first aid course and maybe dated a
nurse. For Knowledge or Science, youve read a few
books on the topic.

Science
Science! There are always new and exciting things on the
horizon, new aircraft, new war machines, and new ways
to entertain people by transmitting through the airwaves.
Theres a little crossover with the Medicine and Technology Skills, but if the task requires less repairing either
people or gadgets, and more contemplating the wild pseudoscience or in-depth theory, then Science is going to be
the Skill of choice.
Weird Science is also an Area of Expertise, but characters
can only take that area with the Gamemasters permission.
Areas of Expertise: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry,
Botany, Biology, Parapsychology.
Trappings: At lower skill levels, youve got a few books
and some basic equipment like a microscope. At Skill 3 or
more, you either own or have access to a laboratory.

Subterfuge
Sneaking around, hiding, and sleight of hand are all
covered by Subterfuge. Subterfuge is usually paired with
Coordination, or if the task is of a more intellectual nature,
Ingenuity can be used, especially for tasks like safe-cracking or devising a suitably effective bit of camouflage.
Areas of Expertise: Sneaking, Lock-picking, Sleight of
Hand, Pickpocketing, Safe-cracking, Camouflage.
Trappings: Dark or camouflage-pattern clothing, lockpicks, maybe even safe-cracking gear and thermite.

Survival
This is one Skill that has been lost by the vast majority of
modern city-dwellers, who live in a comfortable environment with few natural dangers. The closest we come to
hunting and foraging is walking to the neighborhood
grocery. The Survival skill was vital to our ancestors. It
covers navigation in the wilderness, finding food and
water, building shelters, hunting and other primitive
skills.
Areas of Expertise: Desert, Jungle, Swamp, Mountain,
Arctic, Wilderness.
Trappings: Camping gear, maps, all-weather clothing,
hiking boots.

2.

Youve had some training in the topic, such as a


night course or diploma.

3.

You have a graduate degree in the field.

4.

Youve got a masters in the field, or youve got


extensive practical experience. Youre an expert in
the topic.

5.

Youve got a PhD and have a lot of experience. If


youre not a university professor or a researcher,
then youre almost certainly working in the field.

Some people are a whiz with gizmos, gadgets and all kinds
of new-fangled devices, while others have difficulty tuning
the radio in to Fibber McGee and Molly. Technology as a
Skill represents the characters know-how when it comes
to all of these things. Whether it is repairing an automobile, disarming a bomb, understanding weird technology
or just mending a fuse, Technology, paired with Ingenuity, is the Skill to use.

6.

Youre a household name or could be. Your name


is synonymous with the skill.

Areas of Expertise: Electrics, Gadgetry, Hacking, Repair,


Robotics.

Technology

Genesis
Weird Technology is also an Area of Expertise, but characters
can only take that area with the Gamemasters permission.
Trappings: If youve got an Area of Expertise, then youve
got a garage or a spare room crammed with spare parts,
unfinished projects and reference books related to your
hobby.

Transport
The Transport skill deals with piloting or driving all sorts
of vehicle. Like other broad Skills, knowing how to drive
a car doesnt mean you can pilot a zeppelin, but when it
comes to vehicles many are similar enough to give you a
good place to start. Steering, accelerator, brakes, what
more do you need? If the technology is similar enough,
you can probably allow the players to use the Skill without
penalty. The only method of transport that isnt covered
by the Transport Skill is riding an animal, such as a horse.

Some Good Traits are very powerful and require the expenditure of a Story Point (or more) to activate, whereas
some Bad Traits are so dangerous that they give Story
Points back when they come up.

Buying Traits
Traits are purchased with Character Points. If you dont
have any Character Points left after buying Attributes and
Skills, dont worry. You can ;
Go back and reduce an Attribute or Skill to get Character Points back
or
Take a Bad Trait
or

Areas of Expertise: Cars, Trucks, Aircraft, Motorcycles,


Submersibles, Zeppelins.

Minor Traits cost a single Character Point to purchase (or


provide you with a point if theyre Bad).

Trappings: If your skill is 2 or more, you have your own


vehicle. With a Skill of 3 or more and the appropriate Area
of Expertise, youve got the license to operate the matching vehicle if its an unusual one like a Zeppelin.

Major Traits cost two Character Points to purchase, (or


provide two points if theyre bad for your character).

Traits
Traits are quirks of personality, significant episodes in
your past, or unusual talents. Theyre special advantages
or drawbacks that make your character unique. When the
characters are in a situation where a Trait may come into
play, it can aid (or hinder) with what theyre doing. Knowing
when a Trait comes into play is a tricky one, but basically
if you think that the situation could involve a characters
Trait, it should be factored into the game, even if its a Bad
Trait and will make things harder for the character. If the
player is honest, keeping in character for the game and
mentioning the Trait, if they bring a Bad Trait into play
that you may have forgotten, the player should be rewarded with Story Points. More on those later.
Traits are divided by how important they are: a Minor Trait
might only come into play once every few weeks, while a
Major Trait affects your character constantly. Traits can
also be Good or Bad. A Good Trait gives you a bonus to
your rolls or some other positive benefit, while a Bad Trait
gives a penalty or carries with it some other problem.

Affecting your Character


Sometimes, a Trait can effect game-play without you
having to roll any dice. Some Traits simply help or hinder
the character all of the time. For example, Phobia can
hinder their actions if they face the object of their fears,
or Code of Conduct can limit their choices in any given
situation, just as Tough can save their life in a fight without
any dice needing to be rolled. The Traits description will
give you an idea of how each of the specific Traits work,
but if you and the players think the Trait is apt to the situation, then it comes into play.

Take the Experienced Trait (see the sidebar)

Giving yourself a Bad Trait will give you more points that
can either be spent on your Attributes, or even spent on
your Skills if you think the character is lacking in any area.
Taking a lot of Bad Traits may give you lots of points to
spend elsewhere, but it can be very limiting to a character.
Wed suggest that the Gamemaster limits the number of
Bad Traits that may be taken to 6 points worth.
Traits can only be purchased once, unless the Gamemaster approves. In these rare cases, it is only with Traits that
can mean multiple things - for example you can have a
phobia of rats and spiders (two different Phobia Traits - woe
betide anyone with these who meets a rat-spider hybrid!).
You cannot purchase a Trait twice that isnt specific like
this - for example you cannot purchase Tough twice
because you want to be super tough. As a guide, Traits
that can be purchased multiple times are marked with an
asterisk (*), but multiple purchases must be approved by
the Gamemaster.
Also, opposing Traits shouldnt be purchased as they simply
cancel each other out. You cannot be both Attractive and
Unattractive (though this is fairly subjective), and you
cannot be Distinctive and have Face in the Crowd. Some
opposing Traits may be purchased if the Gamemaster
allows - for example, you could have both Lucky and
Unlucky, meaning that your luck is extreme in both cases.
Brave can be purchased with Phobia, as you can be brave
in the face of everything except the thing youre secretly
scared of. If you can rationalize it, and it makes sense, and
the Gamemaster approves, you can purchase almost any
Trait you wish. Well point out some of these restrictions
in the Traits descriptive text.

43

SETUP

Pulp Fantastic

Traits List

Minions* (Major), page 49

Below is a list of Traits that can be purchased or taken by


the character. Each Trait describes its effects upon the
character or how it can be used, along with the Traits value
(whether it is a Minor or Major Trait), either Good or Bad.

Never Gives Up (Major), page 50


Owed Favor (Minor or Major), page 50

The list is by no means exhaustive. If theres something new


you wish to see, as the Gamemaster you have the power to
create new Traits from scratch. You will have to assign the
new Trait a value (Minor or Major, Good or Bad) and define
any features, working with the players to create something
cool and interesting. Use the existing Traits as a guide.

Photographic Memory (Major), page 50

Weve split the following list into Good Traits (first), Bad
Traits and then Special Traits.

List of Traits in order


For easy reference, the Traits are listed below with page
references.

Good Traits

44

Pet* (Minor or Major), page 50


Psychic Training (Minor), page 50
Quick Reflexes (Major), page 50
Resourceful Pockets (Minor), page 50
Rumor Mill (Minor), page 50
Sense of Direction (Minor), page 51
Sharpshooter (Minor), page 51
Super Amalgamated (Minor), page 51
Technically Adept (Minor), page 51
Tracker (Minor), page 51

Animal Friendship (Minor), page 46

Tough (Minor or Major), page 51

Attractive (Minor), page 46

Voice of Authority (Minor), page 51

Authority (Minor or Major), page 46

Wealthy (Minor or Major), page 51

Boxing or Bashing (Minor), page 46

Weapon Encyclopedia (Minor), page 51

Brand (Major), page 46

Weird Tech (Minor or Major), page 51

Brave (Minor), page 46

Well Traveled (Minor), page 51

Breaking & Entering (Major) , page 46

Bad Traits

Charming (Minor), page 47

Adversary* (Minor or Major), page 52

Crack Shot (Minor), page 47

Amnesia (Minor or Major), page 52

Easily Underestimated (Minor), page 47

Animal Lover (Minor), page 52

Empathic (Minor), page 47

By the Book (Minor), page 52

Face in the Crowd (Minor), page 47

Clumsy (Minor), page 52

Fast Healer (Major), page 47

Code of Conduct (Minor or Major), page 53

Fast Runner (Minor), page 47

Cowardly (Minor), page 53

Favorite Gun/Gadget (Minor), page 47

Dark Secret (Minor or Major), page 53

Friends* (Minor or Major), page 47

Dependents (Minor or Major), page 53

Gadgeteer (Major), page 48

Dependency (Minor or Major), page 53

Hobby (Minor), page 48

Distinctive (Minor), page 53

Hot Shot (Minor), page 48

Dogsbody (Minor) , page 54

Hypnosis (Minor or Major), page 48

Doomed (Major), page 54

Instinct (Minor)*, page 49

Eccentric (Minor or Major), page 54

Indomitable (Major), page 49

Emotional Complication (Minor or Major), page 54

Keen Senses* (Minor or Major), page 49

Forgetful (Minor), page 54

Linguist (Minor Trait), page 49

Fresh Meat (Minor), page 54

Lucky (Minor or Major), page 49

Good Samaritan (Minor), page 54

Martial Artist (Major), page 49

Hell on Wheels (Minor), page 55

Genesis
Impaired Senses* (Minor or Major), page 55

Creature Traits

Impoverished (Minor), page 55

Additional Limbs (Minor Good) , page 196

Impulsive (Minor), page 55

Aggressive (Major Good) , page 196

Insatiable Curiosity (Minor), page 55

Amphibious (Minor Good) , page 196

Maverick (Minor), page 55

Aquatic (Minor Bad), page 196

Obligation (Minor or Major), page 55

Armor (Minor, Major or Special Good) , page 196

Obsession (Minor or Major), page 55

Bite (Minor or Major Good), page 196

Outcast (Minor), page 56

Burrowing (Minor Good), page 196

Owes Favor (Minor or Major), page 56

Claw (Minor Good), page 197

Phobia* (Minor), page 56

Climbing (Minor or Major Good), page 197

Racial Minority (Minor), page 56

Constrict (Minor Good), page 197

Slow Reflexes (Major), page 56

Enhanced Senses (Minor Good), page 197

Slow Runner (Minor), page 56

Environmental (Minor or Major Good), page 197

Strange Visitor (Minor or Major), page 56

Fast-Moving (Minor or Major Good), page 197

Technically Inept (Minor), page 57

Fear Factor (Special Good), page 197

Unattractive (Minor) , page 57

Flight (Minor or Major Good), page 198

Unlucky (Minor or Major), page 57

Frenzy (Minor Bad) , page 198

Weakness (Minor or Major), page 57

Grab (Minor Good) , page 198

Special Traits

Immaterial (Special Bad) , page 198

Experienced, page 57
Fast Healer, page 57
Inexperienced, page 57
Machine Man, page 57
More Than Human, page 58
Psychic, page 58
Robot, page 58
Team Player, page 58
Unusual Background, page 59

Psychic Traits
Astral Travel, page 59
Clairvoyance, page 59
Cloud Mens Minds, page 60
Empathic Aura, page 60
Enlightened, page 60
Possess, page 60
Precognition , page 60
Telekinesis, page 60
Telepathy, page 62

Immortal (Major or Special Good) , page 198


Immunity (Major Good Trait) , page 199
Infection (Major Good), page 199
Invisible (Special Good), page 199
Leap (Special Good), page 200
Lurker (Minor Good), page 200
Natural Weapons (Minor or Major Good), page 200
Networked (Minor or Major Good), page 200
Nocturnal (Minor Bad), page 200
Passive (Minor Bad), page 200
Poison (Special Good), page 201
Possess (Special Good), page 201
Replication (Major Good), page 201
Savage Roar (Major Good), page 201
Screamer! (Minor Good), page 202
Shapeshift (Minor, Major or Special Good), page 202
Slow-Moving (Minor or Major Good), page 202
Snap (Major Good), page 202
Special (Special Good), page 202
Stalker (Major Good), page 202
Stinger (Minor Good), page 202
45

Pulp Fantastic
Stomp (Minor Good), page 202
Strange Appearance (Special Bad), page 203
Teleport (Major Good), page 203
Trample (Major Good), page 203

SETUP

Warning (Major Good), page 203

Good Traits
Animal Friendship
(Minor Good Trait)
Animals like and trust you.
Effects: When encountering an animal for the first time,
the character may attempt to show it that they mean no
harm and distill any aggressive tendencies, giving a +2
bonus to any Animal Handling rolls when trying to tame
or calm a creature.
Note: You may also want to pick up the Pet trait (see page 52).

Attractive
(Minor Good Trait)
Youre physically attractive, even beautiful.

Effect: This Trait allows the character to take a free action


or reaction in the Combat phase of an Action Round.
This free action does not suffer the normal penalty for
taking more than one action per Action Round, and can
be an attack, parry, or any other combat related action.
At the GMs discretion, the character can spend a Story
Point to use their free action in a different phase, but
this must also be somehow related to the combat currently being fought.

Brand
(Major Good Trait)
The character can imprint his/her brand on someone elses
flesh, or perhaps on an item. This is often done through
a ring, a glove, or an arrow. This mark either seals its
victim permanently for all to see as an enemy of the protagonist or marks them as being under their special protection (requiring the Minor Bad Trait Obligation). Brands
are usually given on the face, giving the recipient the Minor
Bad Trait Distinctive.

Note: Cannot be taken with the Unattractive Bad Trait.

Effect: A character who has been branded cannot be seen


by anyone who is Friends with the protagonist (or indeed,
allied with the protagonist in any way) without the interaction immediately turning quite negative for the victim,
perhaps forcefully so--though of course, someone might
hide their reaction. In such cases, the victim will also
receive a -3 penalty to all rolls involving Convince.

Authority

Brave

(Minor or Major Good Trait)

(Minor Good Trait)

Youre in a position of authority and power.

Youre steadfast and courageous.

Effects: The Minor version of this trait means youre a


police officer, doctor, important public servant, G-man,
high-flying magnate or in some other position that lets
you order people around in certain circumstances and
if they disobey you, theyll be in serious trouble.

Effects: The Brave Trait provides a +2 bonus to any Resolve


roll to resist the effects of fear. You can also spend a Story
Point to automatically resist fear (you can spend this Story
Point after you fail a Resolve roll).

The Major version means youve got political influence in


all sorts of areas. You can pick up the phone and call the
Police Commissioner or the President, and theyll answer.
The gm may require you to spend a story point or two if
youre pushing the boundaries of your authority.

Breaking & Entering

Effects: The Attractive Trait comes into play whenever


youre doing something that your looks can influence.
You get a +2 bonus to any rolls that involve your stunning
good looks, from charming your way past guards to getting
information out of someone.

Note: Theres also a Group Trait, Official Sanction, that


works like this Trait. The difference is that the Group Trait
only applies when youll pulling rank on behalf of your
groups officially sanctioned activities, whereas the personal version means youve got your own political pull
outside the group.

Boxing or Bashing
(Minor Good Trait)
There are people in this world that have a natural affinity
for the fighting arts, and they like to fight. This is the result
46

of intensive training, the love of fighting, the rush of enhanced adreal glands or just experience fighting. In combat
the character acts faster and with a greater degree of determination than others.

Note: Cannot be taken with the Cowardly Bad Trait, though


individual Phobia Bad Traits can still be purchased.
(Major Good Trait)
Youve got a talent for bypassing security and sneaking
past guards.
Effects: Firstly, this Trait gives a +2 bonus to Subterfuge
rolls when trying to get into a guarded building or compound. Secondly, you get to know the difficulty of the test
before you roll the dice. For example, if you come to a
locked, alarmed door, the gm must tell you the difficulty
of disabling the alarm before you roll, so you know whether
to make the attempt or back off.

Genesis
Charming
(Minor Good Trait)
Youve got a way with words and a devilish sparkle in your
eye. People want to trust you.
Effects: Youve got a +2 bonus to rolls when youre trying
to convince people to do something they probably shouldnt.

Crack Shot
(Minor Good Trait)
Youve a special knack for hitting things from distance.
Perhaps you grew up hunting in the backwoods with your
pappy, fired weapons for sport or just have a particular gift
for accuracy, but it means that you rarely miss and can
literally shoot the wings off a fly.
Effect: Crack Shot is a Minor Good Trait, and characters
with this gain +2 to their roll when using Marksman for
trick shots, like shooting a gun out of an enemys hand or
firing at a weak spot.

Easily Underestimated
(Minor Good)
No one takes you seriously. Maybe its a carefully cultivated
fiction youve created over time, falsely acting like a mild-mannered reporter or a ditzy socialite. Maybe youre a minority,
or a woman, or you just look young, and nobody expects you
to be intelligent and capable. Whatever the reason, there are
actually advantages to being underestimated sometimes...
Effect: You receive a +2 bonus to all social conflicts with
someone underestimating you. Additionally, you may
end a social conflict dramatically by suddenly confronting
another character, replacing the +2 with a free upgrade of
one degree of success to your roll; however, the other
character will never underestimate you again. In a physical conflict with someone who still underestimates you,
you receive a free upgrade of one degree of success to your
roll, but only in your first Action Round.

Empathic
(Minor Good Trait)
You can read peoples body language and subtle emotional
cues very well, giving you an insight into what theyre feeling.
Effects: Empathic allows the character a +2 bonus on any
rolls when they are trying to empathize or read another
person. This could be a simple Presence and Convince roll
to reassure someone whos panicking in the middle of a
battle, or an Awareness and Ingenuity roll to try to read
the actions and speech of another to see if theyre lying.

Face in the Crowd


(Minor Good Trait)
When you want them to people tend to overlook you. This
could be because youre very nondescript and a bit bland,
or because youre simply very adept at looking like you
belong somewhere.

Effects: As long as youre not dressing like a clown or


anything else too weird, and not doing anything that will
attract their attention, people will leave you to go about
what youre doing. If the Gamemaster asks for a roll to
blend in, the Trait provides a bonus of +2 to any Subterfuge Skill roll when youre trying to sneak about and not
get noticed.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Distinctive Bad Trait.

Fast Healer
(Major or Special Good Trait)
You heal a lot faster than most people. You can recover
from injuries that would hospitalize another person with
a few nights rest, and you hardly ever get sick.
Effects: You heal 1d6 points of Attributes lost to injury
with a nights rest. The Special Good version of this Trait
allows the character to recover 1 Attribute point per minute
and costs 3 Character Points.

Fast Runner
(Minor Good Trait)
Youre fleet of foot (always useful when you might come
face towellwhatever with an Eldritch Abomination).
Effects: Increase your movement speed by 1 when sprinting or fleeing.

Favorite Gun/Gadget
(Minor Good Trait)
Youve got a favorite weapon or item.
Effects: Once per game session, this trait gives you a free
Story Point that must be spent on a roll or action related
to your favorite item. You cant stockpile these Story Points;
you get one and only one per game.

Friends*
(Minor or Major Good Trait)
The Friends Trait can mean a variety of things, but essentially the character has people they can call upon for information or help. Friends can be either a Minor or a Major
Trait, depending upon how informative or helpful the
friend(s) in question are!
When you take this trait, youve got to specify what sort
of information that these friends have access to. You could
have Friends in High Places, giving you information about
the government, or Friends in the University, who could
pass on scientific research and help you analyze something,
or Friends in the Underworld, meaning you know criminals and thieves. You dont need to pin down exactly who
these friends are yet you can do that during play.
Above all, the Trait will not replace investigating something yourself. After all, wheres the fun if you get other
people to do all the sneaking around and research for you?
However, these Friends are a great source of information
researching the background of a place or person that may
47

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

take a while to uncover, while your character is busy doing


something else. This can also be an excellent instigator
of fresh and new adventures as the friend tips them off
when something is happening.
Effects: As a Minor Trait, Friends means that they know
someone who knows someone - a friend of a friend, but
the source (and their information) is usually reliable. It
may be that they know a friend who works in the city room
of a local newspaper or the mayors office who hears things
as theyre reported and can steer the character in the direction of strange events.
As a Major Trait, the person in the know is far more reliable,
and can do more than give information they can put
their influence to good use for you, at the cost of a Story
Point. If youve got Friends in the Military, for example,
you could borrow a plane. Friends in Government could
intercede on your behalf and get you out of prison.

Gadgeteer
(Major Good Trait)
Youre a genius when it comes to tweaking spare parts,
wiring and machinery to cobble together the most useful
gadgets and gizmos.
Effects: This Trait allows the character to create Inventions
through the fine art of jury-rigging and weird science. Your
average Joe can try to open their household appliances and
wire them together to try to make something though theyll
probably only gain an electric shock, a house-fire or worse.
Only a Gadgeteer can do this and create a useful device that
can open up safes, crack enemy strongholds and zap the bad
guy. More details on creating such gizmos can found in the
section called Inventions on p. 159.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Technically Inept Bad
Trait.

Hobby
(Minor Good Trait)
Youve got a hobby or interest in a particular narrow field.
Effects: This trait gives you an Area of Expertise in a
skill without having to have three points in that skill. For
example, a character with Science 1 but the hobby Radio
Ham would have an effective Science of 3 (1+2) when
making a roll to identify a call-sign or frequency. You can
only take Areas of Expertise related to Athletics, Craft,
Knowledge, Science, Technology or Transport as hobbies.

Hot Shot
(Minor Good Trait)
Some people are naturals when it comes to most forms of
transport. They can fly a plane through the harshest of thunderstorms or drive an auto at high speeds without crashing.
They are the best of the best when it comes to transportation.
Put them in the driving seat and theyre unstoppable.
Effects: While operating a vehicle, you get a +2 bonus to
Transport rolls when doing difficult stunts like ramming
48

vehicles, jumping over barriers, or crashing through walls.


You can also apply the bonus to the speed of the vehicle,
as you can get the best performance from it.

Hypnosis
(Minor or Major Good Trait)
As a Minor Good Trait the character can put people into
a mild hypnotic state. As a Major Good Trait, the character
can control mindsnot the sort of thing a hero would do.
Hypnosis can be a useful therapeutic tool or an insidious
means of mind control. As a Minor Good Trait, hypnosis
allows the character to place a subject in a trance state in
which they are highly suggestible and easy to influence.
As a Major Good Trait, the character can implant complex
commands and specifically influence behavior. Characters
with the Major Good version of the Trait can also implant
post-hypnotic suggestions that activate at a specific time
or in response to specific events, triggers or circumstances.
Effect: As a Minor Trait, the character gets a +2 bonus to any
social interaction to either calm someone down, or to get them
to do what theyd like. The character can implant a short term
suggestion, such as helping a subject resist the effects of shock
or fear, regain their sanity for a short while or defend themselves against possession or resist psychic attack. The subject
cannot be influenced into any dangerous action or behavior
contrary to their nature. Suggestions at this level only last for
a number of minutes equal to the characters Resolve.
As a Major Trait, hypnosis works the same way, except the
character can make the subject do anything he wants if
he succeeds in hypnotizing them, unless its something
intrinsically against their nature or suicidal (in which case
the target can make another roll to resist with a +3 bonus).
At this level, suggestions last a number of
days equal to the hypnotists Resolve.
For the mechanics of resisting hypnosis, see Being Possessed, p.133.
For full possession and mind
control, see the Possess Creature
Trait, p. 201.

Genesis
Instinct*

Lucky

(Minor Good Trait)

(Minor/Major Good Trait)

Youve got a habit or trained response that happens


before you even think about it.

Lady Luck is on your side. Call it a fluke, call it chance, but


fortune is smiling on you.

Effects: State your Instinct when you pick this trait. Your
instinct has to be a short habit or response, like I always
look for the nearest exit or I draw my gun and shoot
whenever anything leaps out at me or I hit the floor
whenever I hear gunfire. This has two benefits firstly,
you always follow your Instinct. If your Instinct is to keep
to the shadows, then youre always making Coordination
+ Subterfuge rolls to stay hidden. Secondly, your Instinct
happens at Fast speed (see Combat, page 125).

Effect: Characters with the Lucky Trait get a second chance


when double 1s are rolled, and you can re-roll both dice,
trying for something better. If you get double 1s again,
well, your luck obviously doesnt run that far. It doesnt
guarantee a success on your second roll, but theres a better
chance that fate may shine upon you.

Effect: You have a +4 bonus to any rolls to resist being


possessed or hypnotized, psychically controlled or similar.

As a Major Trait, your good luck means that every so often,


someone else has really bad luck. Once per game session,
you can spend a story point to force the gm to re-roll a
skill check or attack roll thats going to hurt you in some
way. Say youre caught in the headlights of a speeding
Duesenberg as the Syndicate tries to rub you out! The gm
rolls, and the automobile is about to grind you into a fine
paste. You invoke your luck, the gm re-rolls and this time
the vehicle is just slow enough for you to fling yourself
aside at the last moment!

Keen Senses*

Martial Artist

(Minor/Major Good Trait)

(Major Good Trait)

The character is very aware of their surroundings, whether


they have a keen eye for detail and noticing when something is wrong, or a nose for a particular scent, they are
particularly perceptive and this is always a good thing
when tracking a foe or expecting trouble.

Youve got a black belt in one or more martial arts. You


can kick ass with the best of them.

Indomitable
(Major Good Trait)
The character has a determination and an iron will.

Effects: The Keen Senses Trait awards a +2 bonus to Awareness rolls. As a Minor Trait the player should specify which
of the characters senses is particularly keen. In this case
the bonus only applies to the use of that one sense, whether
it is sight, hearing, sense of smell or taste. Only one sense
can be chosen - more than one, and its the Major Trait.
As a Major Trait, the +2 bonus applies in any instance
when using Awareness to notice or spot something, no
matter what sense is being used.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Impaired Senses Bad Trait
in the same sense, although different ones can be taken.
For example, you could have Keen vision, but be slightly
hard of hearing.

Linguist*
(Minor Good Trait)
Characters with this Trait have a talent for language and
communication. This may be due to education, a natural
affinity or just the result of a life of travel and adventure.

Effects: Youve got to have a Fighting score of 3 or more,


and take an Area of Expertise in a martial art before you
can buy this trait. You inflict +2 damage when you punch
or kick someone, and you can use your Coordination instead
of your Strength score to work out your unarmed damage.

Minions*
(Major Good Trait)
Youve got henchmen! You command a squad of loyal soldiers, or have a staff, or even a number of cloned minions.
Effect: Pick the sort of minions you want (soldiers, scientists, researchers, workers) when you take this trait. If
you take the trait multiple times, you can choose to have
multiple different types of minions, or at the gms discretion you could have a higher quality of minion. These
minions will follow your orders and perform tasks for you.
Youre the one in charge, though you cant send minions
off to do the adventuring and investigating for you. Theyre
best suited to guarding key locations, doing background
research, or standing around looking menacing.
Minions have 25 character points to buy Attributes, Skills
and Traits per level of the Trait assigned to them.

Effect: Characters with this Trait know two languages in


addition to their native language. This Trait can be taken
multiple times, bestowing two additional languages to
the character each time.

If one or two of your Minions get killed, youll be able to


pick up replacements before the next adventure. If all your
Minions get killed because of a bad decision you made,
then you dont get replacements.

A character with this Trait can also understand a new language by spending a Story Point and succeeding on a Ingenuity + Knowledge roll (Difficulty set by the gm based on
the languages similarity to those known by the character).

(Theres also a Group Trait that gives Minions. Those


Minions work the same way, but theyre not personally
loyal to you.)
49

Pulp Fantastic
Never Gives Up
(Major Good Trait)

SETUP

Youve got true grit. When the chips are down and it seems
like all hope is lost, you somehow keep going.

(Minor or Major Good Trait)

Similarly, if you want to remember something that you


havent actively committed to memory, theres a chance it
may be stored in there somewhere along with last weeks
shopping list or the phone number of that sassy waitress
from the diner down the street. To recall something vital
that you may have glanced at or possibly missed altogether, you can spend a Story Point to remember the important
clue you may have seen out of the corner of your eye.

Someone owes you a favor.

Note: Cannot be taken with the Forgetful Bad Trait.

Effect: As a Minor Trait, this means they owe you a small


favor a few thousand dollars, an introduction to someone
important, a loan of their car when you need it. You can
get help from the person who owes you the favor a few
times before its repaid. Alternatively, you can turn the
Minor Favor into another Minor Trait as repayment in the
course of play.

Psychic Training

Effect: You arent knocked out or incapacitated when one of


your Attributes reaches zero. You can still act with one or two
Attributes at zero, but youll be groggy and slow. If three Attributes are reduced to zero, then youre probably going to die.

Owed Favor*

The Major Trait version means someone owes you their


life, their health, their career or something equally important. This means that theyll always be willing to do
you minor favors in return, for the rest of their life. Alternatively, you can call in your big favor to get something
equally important in exchange, turning it into another
Major Trait in the course of play. For example, if you save
a millionaires life, shed owe you a big favor. You could
then trade this favor for the Wealthy Major Good Trait.

Pet*
(Minor or Major Good Trait)
Youve got a trained pet!
Effect: This trait gives you a faithful, loyal animal companion. At the Minor level you have a small, harmless
creature like a trained rat that isnt much good in a fight,
but it could distract a bad guy at the right moment, squeak
a warning or track a mobster. At the Major level your pet
could be a bigger creature a guard dog, a war horse, a
mountain gorilla that can attack people on command
or carry a rider. The downside of a big pet is that its hard
to bring it with you to most places. Few restaurants admit
wolfhounds, let alone great apes.

Photographic Memory
(Major Good Trait)
With just a few seconds of concentration, the character
can commit something to memory to be instantly recalled
when the time is important. People with the Photographic Memory Trait rarely have problems passing exams, and
can remember exact lines from books.
Effect: The Photographic Memory Trait can be used in a
couple of different ways. If you know youre going to have
to remember something at a later time, such as the combination to a lock or the instructions to program a calculating engine, you can spend a moment to take the infor50

mation in and commit it to memory. If you want to recall


the information, you can without having to roll, but you
must have declared that youve taken the time to concentrate and remember it at the time.

(Minor Good Trait)


The technique allows the character to resist psychic manipulation or trickery.
Effect: The character has a +2 bonus to Resolve rolls when
trying to resist psychic attack or deception.

Quick Reflexes
(Major Good Trait)
Youre fast to act when things happen, reacting to situations
almost instinctively. It doesnt mean you cannot be surprised - if you dont know somethings coming you cant
react to it - but when something attacks or falls towards
you, youre often the first to react to it.
Effects: Your Co-Ordination counts as being two higher
for the purposes of working out who goes first. Better yet,
if you spend a Story Point, you can act as though you were
a Fast creature for one round.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Slow Reflexes Bad Trait.

Resourceful Pockets
(Minor Good Trait)
Theres a chance that youve got something useful on your
person that could get you out of a sticky situation.
Effect: Either spend a Story Point and find the thing you
need or roll two dice. If you get a double then you find
something helpful.

Rumor Mill
(Minor Good Trait)
Youve got your ear to the grapevine, or youve got contacts
in the media, or you spend all your time eavesdropping
on shady conversations in criminal hangouts. Either way,
when something odd happens, you hear about it.
Effects: With this trait, you can get a hint once per adventure, as if youd spent a Story Point for help from the
gm (see page 137). This hint comes from the press and
your knowledge of the weird, so it may only be indirectly
helpful. The gm may also give you plot hooks and rumors
that you pick up from your contacts.

Genesis
Sense of Direction
(Minor Good Trait)
You always know which way is north, even without a
compass. You rarely get lost.
Effects: You get a +2 bonus to any rolls (usually Awareness,
Ingenuity or Survival) related to finding your way in unfamiliar terrain.

Sharpshooter
(Minor Good Trait)
If youve got time to line up a shot, you make it count.
Effects: You can make an extra Aiming action, as per the
rules on page 124. So, if you aim for two rounds and fire
on the third round, you get to add the bonuses from both
your Aiming actions to your shot.

Super Amalgamated
(Minor Good Trait)
You read a lot, and have a tendency to use large words.
You live by the philosophy of why use a fifty cent word,
when a two-dollar word will do. In the event of your reading
you pick up several tidbits of information, about subjects
across the boardfrom Archeology to Law.
Effects: This Trait gives the character a +2 bonus to any
roll (usually Intelligence and Knowledge) to determine
the result of any Knowledge roll.

The Minor version of Tough reduces the amount of damage


that would normally be deducted from the characters
Attributes by 2. Having Major Toughness reduces damage
by 3. This is after any other effects, such as armor, are
taken into account.

Tracker
(Minor Good Trait)
Youre accomplished at following animal tracks and surviving outdoors.
Effects: This Trait gives you a +2 bonus to any rolls to
follow tracks and animal trails.

Voice of Authority
(Minor Good Trait)

Effect: This is a Minor Trait and provides you with a +2


bonus to Presence and Convince rolls to try to get people
to do as you like or to gain their trust. The Gamemaster
may modify this to suit the situation.

Wealthy

Technically Adept

(Minor or Major Good Trait)

(Minor Good Trait)

Put simply, youve got money.

You have an innate connection to technology, and technology is your friend. Your guesses usually turn out to be
correct and you can fix things just by hitting them! Youre
skilled enough to operate and repair most things with
limited tools, taking half the time it normally takes. Often,
if the device stopped working within thirty minutes, you
can restart it just by thumping it. It may not last long, but
long enough

Effects: The Minor version of this trait just means youre


comfortably wealthy youve got a nicer place to live, a
flash car, an expensive wristwatch and so on. You can pick
up Uncommon items without any problems.

Effect: The Technically Adept Trait provides you with +2


to any Technology roll to fix a broken or faulty device, and
to use complex gadgets or equipment. It also gives you a
bonus of +1 Progress every time you roll to build a new
gadget (see page 159).
Note: Cannot be taken with the Technically Inept Bad Trait.

Tough
(Minor or Major Good Trait)
Not everyone can take a punch on the nose and brush it off as
if nothing had happened. Few people can take getting shot or
stabbed, tortured or wounded in the course of their everyday
lives. However, people with the Tough Trait are just that. Theyre
used to the adventure, can takes the knocks and brush it off.
Effect: The Tough Trait reduces the amount of injury a character sustains if wounded during the course of the adventure.

When you talk, people listen to you. It may be because you


were once part of the services or a figure of authority - a doctor,
a politician, a military commander or in the police force for
example. Thanks to this, people will pay more attention to you
when you talk to them. This is especially handy when youre
trying to clear an area because of some approaching danger,
to order people about or simply try to gain their trust.

The Major version means youre stinking rich. You never


need to worry about money for most activities, can buy Rare
items, and can throw huge bribes around by spending Story
Points. This trait works like the Wealthy Base Trait.
Note: This trait cannot be taken with the Impoverished Trait.

Weapons Encyclopedia
(Minor Good Trait)
A character has the ability to recall the vital statistics and
important quirks of practically all known commercially
available weapons. This includes, but is not limited to, its
general level of reliability as well as all vital statistics
material composition, ammunition capacity, caliber, possible outfitted accessories, etc.
Effect: Weapons Encyclopedia also includes knowledge
on acquiring weapons, so characters will have a +2 to any
checks needed to determine the weapon type, locate or
buy weapons.

Weird Tech*
51

Pulp Fantastic
(Minor or Major Good Trait)

SETUP

Youve found a piece of working weird technology, either


from the arsenal of a mad genius, the depths of a ruined
temple or from some other obscure source.
Effects: Consult with the gm about what sort of weird
technology youve found. Something thats basically the
same as a present-day device, only smaller and more efficient (like a miniature calculating engine, a ring-mounted gas gun or a jet-turbine you can wear on your back) is
a Minor Trait. An item that does something thats impossible, like a matter transmitter or a pocket watch that stops
time, is a Major item. This trait means you just possess
the item it doesnt mean you know exactly how to control
it or how it works.

Well Traveled*
(Minor Good Trait)
The character is an experienced traveler and is familiar
with the society and technology of cultures different to
their own. The Well Traveled Trait reflects how much
actual traveling the character has done.
Effect: Select the general area to which the character has
traveled (Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, etc). The
character has a +2 bonus to any knowledge rolls involving
this area. The Gamemaster may award this Trait during
play if you become particularly familiar with a certain
area, era or Tech Level.

Effect: As a Minor Bad Trait, Amnesia means that the


character has lost a portion of their memory. It could be
as small as a couple of days, weeks or even a couple of
years, but the character (and the player) will have no idea
of what happened to them in that time.
As a Major Bad Trait, this Amnesia is total, the character
having no memory of their past, or even who they really
are. Events, sights, sounds or even smells can trigger
memories of their lost time, and this is a great source of
adventure ideas for the Gamemaster - over many adventures the character can uncover more and more of their
lost time. Of course, this adds to the work the Gamemaster has to do, coming up with the characters lost memories,
so the Amnesia Trait should be approved by the Gamemaster before purchasing it.

Animal Lover
(Minor Bad Trait)
You cant stand to see animals hurt.

Bad Traits

Effect: If you do nothing when an animal is being injured


or in pain, you lose Story Points. How many is up to the
gm. If attacked by an animal you can still fight back to
save your life, or the lives of innocents, but you must always
try to find non-harmful solutions first.

Adversary*

By the Book

(Minor/Major Bad Trait)

(Minor Bad Trait)

Youve got an enemy either a single resourceful individual, like Herr Doktor Todeskopf, or a whole organization
like the Tong of the Black Scorpion. Your enemy is actively trying to thwart your plans or even kill you. This time,
its personal.

You follow the rules, even when its against your best interest.

Effect: Adversary can be a Minor or a Major Bad Trait


depending upon the power and frequency of the Adversarys appearance. Todeskopf on his own would be a
Minor enemy he can cause trouble, but hes just one
mad old man and isnt that dangerous. Todeskopf with
the backing of his army of Radium Men would definitely count as Major.
If you take this Bad Trait, youre basically putting a big
Kick Me sign on your character. The gm is encouraged
to go out of his way to have your Adversary cause trouble
for you. They know who you are, they know your weaknesses, and they know how to hurt you.

Amnesia
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Memory is a fragile thing that can easily be manipulated
or lost entirely. The Amnesia Trait means that some or
even all of the characters memories have gone. This could
be a deliberate thing, with the memories being erased by
52

those with the proper technology, or accidental, but the


memories are gone and the character has holes in their
past. They may return in time, with the right triggers, but
for the time being there are holes in their past that they
know nothing about.

Effect: You follow proper protocols at all times. This has


good and bad points on the plus side, youve got a +2
bonus to Resolve rolls to resist influences that might distract you from your duties. The downside is that youre a
stickler for following written instructions and official
policy if you disobey the orders of a superior officer,
breach the rules of your organization, or even skip the
boring paperwork, it costs you Story Points.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Maverick Bad Trait.

Clumsy
(Minor Bad Trait)
Sometimes, it seems as if youre unable to keep hold of
things and you keep tripping over the smallest hazard.
Effect: In times of stress, especially when being chased,
youll have to make additional Awareness and Coordination rolls to avoid knocking vital things over, dropping
the vial of toxic chemicals or tripping up and landing on
their face when being chased by villains.

Genesis
Code of Conduct

Dependents

(Minor or Major Bad Trait)

(Minor or Major Bad Trait)

The Code of Conduct Trait means that your character


adheres to a strict moral standing or self imposed set of
rules they follow at all times. While this is listed as a Bad
Trait, it doesnt mean that having a Code is Bad; just that
it can restrict your actions and limit your choices. Being
a good person is often the harder option, but it means
youre a better person for it.

Youve got responsibilities outside the fight for truth and


justice, or youre trying to maintain a normal life despite
the weirdness and secret conspiracies you continually
stumble into. Maybe youve got a boyfriend or girlfriend
who doesnt know your secret identity, or maybe youve
even got kids or an aged parent to take care of.

Effect: As a Minor Trait, Code of Conduct means that the


character tries to do good at most times, and are unable
to harm another being unless it is absolutely necessary
and for the greater good.
As a Major Trait, their code of limits their actions dramatically, meaning they strive to do their best at every moment,
almost verging on the saintly!
The player should discuss the characters own unique Code
of Conduct with the Gamemaster when they take this Trait,
as breaking it may be very costly resulting in the loss of
some or all of their Story Points! It is usually not this
drastic, but breaking a serious Code of Conduct is not
something to be done lightly and players who purchase
the Trait and then do not adhere to it will have to learn
their costly mistake.

Cowardly
(Minor Bad Trait)
Running away is an instinctive response for you. When
danger threatens, you head for the hills!
Effect: The Cowardly Trait reduces the characters chance
to resist getting scared, suffering a -2 penalty to any Resolve
rolls against fear.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Brave Good Trait.

Dark Secret
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Youve got a skeleton in your closet and if its revealed it
could change the way people think about you.

Effect: As a Minor Trait, your dependent shows up once


every few stories, and youve got to take steps to protect
them or conceal the truth from them. A little-seen fiancee
in another state is a Minor Dependent; by contrast, a nosy
kid-brother could cause enough bother to be a Major
Dependent. Major Dependents get themselves into trouble
regularly, or force you to take constant precautions to
preserve your secrets.

Dependency
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Sometimes you just rely on others. Having the Dependency Trait means they are dependent upon something or
someone to survive. The level of the trait determines how
desperate they will get, and how bad the effects will be, if
they cant get their fix. Dependency is a Bad Trait and gives
the character more points at character creation, but players
should be careful not to take such a high Dependency that
their character becomes too difficult to play.
Effect: As a Minor Bad Trait, the Dependency isnt too
debilitating. They can go for extended periods without
their needs getting in the way. If the Gamemaster decides
its appropriate, the character may suffer a -2 penalty to
their actions. However, as a Major Trait, they are unable
to survive without their dependency. If they go without it
for any period of time (defined by the Gamemaster and
the player) they suffer a -4 penalty to every action. This
could be because theyre unable to think of anything else,
or because theyre unable to act properly without help.

Distinctive
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)

Effect: Dark Secret can be either a Minor or a Major Bad


Trait, depending upon the severity of the reaction should
the secret be revealed. Something that would negatively
affect peoples relations with you is only a Minor trait (for
example, you had an affair with a notorious femme fatale),
but something that would completely change your status
in the game is Major (say, if it was discovered that you were
still seeing the femme fatale and passing her information
about the group, or perhaps that you and the femme fatale
have a child).

There is something very striking or obvious about the


character that makes them stand out in the crowd. Whether
they are just tall, short, have colored hair, bronze skin or
are just striking in their appearance, they get noticed and
people seem to remember them. Maybe they have a memorable habit; perhaps they constantly play with a lucky
coin, or make a peculiar trilling sound when concentrating. Theyre not going to provoke people pointing and
staring, but theyll certainly be remembered and recognized if encountered again.

Its probably best for the player to discuss what the Dark
Secret actually is with the Gamemaster, possibly before
they start creating their character, just so the player really
does have to keep the secret from the other players they
may not want to write it on the character sheet, so they
cant look at it and see what theyve been hiding!

Effect: If the character is trying to blend in or go unnoticed in a crowd, if a roll is required they will receive a -2
penalty to the result. Its also easier for other people to
remember them after the event.
With the Major version of this Trait the character isnt just
memorable, but is famous and is recognizable even to
53

Pulp Fantastic
people who have only heard of him or her. Their whereabouts are regularly covered by the press and they receive
a -4 penalty to attempts to go unnoticed.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Face in the Crowd Trait.

Dogsbody

SETUP

(Minor Bad Trait)


Youre at the bottom of the totem pole. You might be
low-ranking in your organization or just eternally unlucky
when it comes to work. Every boring or menial job gets
palmed off on you. Youre always the one mucking out the
yeti cage, and yetis smell bad!
Effect: You have a -2 penalty to any attempts to order
people around in your organization. Youll also always be
given the worst jobs.
Note: You can get this Trait temporarily as a punishment
for disobedience or screwing up.

Doomed
(Major Bad Trait)
All things end, but some Pulp heroes know that it is going
to end badly

(Minor or Major Bad Trait)


Youve got baggage of some sort that may complicate your
life. Maybe you bear a grudge against someone. Maybe
you suffer from depression. Maybe youre secretly in love
with another player character. Whatever your emotional
complication is, its hard to ignore feelings when theyre
this strong.
Effect: As a Minor Trait, your emotions get in the way but
dont stop you doing your job. Every so often, you have to
deal with issues arising from them (or pay a Story Point
to override your emotional drives).
As a Major Trait, then the emotion dominates your life. It
consumes you, fills you, and may be your downfall. You cant
act rationally when something triggers your complication.

Forgetful
(Minor Bad Trait)
Rather than the lack of memory that Amnesia brings,
Forgetful means that your memory is less than reliable.
You tend to forget things if youre distracted or focused
elsewhere, like the classic absent-minded professor.

Effect: In some way, your characters end is sealed. It may


be the result of a terminal diagnosis, a terrible curse, some
form of hereditary affliction or the result of an inescapable
prophecy, but your character has a limited shelf-life and
time is running out. The nature of the Doom that awaits
the character should be worked out broadly with the Gamemaster, and can be invoked at any time.

Effect: When youve got to recall something important,


like how to disarm a bomb, youve got to pay a Story Point
to remember it in time.

Note: This Trait is better suited for barbarian warriors,


jungle kings, mystics and other fantastical characters.
gms who invoke a characters Doom should take care to
ensure that it is never meaningless (unless that is in itself
the meaning of the Doom). Players who take this Bad Trait
are signing the ultimate death warrant for their character,
but should gain role-playing opportunities as a result.

(Minor Bad Trait)

Eccentric

Effect: Firstly, any attempts to use Subterfuge to hide from


predators suffer a -2 penalty if they can smell you. Secondly, given a choice, any hungry flesh-eater is going to
snack on you instead of anyone else nearby. In a bar fight,
youre the first one to get punched. Youre always target
number one.

(Minor or Major Bad Trait)


Youre just a bit odd. Your personality is off-putting or
strange, and that can make you hard to work with.
Effect: The Minor version of this trait means youve got
an oddity that crops up every so often you get tongue-tied
around women, you refuse to get mud on your shoes even
when chasing a gangster through a swamp, you hum loudly
when nervous. Its inconvenient or annoying, but doesnt
happen often.
The Major version means that your eccentricity interferes
with your life on a regular basis you might be extremely paranoid, insufferably rude, addicted to alcohol, or have
some other trait that puts you at odds with everyone else.
Maybe youre just a jerk.

54

Emotional Complication

Note: Cannot be taken with the Photographic Memory


Trait.

Fresh Meat
Something about you smells good to meat-eating predators, thugs and things that bite. Lions, tigers, bears, sharks,
piranhas, wolves, yetis and dinosaurs all want to eat you.
Mosquitoes swarm around you. Bullies and thugs just
want to beat the tar out of you. Even carnivorous plants
think youre delicious.

Good Samaritan
(Minor Bad Trait)
You cant stand to see people hurt, oppressed or mistreated.
Effects: If you stand by and do nothing when someone is
being injured or in pain, you lose Story Points. The number
of Story Points is up to the gm.

Genesis
Hell on Wheels

Insatiable Curiosity

(Minor Bad Trait)

(Minor Bad Trait)

Youre hard on vehicles. Things break around you.

A little like the Impulsive Trait, this really just means that
the character doesnt know when to stop themselves when
it comes to their curiosity. This is a good Trait for newshounds, cops and other professional busybodies.

Effect: Vehicles tend to crash, explode or break down


around you. If youre in a vehicle thats hit by another,
crashes into an obstacle, or is involved in a failed skill check,
the vehicle is more likely to break down, run out of fuel,
smash a key component or otherwise become unusable.
The exact effects of this trait are decided on a case-by-case
basis by the gm, but get used to walking home.

Impaired Senses*
(Minor/Major Bad Trait)

Effect: This is another Minor Bad Trait that rewards


playing in character and remembering your curious
nature. It is usually unhelpful, but you simply have to
know where or what is going on, why something is happening or how it works. It may put your life at risk, but
it doesnt make you suicidal. You just take a few chances
to find things out.

The Impaired Senses Trait means that the character is


lacking in one of their senses. Whether this is the need for
glasses, a hearing aid or being color blind, their use of the
sense is less than your average person. When selecting this
Trait, the player should choose which sense is affected.

Maverick

Effect: Discussing with the Gamemaster, the player should


choose which sense is effected, as well as the severity of
the impairment. Minor Bad Traits would be: no sense of
smell, colorblind, no sense of taste, needing to wear glasses
or needing a hearing aid. Without their glasses or hearing
aid, Awareness rolls using these senses suffer a -2 penalty.

Effect: Again, this Bad Trait affects your behavior. If youre


told to do things one way by a superior, you instinctively
want to do the opposite. Youve got to pay a story point to
resist the compulsion to disobey orders even when its in
your best interest to comply.

Major Bad Traits would be losing a sense that impacts on


their everyday actions, such as blindness or deafness.
Though this may make difficult to get involved in major
action scenes and may be best suited for NPCs, or experienced players.
Note: Cannot be taken with with Keen Senses, unless the
Keen Sense is Minor and then in a Sense that isnt Impaired.

Impoverished
(Minor Bad Trait)
Youre strapped for cash. Either youre unemployed or
underpaid, or youve got debts, or maybe you just waste
your money on slow horses.
Effect: Youve got very little money. You may be living in
poverty, or sleeping on a friends couch. If you spend more
than a trivial money during the game, it costs you a Story
Point. For example, you can buy a cup of coffee without
any problem, but hiring that boat to chase after a kidnapper? Thatll cost a Story Point.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Wealthy Trait.

Impulsive
(Minor Bad Trait)
Why worry, itll be fine, lets go! The impulsive sort do
not think things through very well before acting and are
likely to leap before they look. It doesnt mean they have
a death wish, far from it, its just that they do things on a
whim and usually regret it.
Effect: If an opportunity arises to charge in without
looking, and you dont take it, it costs you a Story Point.

(Minor Bad Trait)


Youve got a problem with authority. Anyone ordering you
around puts your hackles up.

Obligation
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Youve got a duty to an organization, or a debt to a friend,
or a sense of responsibility towards a cause. Whatever the
nature of the obligation, it affects you deeply.
Effect: As a Minor Trait, Obligation means you have a
regular job, or are obliged to help a friend when they need
it. It wont affect your ability to run around chasing bad
guys that often, but conflicts will crop up every few weeks.
Failing to honor your obligation costs you a story point
As a Major Trait, Obligation means the organization is
more important than the character, or you owe your life
to someone. If the other person says jump, you jump.
Breaking this obligation will cost you dearly.

Obsession
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Your obsession consumes your life. It could be as small as
a compulsion for cleanliness, order or justice, or it could
be as grand as an insane scheme to wipe out humankind
by igniting the atmosphere and then reseeding the Earth
with your private menagerie of improved plant and
animal species. Either way, it drives everything you do.
Effect: As a Minor Bad Trait, it means youve got a compulsion of some sort, a nervous habit or obsessive tic like
always washing your hands or always worrying about
disease or demanding that you be the driver of any vehicle
you travel in. Its annoying, but not especially hard to
handle. The gm might demand a Story Point off you if
youre forced to overcome your compulsion.
55

Pulp Fantastic
As a Major Trait, your obsession drives everything you do.
Youve a +2 to Resolve for any skill rolls related to accomplishing your obsession, but you find it hard to do anything
that doesnt further your crazy goal. This trait is really
only suitable for NPCs and villains.

Outcast

SETUP

(Minor Bad Trait)


The character has done something that means that a group,
race, or nation has shunned them or views them with fear,
dread or loathing.
Effect: The player should discuss with the Gamemaster
what the character has done and who regards them with
such dislike or dismissal. Anyone that could react negatively to their presence should make an Awareness and
Ingenuity roll initially to recognize them. If the character
is recognized, theyll suffer a -2 penalty on all social rolls
(such as trying to Convince or to even share their knowledge). If the something theyve done is more severe than
this, they should take a Major Dark Secret Bad Trait instead.

Owes Favor
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
You owe someone a favor. It can be as simple as owing money
to someone, or as big as owing someone your life. You want
to repay the favor, but that may not be as easy as it sounds.

(Minor Bad)
You are a racial minority in the country where you normally reside. This causes you several inconveniences, and
you likely face daily discrimination, from jobs to housing,
from shopping to transportation.
Effect: You receive a 2 to all social interactions with
people of the majority race, except when dealing with
particularly enlightened people (GMs discretion). You
may also be completely barred from access to certain locations, and the legal system may not work in your favor.

Slow Reflexes
(Major Bad Trait)
Some people are incredibly quick when it comes to reacting to a situation. You can throw a ball at them when
theyre not looking and theyll notice at the last minute
spinning around and catching the ball. People with the
Slow Reflexes Trait are not these kinds of people. You can
throw a ball at their face and itll hit them in the forehead
before they have chance to put their hands up to catch it.
Effect: You act as a Slow creature in combat, which means
everyone else gets to go first.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Quick Reflexes Good Trait.

Effect: As a Minor Trait, you only owe a relatively small


favor you might do something small every so often for
whomever youre indebted to, like lending them money
or helping them out when theyre in trouble.

Slow Runner

As a Major Trait, you owe someone a lot. They have a huge


hold over you, and it is impossible for you to say no to
whatever they ask of you. As long as this favor hangs over
you, youll never be free.

Effect: Reduces your speed by 1 when running. You cant


take this Trait if your Coordination is already only 1, or if
youve got the Fast Runner trait.

If you pay off the favor without buying off this Trait with
Experience Points, then you should replace it with another
Bad Trait. For example, you might pay off a Major Favor
by agreeing to be a double agent, replacing Owes Favor
with Dark Secret.

Phobia*
(Minor Bad Trait)
Some people just dont like spiders. Others, its cats. Or
snakes, or heights, or darkness, or sharks chewing your
leg off. Having a Phobia Trait means that there is something (that the player will define, usually with the Gamemasters help) that they are afraid of.
Effect: Youve a -2 penalty to Resolve checks to resist fear
when you encounter your phobia. Youve got to roll even
when the object of the phobia isnt a real threat to you
anyone would have to roll against fear when they meet a
scorpion, but if youve got a phobia of insects, youve also
got to roll when you spot a harmless beetle crawling up
your leg.

56

Racial Minority

(Minor Bad Trait)


People dont have to outrun the bad guy. They just have to
outrun you.

Strange Visitor
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Maybe you grew up in the jungles of the African Congo,
or on an isolated plateau populated with dinosaurs, or in
a vast cavern beneath the Earths crust colonized by the
last survivors of fabled Mu. Maybe youre from another
time, or another world entirely. Whatever your origin,
youre not from around here. Youre a strange visitor in a
different world to the one you knew.
Effect: As a Minor Trait, you come from some other
country or province with a very different culture, but not
too alien. Your Skills are unaffected by these differences,
but its unnerving and you occasionally run into more
changes that you werent expecting.
The Major version of the Trait is only available with the
gms permission; wherever you come from, its a very
different place. You suffer a -2 penalty to any rolls dependent on familiarity with modern day cultures and technologies, and this penalty may be increased when trying
to do anything dependent on advanced scientific knowledge or specialist training at the gms discretion.

Genesis
Technically Inept
(Minor Bad Trait)
Technology is the wonder of the age, but it is not your
friend. Either youre very unfamiliar with the workings of
modern technology, or you are just extremely unlucky
when it comes to gadgets and gizmos, but either way, you
have trouble using any complex equipment.
Effect: Youve a -2 penalty to any Technology-based rolls.
Furthermore, you have to spend a Story Point if youre trying
to do anything beyond the most basic operation of a technological device for example, you could poke around and
maybe roll to turn on a generator, but youve got to pay a
Story Point levy to do anything more complex than just
hitting the power switch and hoping the lights come on.

Unattractive
(Minor Bad Trait)
Youre not necessarily ugly or hideous, butwell, youre
not going to be winning any personality or beauty contests
anytime soon. Youre just unappealing.
Effect: The Unattractive Trait comes into play whenever
the character is doing something that their looks can influence. As a Bad Trait, the character will get a -2 penalty
to any rolls that involve their less-than-good look
Note: Cannot be taken with the Attractive Good Trait.

Unlucky
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
Lucks not on your side. Whenever things can go wrong
for you, they do.
Effect: As a Minor Trait, youre just unlucky. Whenever
you succeed really well by rolling double-six on the dice,
youve got to roll them again and take the second result.
As a Major Trait, youre really unlucky. Normally, when
the gm does something unexpectedly nasty to your character, hes obliged to recompense you with a Story Point
or two but this doesnt apply to you. The gm gets to
torment you for free.

Weakness*
(Minor or Major Bad Trait)
The character has a weakness; something that can either
cause him harm where it would not hurt other characters,
or causes aggravated damage where it might not be as
severe for someone else. It may be an allergic reactions to
certain foods or pollens, an intolerance to certain kinds
of medication, a tendency to cave in to certain kinds of
arguments or persuasion, or a vulnerability to the radiations of certain green glowing rocks from space.
Effect: Agree on chosen weakness with the player. As a
Minor Bad Trait, the character gets -2 to all rolls when the
Gamemaster decides the weakness applies. When the
character encounters the thing that affects them, any rolls
suffer a -2 penalty.

Weakness as a Major Trait is best suited for villains and


creatures who need a definite exploitable weakness to
give the characters a chance against them. When the
weakness is affected it inflicts 4 levels of damage, reducing
their Attributes (see Injuries, on p.128).
Note: This cannot be taken with the Immunity Trait if
both cover the same substance.

Special Traits
Experienced*
(Special Good Trait)
In return for additional Character Points, the character
will have fewer Story Points. This reduction in Story Points
not only applies at character creation, it also reduces the
number of Story Points your character can carry over
between adventures.

Effect: Experienced is a Special Trait that costs Story


Points rather than Character Points. The Story Points spent
to purchase this Trait reduce the maximum Story Point
pool for the character. Experienced costs 3 Story Points to
purchase, and provides the character with an additional
4 Character points.
This Trait can be purchased additional times for more
experienced characters, though no character can have
zero Story Points. Thats far too dangerous!
Not every character should be as experienced as this, and
their lower Story Points should help to balance the character with their less experienced companions.

Fast Healer
(See Fast Healer Good Trait, p.49)

Inexperienced*
(Special Bad Trait)
The character is inexperienced.
Effect: Costs 2 Character Points and 2 Skill Points. In return,
the characters maximum Story Point pool is increased by 3.
This Trait can be purchased additional times for less and
less experienced characters, though this will have to be
approved by the Gamemaster. If, however, through experience during the game the characters Skills and total
Character Points increase to compensate for the cost and
reduction from this Trait, the characters maximum Story
Points are reduced to the normal level.

Machine Man
(Special Good Trait)
In years to come, the character would be referred to as a
cyborg, but in the Pulp era, hes a Machine Man. A character with this Trait has some mechanical body parts.
Effect: Costs either 1 or 3 Character Points. At the lowest
level, the mechanical prostheses of the character are
obvious but possibly concealable.
57

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

At the higher level, the mechanical elements are completely disguised under artificial, but fairly realistic
looking, skin. The Machine Man Trait allows the character
to have a permanent Invention (which must be purchased
separately) that will not run out of power or get lost (see
Inventions, on p.159). Whole body mechanical replacements are not really suitable for a player character in the
game, except at the Gamemasters discretion.
Note: Cannot be taken with the Robot Trait.

More Than Human


(Special Good Trait)
The character is something truly special. Perhaps theyre
the direct descendant of a Greek god, or a bizarre animal/
human hybrid, or were raised by scientists to be the next
stage of human development. Perhaps theyre from
another world, or are a modern homunculus, rescued from
a glass tube found in the lair of a mad scientist. Whatever
their origin, the character is not quite human, and may
be quite a bit more.
Effect: The More Than Human Trait is a Gateway, opening
a selection of additional Creature Traits that are normally
unavailable to player characters and allowing Attributes over
level 6. It is a Good Trait, and costs just 2 Character Points to
purchase. The Gamemaster should approve this Trait.
Unless the character has the Strange Appearance Trait,
they look pretty much the same as everyone else on Earth.
As a downside, if it is discovered that they are special, they
may suffer severe consequences (such as being captured
by the government and experimented upon, ostracised
by the Church or pursued forever-more by the press).
Note: The More Than Human Trait is only required when
creating player characters. Non-human NPCs and creatures do not require this Trait.

Psychic
(Special Good Trait)
There are times when you need to discover what is really
going on in someones mind. Psychic is a Special Good
Trait, costing 2 points to purchase (or 1 point if the character already has the Psychic Training Trait). The Gamemaster should approve selection of this Trait.
Effect: Make a Resolve and Awareness roll to try and see
into the targets mind. The target must be within visual
range (with the naked eye). The Trait provides the character with a +4 bonus on the roll. However, the target, if they
are unwilling, can resist such a mental intrusion with a
Resolve and Ingenuity roll. Both sides can spend Story
Points if theyre concentrating intently. Psychic also gives
a +4 bonus when the character attempts to resist having
their mind read, or even to resist getting possessed.
The Psychic Trait is a Gateway, opening a selection of
additional Psychic Traits (see page 62) to the character
that are otherwise only available to villains and creatures.

58

Robot
(Special Good Trait)
Characters built with the Robot Trait arent human.
Though self-aware robots were rare in the Pulp Era, they
were not unheard of. No longer the mindless automata of
the Victorian Age, robots came to represent the fear that
we would be overwhelmed by technology. Though villainous robots were numerous, constructed by mad geniuses
or sent from outer space, but heroic robots like Adam Link
did exist.
Instead of flesh and bone they are made of steel, wires and
valves, and instead of an organic brain their mind is made
of circuitry and sparks. When a robot takes a physical injury,
it loses Attributes just like a person, though it will not heal
itself over time either itself or another suitably skilled
technician will need to conduct repairs (using Ingenuity
and Technology), with a level of injury repaired equal to the
level of success. Robots normally learn over time, and can
increase their mental Skills just as a human, however physical Skills and Attributes will require some form of re-fit to
take into account the increased ability. Of course, in most
cases, a robot does have the disadvantage of standing out
in a crowd and scaring primitive civilisations! The Robot
Trait also acts as a Gateway, like the More Than Human
Trait, allowing the character to purchase Invention Traits.
These are Traits normally used only in Inventions (see Inventions, p.159). Gadget abilities such as Forcefield or Scan,
can be built into the robot character!
Effect: Robot is a Special Good Trait that costs 2 points as
a robot of normal appearance that is, they look like a
Pulp Era robot; boxy, metallic and very obviously non-organic. At this level the Trait includes the effects of the
Strange Appearance Trait.
The Trait can be purchased at a higher level, costing 4 points,
that means externally you look convincingly human most
of the time people will assume you are human unless youre
injured or display inhuman abilities. Robot also means that
you do not die from old age (though your power supply may
need replacing), you can raise your Attributes over level 6
and can purchase Gadget Traits. A robot character can be
killed and repaired, returning to full operational level,
though if the damage is severe enough (such as being
crushed flat or dropped into a furnace or molten metal) the
robot is unlikely to be salvageable.

Team Player
(Special Good Trait)
You work best as part of a team.
Effect: This is a special good trait costing 3 Story Points.
It gives an extra Group Point to be spent on Group Traits
(see page 66). You may only take the Trait once per player
character.

Genesis
Unusual Background
(Special Good Trait)
You were raised by apes or wolves, born into a noble family
or something equally amazing and interesting.
Effect: For the cost of 3 Story Points a character can gain
a Major and a Minor Good Trait that doesnt affect your
character building costs.

HEY, WHERES THE MAGIC TRAIT?


So, youre asking where the Magic Trait is? Short answer:
There isnt one.
A slightly longer answer is that magic-wielding heroes arent
really in keeping with the spirit of the Pulps. Though there
were arcane heroes in the pulps, for the most part they used
psychic powers. The Pulp Era is an age dominated by science
and the promise of the future it could bring. Magic and the
supernatural, if it exists at all in your campaign world, is a
power that thrives on darkness, ignorance and fear everything that the heroes stand against.
If you really want to include magic in a Pulp Fantastic campaign, it should be rare, dangerous and unpredictable. One
option more in keeping with the Pulps is that preferred by
pulp author H.P. Lovecraft, who posited in his stories that
what we think of as magic is in fact the imperfectly understood remnants of extra-dimensional alien super-science,
passed down through the ages couched in terms of myth
and superstition.

Psychic Traits
Heroes and villains with the strange powers of the mind
are a staple of the Pulp genre. The radio version of the
Shadow, Chandu the Mystic, the Green Llama and others
all used mesmerism, telepathy and other forms of psychic
mastery to further the cause of justice.

Astral Travel
(Major Good Psychic Trait)
The character has the ability to separate their astral body
(their soul, spirit or consciousness) from their physical
body and travel far beyond their physical limits. While
astrally traveling, the characters body remains in a comatose state and is utterly defenseless.
The characters astral body appears to be ethereal and
insubstantial, and is shaped by the characters self-image.
Characters with low self-esteem might appear shrunken
and ugly, while noble or heroic characters might appear
as beautiful, idealized versions of themselves. Particularly cruel or villainous characters might even appear as
horrific monsters or demons.
Effect: The character must spend a Story Point in order
to use this Trait. The maximum duration of the characters

astral voyage is equal to their Resolve in hours. While


traveling, the characters physical body is completely comatose and cannot move, act or respond to stimuli in any
way. If the physical body dies while the character is astrally projecting, the character must either find a new body
to inhabit or fade away in a number of hours equal to half
the characters Resolve.
Astral characters gain the Immaterial Trait for the duration
of the astral voyage. While they can perceive the physical
world they are generally unaffected by it. While astral they
do not need to eat, sleep or breathe, and can pass through
non-living matter as if it were smoke. Astral characters
can move instantaneously to any location they are personally familiar with by spending a Story Point, or can
drift at a speed equal to three times their Resolve in feet.

Clairvoyance

(Special Good Psychic Trait)


The ability to see distant locations through intense concentration as if they were actually there.
Effect: The character can see into other locations without
actually being there or having to rely on technology. It will
cost a Story Point to activate this ability and the range is
limited to the characters Resolve the higher their Resolve,
the further away they can see (see table below).
RESOLVE DURATION

RANGE

The briefest flash

Adjacent room, up to 15ft away

A few seconds

Up to 30ft away

30 Seconds

Up to 650ft away

A minute

Up to half a mile away

3 Minutes

Up to 6 miles away

5 Minutes

Up to 62 miles away

10 Minutes

Up to 310 miles away

20 Minutes

Up to 621 miles away

9+

30 Minutes

Anywhere on the planet!

Often these visions will be flashes or mere glimpses into


another place, but with practice, concentration and a high
Resolve, the experience can be prolonged and immersive.
Clairvoyance uses the characters innate abilities, rather
than a Skill, so Awareness and Resolve are used to view
distant locations. People at the spied location with psychic
training can sense they are being watched or observed
and may try to resist. Clairvoyance is a Special Trait, requiring the character already have the Psychic Trait. Clairvoyance costs 2 points.

Cloud Mens Minds


(Major Good Psychic Trait)
Characters with this ability can psychically or hypnotically cloud the perceptions of an observer so they cannot be
seen. This is not invisibility, but the ability to create and
occupy a personal blind spot. Provided the character does
not do anything to attract attention, they can pass unseen,
59

Pulp Fantastic

SETUP

undetected by all except animals and mechanical or electrical means of detection (photo-electric cells, pressure
sensors and the like). Characters cloaked in this fashion
can till be photographed and captured on film.
Effect: The character is effectively invisible and cannot
be seen by other intelligent beings without a resisted
Resolve and Awareness roll (against the Resolve and
Awareness of the unseen character, though the character
gains a +2 bonus on this roll). This roll can only be made
if it is suspected the character is present. The Trait also
prevents the detection of minor movement noise, but not
speech or particularly loud and noticeable sounds. The
characters footsteps on carpet or tile will not be noticed,
but their crunching across broken glass probably will, and
their voice definitely will.

Empathic Aura
(Minor Good Psychic Trait)
With the Aura Trait, the character gives off a strange feeling
that affects those near to it. Unlike the Fear Factor Trait,
the feeling is not always that of danger. The aura could be
a feeling of peace and calm, used as a defence, or perhaps
to lull people into a false sense of security.
Effect: The Empathic Aura Trait is a Minor Good Trait
that costs 1 point and effects the feelings of people in the
near vicinity. The actual effects should be defined at creation of the alien. Multiple effects can be employed but
the Trait will have to be purchased multiple times, one for
each effect. The character can choose whether or not to
engage the Aura. When active, the Aura reaches to everyone within normal senses range (sight, smell or hearing).
Anyone who could be affected will have to make a resisted Resolve and Strength roll (against the Resolve and
Strength of the character producing the aura, though the
character gains a +2 bonus on this roll). If the target fails
the roll, they immediately feel the effects of the aura,
becoming calm, frightened, sleepy, hungry, in awe or in
love, or whatever emotion the characters aura produces.
They will not be able to resist again until they leave the
area of effect (where the effect usually wears off instantly)
or unless they spend a Story Point.

Enlightened
(Special Good Psychic Trait)
The character - whether through mystical training, intense
meditation or just a finely balanced sense of justice - has
experienced the clarity and the wonder that is an awareness of a greater truth. Enlightened is a Special Good Trait,
costing 1 point to purchase.
Effect: Gives the character an innate ability to sense when
something is amiss or unnatural and what needs to be
done to set the world right. They may not know exactly
what it is, but theyll know something isnt right.
The character will sense something wrong with an Awareness and Ingenuity roll with a +2 bonus the more successful it is, the more likely they are to know what is wrong
and how to start to fix it.
60

Possess
(Special Good Psychic Trait)
This is technically the highest possible level of the Hypnosis Trait (see p.50). Possess allows the character to take
over another person and control their actions. While
controlling the host body, the character can make it do or
say almost anything (though they cannot make the host
kill themselves, the survival instinct is too strong for even
that). Possessing someone is an exhausting affair, and if
the character has a normal body that it has left behind
somewhere, it will need protecting (and may die of starvation if theyre out of their body too long).
Effect: This Trait is not recommended for player characters. Just as the Hypnosis Trait, the target will have the
opportunity to resist becoming possessed (with a Resolve
and Strength roll, or Ingenuity in some cases). The possessing character receives a +4 bonus on their first roll to
possess someone, though if they fail this every attempt
that follows loses this bonus. As a good guide, the possessing character can inhabit the body for as many hours
as they have Resolve, though very powerful villains could
inhabit a body indefinitely. If they force the host to do
something very against their nature (such as attack one
of their friends) they will have a chance to resist (and on
a Fantastic result, the possessing character may be rejected from the host completely!). For additional information,
see Being Possessed on p.133.

Precognition
(Special Good Psychic Trait)
Some people have the ability to see the future.
Effect: Costs 1 point to purchase and can only by taken
by characters already with the Psychic Trait. The Gamemaster will give the character flashes of information that
may help or encourage them to pursue a particular course
of action to aid the adventure. If the player wants the
character to actively try to sense what is to come, they
should spend a Story Point, and the Gamemaster will
supply as much useful information is they see fit (without
ruining the story!).
Exactly how seeing the future works may vary from Gamemaster to Gamemaster, but we recommend that Precognition allows the character to see what would have taken
place if he had not gained an insight into the future, allowing the possibility that his prescience will allow him
to change events to come.

Telekinesis
(Special Good Psychic Trait)
Telekinesis, sometimes called psychokinesis, is the power
to move something with thought alone. Telekinesis is a
Special Trait that costs 2 points to purchase, and should
only be picked with the approval of the Gamemaster. Also,
they can only purchase this Trait if they already have the
Psychic Trait (see p.52).
Effect: The Telekinesis Trait has a strength equal to the

Genesis
CREATING A CHARACTER: EXAMPLE
Lets create a new character for Pulp Fantastic. Were playing in the Two-Fisted Action Tales! campaign framework. The players
agree that all the characters are working for the magazine. Theyre a bunch of second-rate adventurers and rogues, down on their
luck and offered a chance at some great PR and maybe the chance to become real heroes by the publisher. So, our sample
character is going to be the sort of person who would fit right into this slightly shabby band.
So, whos our character? The idea of a news hound appeals. Maybe J. Montgomery Cruickshank III has sent his daughters favorite
up and coming journalist along to chronicle the adventures of his comrades, and incidentally keep him where he can cause the least
trouble! Maybe each adventure is a chapter in his (possibly posthumous) memoirs!
Weve got 42 Character Points to spend, starting with the AttributesStrength, Coordination, Awareness, Ingenuity, Resolve and
Presence. Were limited to a maximum of spending 24 points on Attributes. The rest of the group are rough, tough sinewy types,
so itd be nice to have a character who is a contrast to that. Our news hound is going to be clever and quick, both physically and
mentally (4 in Coordination and 5 in Ingenuity). Unlike his comrades hes not particularly muscular or athletic (2 in Strength), but
hes gutsy and determined (4 in Resolve). A reporter needs to be observant (4 in Awareness), but not stand out too much (3 in
Presence). Thats 22 points spent on Attributes, leaving us with 20 Character Points.
So, our roving reporter (lets call him Jake for now) has the following Attributes; Awareness 4, Coordination 4, Ingenuity 5, Presence
3, Resolve 4, Strength 2. Hes not very strong, but what he lacks in brawn, he certainly makes up for in brains and moves.

Skills come next, but we take a quick peek at Traits first, to make sure we have enough points for any important ones. Empathic
sounds appropriate, as does Photographic Memory and maybe Face in the Crowd. Or Attractive, if the publishers daughter thinks
hes cute. Anyway, keeping 6 points or so for Good Traits sounds like a plan. Lets spend 14 points on Skills and see how far that gets
us. If we run out of points, we can always take some more Bad Traits or become Experienced.
So, lets look at the Skills. Convince is a must; 4 points in there. Another 4 in Knowledge; Jakes a smart young man. Thats 8 points
so far. His job entails a little sneaking around, so lets put 2 points in Subterfuge. Hes a writer, and a good one at that, so well put
3 points in Craft and spend a further 1 to give him the Writing Area of Expertise. 1 point each in Technology and Transport make
sense, for 16. Really, though, we have to put some points in Fighting just so hes not totally defenseless2 points at least. That eats
into the points weve put aside for Good Traits, so well definitely have to take some Bad Traits to compensate. Thats 18 points
spent on Skills.
Back to Traits. Well take Empathic (Minor) and Face in the Crowd (Minor), costing us 2 points. Well also give him Attractive (Minor)
and Fast Runner (Minor), as hes not a fighter, for another 2. While were at it, lets give him Friends (Minor) to represent his Press
contacts and Lucky (Minor)...because hes probably going to need it!
Weve spent a total of 22+18+6=46 Character Points, out of our budget of 42! We need to take at least 4 points worth of Bad Traits
to compensate.
Jakes a reporter, so lets give him Obligation (Major) to his bossthis sets up a conflict of loyalties between the group and the
publisher that could be really fun to play! Finally, lets take another two Minor Bad Traits, like Insatiable Curiosity and Dependent.
Maybe the publishers daughter doesnt want to stay home when her dear, brave Jake is traveling the world!
Next, Story Points. A starting character normally has 12 Story Points.
We also need to work out his Trappings. The notable ones are his high Convince, which gives him a steamer trunk full of dapper
clothing, and his knowledge of 4; Jakes a reader and accumulates books wherever he goes. His Craft skill means he has his own
typewriter and transcribing pads.
Thats more than enough to get playing. We can fill in more about Jakes personality and background during the game!

characters Resolve. They are lifting an item with the power


of their mind, and use their Resolve in exactly the same way
as theyd use their Strength for physically lifting an object.
For example, if the character has Resolve 1, they can lift
something with their Telekinesis as if they were physically lifting it with a Strength of 1. The only difference is,
theyre not using their hands theyre using their mind.
To actually use the ability, a roll is necessary. There is no
Skill for Telekinesis, it relies entirely on the characters
innate ability, so uses Ingenuity and Resolve.

RESOLVE

RANGE

Touch only

Line of Sight

Adjacent Room

Adjacent Building

Within the same city / area

Within the same country

Anywhere on the same planet

Within the planets system

9+

Across the Universe!

61

Pulp Fantastic
Telepathy

SETUP

(Special Good Psychic Trait)


Telepathy is the ability to communicate with others through
the power of the mind. Telepaths can project their thoughts
directly into someone elses head and theyll hear it as if
theyre speaking to them. Usually, the person isnt too far
away, but if the characters Resolve is high, they could
communicate to someone up to half a mile away or even
further. Very handy if youre a prisoner somewhere and
need to call for help!
Once a link has been established, they can hold a short
conversation as long as they are not distracted or under
stress. The moment they are distracted (for example being
surprised by a loud noise or a sudden attack) the link is
lost and the character will have to try again at a calmer
moment when they can concentrate.
Telepathy is a Special Trait and costs 1 point to purchase.
Approval from the Gamemaster will be required before selecting this Trait. In addition to this, the character must also
have the Psychic Trait before they can purchase Telepathy.
Effect: Telepathy uses the characters innate abilities,
rather than any Skill, so Ingenuity and Resolve are used
for the roll to establish communication. If the target
doesnt want to be contacted, they can resist with a similar
roll. The distance over which the character can communicate with the Telepathy Trait depends upon their Resolve.

Story Points
You start the game with 12 Story Points.
Thats also your maximum number of Story Points at the
start of each adventure. If you end an adventure with more
or fewer than 12, you reset back to 12. (Unless, of course,
you took the Experienced Trait, in which case youve got
9 or 6 Story Points instead of 12, and reset back to your
lower limit after each adventure).
Story Points are very, very useful things. You can spend
them to:
Get extra dice to roll for a critical test
Boost your level of success, or reduce your level of failure
Ignore the effects of damage
Activate certain traits
Pay off the cost of ignoring other traits
Get a clue when youre stuck
Give them to other player characters
or even tweak the events of the story.
The rules for Story Points are on pages 135-137. For now, youll
need a way of keeping track of your Story Points. Tokens or
glass beads work best, but you can just use dice or coins, or
just write your total down on your character sheet.

62

Finishing Touches
Youre nearly done with your character just a few finishing touches to go.

Name
Whats your characters name? Do people commonly
address him by his first name, or his last one? Or does he
go by a title or a nickname?

Background
Think about how your characters Skills and Traits fit together. Where did you pick up all those ranks in Fighting?
If youve got the Brave trait, what brave things have you
done in the past? Do you have any family?
You dont need to come up with a full biography at this
point, but do come up with a little background for your
character. If you can drop in some plot hooks (like, say, a
missing sibling, a family secret, or a burning ambition) so
much the better. Is there anything he regrets in his past?
Are there big decisions that could have gone another way?

Connections
How do you know the other characters? What brought
you into their world? Why do you do what you do? Are
you motivated by tragedy, inspiration, obligation or
revenge? Were you recruited, or did you blunder in? Who
do you trust? Whos your best friend in the group? Who
do you always find yourself disagreeing with?

Appearance
What does your character look like? How does he dress, what
sort of accent does he have? Does he have any quirks or mannerisms? Empty his pockets what does he keep in there?
Whod play your character in the movie of your game?
Playing with a dream cast list is a good way to pin down
your characters appearance and demeanor.

Equipment
Note down any trappings you get from your skills, as well
as any other equipment your character might reasonably
carry with him. Have a think about where your character
lives. Describe his home.

Personal Goals
What does your character want right now? What does he
need? What is he searching for? Whats his big problem?
In short, what will push him into the adventure?

Groups & Bases


Doc Savage had the 86th Floor of the Empire State Building
and his arctic Fortress of Solitude whats your groups
center of operations? Are you working out of a custom-built
secret fortress filled with technological wonders, or are you
hunting criminals from the sub-basement of an abandoned

Genesis
theater? Do you belong to a government institution, a secret
military unit, or are you just a gang of amateur investigators
whove discovered the thrill of fighting evildoers?
Just like characters, Groups and Bases have Traits. All the
players have to decide collectively what Group & Base
Traits to buy. You start with Three Good Traits and One
Bad Trait.. You can get extra Group Points by taking Bad
Group Traits (or with the Team Player Good Trait).

Story Point Traits


Some of these Group Traits say this trait gives 3 Story
Points that can only be spent on some particular type
of skill check. These points can be spent by anyone in the
organization, including non-player characters.

GOOD GROUP TRAITS

BAD GROUP TRAITS

Advanced Technology*

Boss from Hell

Armory

Code

Archives

Criminal

Computing Power

Dangerous Experiments

Considerate Superiors

Dark Secret

Fortified

Demands Results

Holding Cells

Harsh Conditions

Laboratory

Isolated

Landing Facility*

Traitor

Lockdown

Unreliable Resource*

Medic

Underfunded

Minions*

Wandering Civilians

Mobile base
Official Sanction
Secret Base
Secure Base
Training
Troops*

Armory
Youve got an arsenal of weapons and other equipment. If
you need a dart gun, or a sniper rifle, or a steel cable capable
of restraining an angry rhino, then you can just get it from
your handy armory. Your armory might be an actual armory
room, with lockers full of weapons, or it might be a cellar
full of black-market weapons and old military-surplus gear,
but either way, youve got the firepower.
Effect: You can get any Common or Uncommon Weapons,
Armor or other equipment you need without any problems, and can spend a Story Point to obtain any Rare items
you need from the Armory.

Archives
Youve got records and files going back years. You might
have a really extensive library, or access to government
files, or maybe your organization has just been around for
a very long time. Either way, youve got information at
your fingertips.
Effect: This Trait provides 3 Story Points every game
session that can only be spent on research and related
activities. You could spend the Story Points to get extra
dice to succeed at a really difficult Knowledge roll, or spend
them to declare youve got a copy of some vital document
or map in the archives.

Computing Power
Youve got access to a powerful calculating engine.
Effect: This Trait provides 3 Story Points every game
session that can only be spent on Technology-related rolls
and related activities, like performing some complex calculations to solve a problem.

Considerate Superiors
Your boss in the organization (if you have one) cares for you
and the other members of the group. Hell go out of his way
to make your life easier and give you every possible support
on the mission, and hell forgive you if things go wrong.
Effect: The Gamemaster should try to play the characters
superior as considerate, thoughtful and inspiring.

Vehicle Pool

Note: You cant take the Boss from Hell Bad Trait if you
have Considerate Superiors.

Wealthy

Fortified

Good Group Traits


Advanced Technology
Your group has access to high technology and unusual
gadgets related to its purpose.
Effect: Discuss with the gm what sort of Advanced Technology the base has. Youve got two options either its a 1
point Invention that everyone in the team is assigned (one
per person), or a 4-point Invention thats built into the base.
Note: You can take this Trait more than once. Each time,
it gives you a different form of advanced technology.

This place is tough the walls are made of reinforced


concrete, the doors are forged from a hardened steel, and
the whole base is surrounded by fences and defensive
earthworks. Taking it wont be easy.
Effect: Your base gives a +6 bonus to Defense when its
directly attacked.

Holding Cells
Youve got the facilities to hold prisoners. Having Holding
Cells means that any prisoners youve captured are certain
not to break free. In fact, your cells may even come with
a few inmates captured in previous adventures
63

SETUP

Pulp Fantastic
Effect: Any captured prisoners cannot escape without
outside help (or really cunning plans not even a sturdy
holding cell can hold an Evil Mastermind for long)

Minions

Laboratory

Effect: This trait works just like the Personal Good Trait,
Minions (see page 51). You pick the type of Minions when
you take this trait, and you can take different kinds of
Minions each time.

Your base is equipped with a laboratory and research staff.


These backroom boys arent any good in a fight, but they
can analyze samples, identify toxins, find cures to diseases and provide other such technical support.
Effect: This Trait provides 3 Story Points every game
session that can only be spent on Science-related rolls and
related activities, like analyzing biological materials or
building inventions.

Landing Facilities*
The base has an airstrip or a Zeppelin dock and a hangar
containing either a few auto-gyros or biplanes.
Effect: The base has landing facilities and a number of
aircraft. Pick one sort of aircraft:

Auto-gyros
Small planes
Zeppelins
Armed Biplanes

Note: You can take this Trait more than once; each time
you take it, pick another kind of aircraft.

Lockdown
Your base has an emergency lockdown procedure. Pulling
a lever drops heavy doors throughout the base, sealing it
off from the outside world. Nothing, not even bacteria,
can escape from a locked-down base.
Effect: If lockdown is activated, nothing can escape the
base using conventional means. Lockdown also means
that the base has its own internal air supply, which can
come in handy if the Death Dragons minions are attempting another gas attack.

Medic
Youve got a state-of-the-art infirmary (or maybe just a
friendly doctor whos really good at first aid), letting you
bounce back quickly from injuries.
Effect: This Trait provides 3 Story Points every game
session that can only be spent on Medicine-related rolls
and related activities. You can also spend these Story Points
to restore Attribute points lost by damage each point
spent restores half the lost points (rounding up). The player
can decide how these points are allocated between the
damaged Attributes.

Menagerie
You have a large holding facility for keeping exotic creatures.
Effect: You can safely store creatures that you are unable
to return to their natural habitat. What is it with Evil
Masterminds and their venomous pets, anyway?
64

Your Group has a research staff, a security force or other


assistants.

Mobile Base
The whole base can move under its own power.
Effect: The base is a giant vehicle. Some mobile bases are
small enough to fit into the cargo hold of an aircraft. Other
bases might be on board a ship, or consist of a fleet of road
vehicles. At the top end of the scale, youve got bases like
the Zeppelin Patrols airborne Cloud Palace.

Official Sanction
Youve got the backing of the Powers That Be the government, the military, the secret service, the League of Nations,
or some other group with the authority to run around the
country investigating rumors of criminal activity, spies,
monsters, or whatever it is that your group is into.
Effect: While performing your duties, youve got the
Minor Good Trait Authority (see page 48).
Note: This Trait is incompatible with the Criminal Bad
Trait.

Secret Base
Your base is cleverly concealed from outsiders. Either it
looks like a perfectly ordinary building, is hidden underground, or is concealed by some sort of advanced camouflage or technology.
Effect: Finding the base if you do not know it is there is
almost impossible. Even if an enemy is hunting for the
base, the characters have time to prepare before they are
discovered.

Secure Base
Your base is protected by alarms, thick walls, locked doors,
barbed-wire fences and other security measures. No-ones
getting in here without you knowing about it.
Effect: Its very hard to sneak into your base. Its not impossible, but if someone gets past your security, the gm
should throw the group a Story Point each.

Training
Your base includes a gym, a firing range, and other training
facilities. Between adventures, youre busy honing your skills.
Effect: As a group, you receive 3 bonus experience points
every game session. No one character can get all three
points, but you can split the points among three different
characters, or give one character two points and another
character one point.

Genesis
Vehicle Pool
Your base has an extensive garage, and youve got access
to lots of vehicles.
Effect: You can get any Common or Uncommon Vehicles
you need automatically; you may also get the use of one
Rare Vehicle per adventure for free, and can get more with
Story Points.

Wealthy
Your group is rich or well funded. Youve all got extensive
lines of credit.
Effect: You have easy access to money. You can get any
Common items automatically, and get either six Uncommon Items or one Rare item per game session. You can
also throw money at problems by spending Story Points.
Note: You cant take the Underfunded Trait if youre Wealthy.

Bad Group Traits


Every pulp fantastic group faces terrible dangers
bloodthirsty assassins, Evil Masterminds, Mad Scientists,
spies, gangsters, Things That Should Not Be but your
group faces them with a handicap.

Boss from Hell


Your superior in the organization loathes you. He might
go out of his way to make your life hell, or keep secrets
from you, or expect the impossible from you.
Effects: Taking this Trait means you want the gm to make
your characters lives hell. (gms enjoy!)

Code
If youre working for this organization, you need to obey
a certain code of conduct. You might be part of a military
chain of command, or be bound by civil service bureaucracy. Youve got to keep to the code, or therell be trouble.
Effects: When youre working for this organization, all
characters get either the Code of Conduct or Obligation
Minor Bad Trait. If a character already has one of those
Minor Traits, it gets upgraded to a Major Trait. (On the
off-chance that youve got both Code of Conduct and Obligation as Major Traits, youve got enough trouble)

secrets. They might have once accidentally created a deadly


bacillus, drilled into the Earths core and released poisonous gas, attracted the attention of Eldritch Abominations
by reading the wrong book aloud, or accidentally created
dangerous animal-human hybrids. These experiments
can and will cause problems for your base.
Effects: Side effects of the experiments make life on the
base difficult or dangerous all the time, and sometimes
they cause added problems.

Dark Secret
Your organization has a dark secret, and you dont know
what it is.
Effect: The nature of the dark secret is up to the gm. It
could be another Bad Trait (maybe your mysterious benefactor is actually a Nazi spymaster or a notorious crime
lord, not the government, so youre actually Criminals;
maybe the organization was set up to atone for a dreadful
crime, or to correct the effects of an experiment that went
horribly wrong) or something even worse.

Demands Results
Youre expected to do the impossible every week. Youve
got to keep the underworld under control, keep the public
from finding out, and keep your superiors happy. They
demand results.
Effect: Failure isnt an option for you. Your superiors keep
interfering with your decisions and pressuring you to
come up with solutions. The gm has license to torment
your characters with micromanaging bosses who call you
up every ten minutes to shout at you about why you havent
captured the Crimson Claw yet.

Harsh Conditions
Life in this base is hard. No luxuries. No molly-coddling.
The base is cramped, cold (or hot) and unpleasant. Outside
is worse the base is located somewhere like Siberia or
the middle of the Sahara. Or maybe its on the bottom of
the sea.
Effects: Harsh Conditions has no direct game effects, but
being caught without proper survival gear can be hazardous to the characters health.

Criminal

Isolated

Your groups activities are illegal. Either youre doing something thats genuinely illegal, like smuggling fugitives
across state lines, or the government doesnt want anyone
else fighting crime. If youre caught, youll be arrested.

The base is in the middle of nowhere, miles away from


anywhere. Getting here requires a long flight or a very,
very, very long drive.

Effect: In addition to dealing with your enemies, you also


have to hide from the government.
Note: You cant have the Official Sanction Group Trait if
your organization is Criminal.

Dangerous Experiments
Your organization uses (or has used) your base for a troublesome experiment involving weird technology or arcane

Effect: It takes a very long time for help to arrive if something goes wrong. It may take days or even weeks before
anyone responds to a distress call from your base. As long
as nothing goes wrong, youll be fine

Traitor
Theres an enemy among you. Someone in the group is a
traitor, working for an opposed organization (like the
Syndicate or the Tong of the Black Scorpion) or an enemy
(Like Herr Doktor Todeskopf or the Crimson Claw).
65

Effect: The gm determines who the traitor is. It could be


your superior in the organization, or a trusted underling.
It could even be one of the player characters!

Unreliable Resource*
Some aspect of your base or group is unreliable. Perhaps
your vehicles are prone to break down, or your communications are regularly disrupted by electrical storms.
Effect: Pick one of your Good Group Traits. That Trait is
now unreliable. Sometimes, it just isnt available. For
example, youve an Unreliable Considerate Superior, then
your boss might be called away to meetings, leaving his
second-in-command in charge and the second in
command despises you. If youve an Unreliable Vehicle
Pool, then either your source of transport is unreliable
(sometimes, your pal in the military base cant get you
anything) or the vehicles themselves tend to break down.

Underfunded
Your group is chronically short of cash. You cant afford
to maintain what youve got, let alone buy new equipment.
Youve a shoestring budget.
Effect: You cant buy equipment, not even Common items,
without finding an extra source of funding. Youre poor
(at least, the organization is. Individual characters may
be wealthy, but do they want to give their money to the
group?)

Wandering Civilians
Your base is not in a secure environment. It might be
located in a very public place, or have a lot of visitors. In
an emergency, you will have to deal with numerous civilians right in the line of fire.
Effect: Any crisis or attack on the base will endanger lots
of civilians. The characters have to protect these civilians
while dealing with the bigger problem.

Chapter 3
The Pulp World Gazetteer

The Colonial World

dventurers in some countries will find themselves


dealing not with a local government, but a representative of a colonial power. Several nations (e.g. Great
Britain, Holland, Portugal, and France) had colonies
around the world. The relationship between the ruling
nation and the colony ranged from peaceful submission
to guarded acceptance to violent opposition.
A list of 1930s colonies can be found in the box on p. 70.
Each nation keeps a representative in the colony who is
responsible for its welfare. This representative (often called
a Governor-General) may have complete authority - the
ability to create or remove any laws - or he may act as a
counselor/ambassador, allowing the colony a fair amount
of political freedom.
Regardless of the authority of the representative, the ruling
nation almost always reserves the right to veto any decisions, policies and laws that the colony wishes to enact.
This rule often led to rebellion, and foreigners may find
opportunity to work for either side (though most pulp
heroes supported the colonial empires, especially Britain
and France). Rebel armies tended to be ill-led, atrocity-prone, and Communist-infiltrated. European and European-officered armies were the ultimate authority.
Service with these armies (such as the French Foreign
Legion) is a common background for pulp heroes and
villains. Colonial armies and colonial police forces also
make colorful backgrounds and adventure seeds.

Travel in the Colonies


Travel through Africa and Asia was, for the most part,
travel through European-controlled countries with European officials, courts, customs, papers and currencies. It
was possible to tour these areas and never see anyone but
Europeans (except at a distance or in subservient capacities). Americans visiting any colonial nation will usually
be dealing with its governing nation -- rarely (if ever) with
a native government.
Racial intolerance and social stigmas are rampant in these
areas and extend from European to native and vice-versa.
Discrimination is the order of the day; travel, lodging and
eating establishments use first, second and third class
accommodations to keep American and European visitors
segregated from the native patrons.

Regions of the Era


The world of the 1930s is still dominated by European
interests, though times are changing rapidly. At the beginning of the pulp era, Great Britain and France were the
dominant powers of the world. The United States, for its
part, was emerging as a potential super-power and had
gained enormous respect very quickly.
Europe, though, was beginning to lose hold of her assets.
The Great War had cost the old powers dearly, and insurgents were popping up everywhere. The times became
more and more turbulent, and a smart adventurer could
find fortune and glory just about anywhere.

The United States


America, in the 1930s, would be considered a simpler
place than it is today. The Federalism ushered in by Franklin Roosevelt and the Second World War had not yet happened. States and communities largely tended to their
own affairs.
Police power was held in the city or state police. Federal
agents were called in for the big criminals, such as the
mob, but there were only a handful of such agents, and they
were usually busy enough in the largest American cities.
Internationally, the United States did its best to distance
itself from the rest of the world. Though the States had
significant colonial interests in the Pacific, and some interventionist policies in Central America, isolationism
was exceedingly popular.

GOLD AND SILVER


After the passage of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, possession
of gold in the United States was now illegal. Citizens were
allowed to keep gold in its natural state, gold jewelry, gold
dental work or coins of numismatic interest. All other forms
of gold were to be taken to the nearest depository and exchanged for paper money. Anyone finding golden treasure
or coin should be very careful what they do with it. At any
time prior to the Gold Reserve Act, gold was worth about
$20/ounce. After that time, the legal price was fixed at $35/
ounce. Possession of silver was still legal. The traditional cost
of silver was about $1.25/ounce, but during the Depression
years it could be bought and sold for around half that. (Gold
and silver are weighed in troy ounces, each 1/12 of a pound.)

Pulp Fantastic

GAZETEER

COLONIES AROUND THE WORLD


Aden: Great Britain.

Korea: Japan.

Algeria: France.

Madagascar: France.

Angola: Portugal.

Morocco: France.

Annam: France.

Mozambique: Portugal.

Australia: Great Britain.

New Guinea: The Netherlands and Australia.

Bechuanaland: Great Britain.

New Zealand: Great Britain.

Belgian Congo: Belgium.

Nigeria: Great Britain.

Bissao: Portugal.

Nyasaland: Great Britain.

Borneo: The Netherlands.

Palestine: Great Britain.

British Guiana: Great Britain.

Philippine Islands: United States.

Burma: Great Britain.

Puerto Rico: United States.

Cambodia: France.

Rhodesia: Great Britain.

Cameroon: France.

Sardinia: Italy.

Celebis: The Netherlands.

Sicily: Italy.

Ceylon: Great Britain.

Sierre Leone: Great Britain.

Cyprus: Great Britain.

Somaliland: Italy, Great Britain and France (separate regions).

Dahomy: France.

Sudan (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan): Great Britain/Egypt.

Dominion of Canada: Great Britain.

Sumatra: The Netherlands.

Egypt: Great Britain.

Syria: France.

Federated Malay States: Great Britain.

Tanganyika Territory: Great Britain.

Formosa: Japan.

Trans-Jordan: Great Britain.

French Equatorial Africa: France.

Uganda: Great Britain.

French Guiana: France.

Union of South Africa: Great Britain.

Gambia: Great Britain.

West Africa: France.

Gold Coast: Great Britain.

Zanzibar: Great Britain.

Greenland: Denmark.
Hawaii (Sandwich Islands): United States.
India: Great Britain.
Iraq: Great Britain.
Jamaica: Great Britain.
Java: The Netherlands.
Kenya: Great Britain.
This wasnt entirely unjustified. Though America emerged
as a potential super-power with the closing of the Great
War, Europe seemed more resentful than thankful of
American interference, refusing to pay debts, and often
belittling the United States pivotal role in ending the Great
War. Most Americans simply considered the rest of the
world not worth worrying about. An attitude that helped
keep the United States from entering the ill-fated League
of Nations.
On the other hand, having apparently beaten Europe at
its own game, Americans had seemed to many to become
swaggeringly arrogant, a not-entirely inaccurate perception that endures nearly a century later.

68

England and Europe


Great Britain
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, during
the time of Victoria, consisted of four different and
interdependent countries. Wales, by far the most
subjugated of the lot, was the center for the mining of
iron and coal. Ireland, the center of unrest in the Empire,
was fighting for independence and freedom from
repressive absentee landlords. Scotland, the center of
philosophy and science, flourished in its Union with
England more than it ever could as a free state. England,
the true center and heart of the British Empire, was the

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THE BRITISH EMPIRE

Republicans, and the general citizenry of France clash and


work together in alteration, much to the confusion of all.

The sun never sets on the British Empire was more than a
clich. British colonies, possessions and self-governing dominions circled the world. Britain controlled most of Africa,
large parts of Asia and Oceania and a substantial fraction of
North America and the Caribbean. Even South America (Guiana
and the Falkland Islands) and Europe (Gibraltar) had land
under the Union Jack.

Following all that come the Third Republic. This era


sees great urbanization, industrialization, and economic growth unheard of before in France. Many wonders
and innovations come from France at this time, which
were highlighted in the Exposition Universelle of 1889.
There the people of the world came to marvel at the
recreation of the Bastille, and the wondrous tower
created by Gustave Eiffel.

jewel of the Empire. England was for many the height of


fashion, style, and culture.

The French colonial system suffered greatly during the


turmoil in France itself, but it was still quite diverse. Most
of North, West, and Central Africa were under French
control, with the protectorate of Tunisia as one of the
centers of power. Morocco, Algeria, French Somoliland,
and French West Africa, were all under French control. In
the South Pacific, France established joint control with
Great Britain of the New Hebrides. Also in the region,
France wielded control ofNew Caledonia and various
island groups which made up French Polynesia. French
colonies even existed in the Far East in French Indochina
and a French concession in Shanghai. France's influence
in the Western Hemisphere was also quite broad. Their
support of the reign of Maximilian in Mexico leads to great
turmoil in a country already fraught with political problems. In the South American colony of French Guiana was
the notorious penal colony le du Diable, or Devil's Island,
the most feared prison in the entire French domain.

If one does not live in London, one simply does not live,
was how any true Englishman felt. London was the social,
political, and moral center of the Empire. The home of the
English Parliament, the West End theater district, the
British Museum, and a host of gentlemans clubs to meet
any mans tastes, London truly seemed to be the center of
the universe.
Great Britain brought the train to the world, making many
places accessible that were truly out of touch with the time.
Scottish inventors and doctors managed to bring civilization
to the world, improving the quality of life everywhere. Great
Britain was the epicenter of the Industrial Revolution, which
brought about the development of steam powered railways,
ships, electrical power generation, and machinery meant
to make life easier.
For two hundred years, Great Britain had been the
dominant force in the world. The Great War changed that,
and had been a humiliating experience. Colonies broke
away, and even Ireland had achieved its independence.
Britain could no longer be complacent.

Throughout the varied and diverse French colonial system


one could be assured of one constant: the French Foreign
Legion. This near legendary military unit is the source of

The Great War had hurt British pride substantially. By the


1930s, Parliament had fallen under control of a disturbing
type of isolationism. Many believed the lesson of the Great
War was that peace was desirable at any cost.
This policy of appeasement was designed to keep the beast
at bay, though many worried that this policy only
encouraged Britains enemies to even more audacious
demands. Divisions between the hawks and doves in
Parliament were exceptionally bitter.
Despite this conflict, the Empire was still a powerful force
with colonies and governance over much of the world.
Africa, Asia, and even pieces of the Americas and Europe
had fealty to the Union Jack. Truly, the sun will never
completely set on the British Empire.

France
France can really be seen as the land of anarchy and change
during the 1800s. Throughout the stable reign of Queen
Elizabeth in England, France sees the rise and fall of King
Louis Philippe and the Bourbon Restoration; the rise and
fall of the French Second Republic; the reign of Louis
Napoleon Bonaparte, first as President for Life and later
as Emperor Napoleon III; and the beginnings of the long
standing French Third Republic. Royalists, anarchists,
69

Pulp Fantastic
many stories, a grand mixture of myth, hard fact, and
mystery that garners respect no matter where they go.

war saw Spain lose the majority of her colonies, including


Cuba and the Philippines.

France had been devastated by the Great War, and was


struggling to recover. The Great Depression had demoralized the battered Republic. Constant effort had to be
placed on maintaining Frances empire.

Spain suffered through the depression as did any other


nation, but political unrest would plague the democracy
of the nation through the middle 1930s. Communist,
Fascist, and even religious uprisings occurred sporadically throughout the era as each group promised a return to
better times and citing the elected governments as failures.

The French Empire remained present in Africa, Asia, the


Pacific, and a bit still in the Americas. It was maintained
with a web of governmental control, military power, and
a substantial dose of espionage.
France had begun to rearm itself, though it was heavily
reliant on expatriates serving as mercenaries, irregulars,
or within the Foreign Legion. A large number of these
were Americans, aiding a loyal ally against Communist
and Fascist insurgencies.
The emphasis on espionage within the French government
had one major drawback. Corruption took hard root within
all echelons of the government. Illicit deals were not uncommon, particularly in the Empires overseas holdings.
At this time, even weakened, France has had many decades
of relative stability compared to many times in French
history.

GAZETEER

Spain
Once a major power in world politics, by the mid-1800s
Spain was but a hollow shell of its former self. Queen Isabella II, who was crowned at the age of 3, was not popular
among the people of Spain, who felt that she was easily
influenced by those around her and did not care for her
people. The turmoil within her court led to revolts among
the far flung Spanish colonies. Her attempts to unify her
country only served to alienate her even more. Under great
pressure from forces both political and military, Queen
Isabella II went into exile in France in 1868, leaving the
country in chaos. After two years of unsuccessful rule by a
coalition government, it was decided that Spain would have
a new king, from a new line, and a search was made to find
a king that would satisfy the government. King Amadeo I
was crowned in 1870. He swore to uphold Spain's constitution, and with great ambition began his reign. King Amadeo
had to deal with the unstable political atmosphere in Spain,
constant attempts at assassinations, and a revolution in
Cuba, among many other problems. After two years, faced
with reigning without popular support, King Amadeo abdicated. That same day, the first Spanish Republic was born.
This lasted for another two years, during which a great deal
of turmoil and unrest ruled the country. Since none of the
political parties wished the return of Isabella, they pronounced her son Alphonso as King.
Alphonso XII was a young and inexperienced king, but
he ruled with natural tact and grace, and the people of
Spain grew to love and respect him. His rule saw the
country rise up from plagues of cholera, devastating earthquakes, and the stabilization of the rule of Spain. After
his death in 1885 his son, ruling as Alphonso XIII, dealt
with a humiliating defeat by the United States in the Spanish-American War. Agreements signed after this six-month
70

The situation took a more dramatic downturn in 1936 as


General Francisco led an uprising that turned into a full
scale civil war. The two largest camps, the Communist
Republicans, and the Fascist Nationalists, vied for control
of the nations. Russia and Germany took the obvious sides,
but most of Europe wanted no part in the conflict, fearing
that the violence would spread throughout Europe.

Italy
At the beginning of the 1800s, the Italian peninsula was
a fractured political landscape. Various principalities,
grand duchies, and the Papal States made the area look
more like a puzzle than at any other time since the fall of
Rome. After the Crimean War, King Victor Emmanuel II
of Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia, managed to unite the
many fractured states into the Kingdom of Italy. He was
crowned King of Italy in 1861. The beginning of his reign
was full of turmoil, but this all ended when his forces
entered Rome in 1871, and all of Italy was under one king.
The remainder of his reign was quite peaceful, and many
visitors came to admire the aged splendor of the Italian
cities. King Victor Emmanuel II died in 1878, succeeded
by his son Umberto I.
King Umberto was deeply despised by the left-wing political circles, and suffered several assassination attempts.
Alliances with former enemies Austria-Hungary and
Germany did not gain him favor at home, and his attempts
at imperial colonization in northern Africa, and the disastrous massacre in Milan, made the reign of Umberto a
troubled one. By the end of the pulp fantastic Era,
the atmosphere in Italy was volatile, and it is only a matter
of time before one the many attempts on King Umberto's
life succeeds.
During the 1930s, Italy was becoming a power once more.
Mussolini's Fascism had taken the nation forward, becoming a strong military power and a leader in science and
technology. It had appeared to many that Italy would be
a strong power for the next few decades.
Italy itself, however, was far from unified under their
leader. Communists, other fascists, nationalists, and other
groups were demanding their share of power. The old
troubles of the mafia still remained. By the mid 1930s,
Italy had been notably outstripped in pace by the Germans.
Early on, Italy had not sided with Germany, even deploying troops against Hitler to warn against the annexation
of Austria. However, once Italy invaded Abyssinia, Italy
found itself short of friends. This lead Mussolini to take a
more firm alliance with Germany, even aiding the Nazis
in the Spanish Civil War.

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Portugal
Once a mighty colonial empire known for its explorers,
by the mid-19th century Portugal had become almost a
footnote in European history. The War of the Two Brothers,
also known as the Portuguese Civil War, dominated the
lives of all of Portugal from 1828 to 1834. With this upheaval came a breakdown of the fragile civil and social improvements that had started to bring Portugal into the
modern era. Queen Maria II made great strides in the effort
of restoring her country to its role as a dominant force in
European affairs by her policies of improving medical and
education standards in the country. Queen Maria, often
referred to as "The Good Mother", raised her large royal
brood to work hard to improve the nation and its people.
In 1853, following her death, that task fell to her son King
Pedro V.
Among the many improvements during the reign of
Pedro I were advances in the field of public medicine.
Cholera was a persistent plague upon Portugal, causing
the economy to fall even further behind the rest of Europe
as their population dwindled. The "Curse of Portugal"
even touched the royal family, killing King Pedro, his
brother Ferdinand, and a number of other members of
the royal family. This sudden and tragic loss isolated the
country, causing domestic stagnation which seemed to
have forever locked Portugal into its role as second class
citizen of Europe. Following a Democratic Revolution in
1910 Portugal has seen continued progress, along with
civil and military unrest. Time will tell what will happen
to this nation.

Switzerland

spread all over the world, becoming a welcome site in


times of strife and disaster.
Since the middle 1900s Switzerland has maintained a
strict neutrality, making it an excellent place for business
and for meetings needing to be kept from prying eyes or
governments.

Austria
The Empire of Austria, founded in the early 1800s, was
created on the heels of the abolition of the Holy Roman
Empire. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the wake of
the defeat of his military coalition against Napoleon, was
forced to dissolve the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, but
prior to that in 1804 he declared his personal holdings to
be the Empire of Austria. This allowed him to retain rule
over this smaller realm after the dissolution of the Holy
Roman Empire. Emperor Francis I, a greatly suspicious
man, set up a vast network of spies, censors, and secret
police. This vast network of informants was used throughout his reign to keep the emperor informed about the
actions of many people he did not trust, including his own
brothers.

The Emperor's death in 1835 was sudden and greatly


mourned. His funeral was a spectacle unto itself, with
people filing past his casket for three days. His successor,
Emperor Ferdinand I, was an epileptic, and most considered him to be not terribly intelligent. Emperor Ferdinand
I had a mostly uneventful reign, with the government run
mostly by his regents. In 1848 revolutionaries took over
the empire, entered the emperor's palace, and convinced
him to abdicate in favor of his nephew Franz Joseph.

During the era of Napoleon, Switzerland was occupied by


forces from Russian and Austria during their battles with
France. After Swiss autonomy was restored in 1815 the
country suffered a period of political and civil unrest,
which culminated in a month long civil war in 1849. The
war produced few casualties, but made the people realize
they needed to be united and strong in order to fend off
all external troops. A federation of all the cantons of Switzerland formed a united and stable federal state, which
gave the country a level a peace not seen in most of Europe.
Since medieval times, Switzerland had been known as a
stable, safe, and private banking community.One could have
money in a private account in Switzerland, and they be
assured that nobody would be told that you had money there,
or where the money came from. The many treasures and
secrets hidden away in the vaults of Zurich and Geneva stagger
the imagination and could produce a host of adventures for
a pulp fantastic Victorian Fantasy Role Playing Game.
In 1863 in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red
Cross was founded. This humanitarian organization was
created to set guidelines for the handling of wounded
people in battles and how war casualties should be handled.
Many of the countries of Europe, and later the United
States and Brazil, accepted the guidelines, allowing more
people to survive a battle, and their care was ensured to
be complete and helpful. Over the years the Red Cross
71

Pulp Fantastic
ELEMENT X
Element X is a curious radioactive metal of extraterrestrial (and possibly extra-dimensional) origin, that is known to behave in a
number of ways contrary to the established laws of physics. Perhaps the most famous specimen of Element X is the Wold Cottage
meteor of 1795; the largest observed meteor landing in Britain. However, since Element X has been identified, traces and small
deposits of it have been discovered all over the world. Of particular interest is the relatively high quantity of Element X in the K-Pg
Boundary, the layer of sediment deposited by the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs.
The exact composition of Element X remains a mystery, and there is much debate as to whether it is an element at all. While under
normal circumstances it behaves like a stable transuranic element, it displays no radioactive decay unless placed within a mild
electrical field, whereupon it becomes a source of remarkable power. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the Element is capable
of warping probability around it in some way, making it susceptible to unusual coincidences and unlikely events.
While Element X displays no detectable radioactive decay under normal circumstances, it has been known to act as a mutagen.
Continued exposure to the element over long periods produces stable, beneficial mutations in higher organisms. Certain less reputable scientists have theorized that Element X was used in the creation of many occult artifacts - really examples of ancient
high technology and may be responsible for incidences of apparent supernatural or magical events.
In its natural form, Element X appears as a translucent green crystalline substance, similar to jade. When subjected to an electrical
field, the crystal glows faintly with a viridian luminescence. If subject to intense heat in this excited state, the crystalline element
melts, becoming a dark green vitrious material that can be cast, smelted and shaped like steel.
Conventional science has yet to fully explore the exceptional properties and structure of Element X, possibly because of its great
scarcity (in 1910 it is estimated that less than five tons exists on Earth, though this figure is later revised upward after the reported
discovery of large deposits in Berezkia), but also because of the high number of bizarre and unpleasant accidents that seem to befall
researchers involved in its study. Many scientific authorities prefer to deny the material even exists, rather than try and incorporate
its anomalous behavior into their model of the universe.

GAZETEER

SO, JUST WHAT IS ELEMENT X?


Like any good MacGuffin, its whatever the Gamemaster wants it to be. There is no game information associated with it as its
properties and effects will vary according to the needs of the plot. As a mutagen it may be responsible for the extinction of the
dinosaurs (as well as their survival in isolated parts of the globe) and the presence of psychic powers in a small percentage of the
human population. Traces of it released into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions or meteor impacts may be the cause of magical
phenomena or those brief periods when the gods seemed to have walked the Earth. Perhaps the strange skies caused by the
Tunguska Impact of 1908 were caused by Element X contamination, heralding the start of a new age of heroes and monsters.
As to where it comes from, nobody knows. It could be the radioactive remnants of a distant world, preceding the arrival of a strange
visitor with strange powers. Perhaps it is all that remains of magic in the universe, awaiting the birth of a new age of miracles. It
could be ur-stuff from the beginning of time itself, or a relic of the reality before this one. Maybe its not even matter at all, but
concentrated chunks of pure probability, falling to Earth from some higher Platonic dimension.
Whatever Element X really is, and wherever it comes from; its rare, unpredictable and in the wrong hands, very dangerous indeed.

Emperor Franz Joseph, in an attempt to increase the power


and influence of the Empire of Austria, negotiated an
agreement with the nobility of Hungary. In 1867 the Austro-Hungarian Empire was formed. While the government
and the economy both expanded and improved during
the early years of the new empire, it was also a hotbed of
anarchist activity.

72

Germany

The Empire of Austria-Hungary was a land of great prosperity, an ever increasing industrialized nation that is a
multi-cultural region of prosperity and intrigue. While the
emperors spies and secret police were ever present, so were
spies from other countries and anarchists bent on ending
the Emperor's grip of power over the vast Empire's domain.

In 1871, following their victory in the Franco-Prussian War,


the Kingdom of Prussia allied the many small German states
into a single empire, with the king of Prussia, Wilhelm I, as
Emperor. The Prime Minister of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck,
was the true force behind the unification, and as Prime
Minister and later Chancellor of the Empire, much of the
power of the empire lay in his hands. Under the hands of the
German Empire, the constituent states flourished and became
an industrial power unrivaled in Europe. The manufacturing
of steel, the exporting of coal and the industrial works of
companies such as Krupp, all resulted in the German dominance in industry in the latter part of the 1800s.

In the end of the First World War an Austrian republic was


formed, moving the nation into the modern times and away
from a monarchy. Times of change have come to the Hapsburgs
and along with the times and change, comes opportunities.

Germany was also the home of several semi-autonomous


regions, such as Bavaria, ruled by King Ludwig II until his
mysterious death in 1886 Often called "Mad King Ludwig",
he was a man of peculiar vision. He loved to build lavish

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fairy tale castles and buildings of elaborate design. Besides
his masterpiece New Hohenschwangau Castle, later
renamed Neuschwanstein Castle after his death, King
Ludwig oversaw the construction of the Winter Garden
in Munich. The garden, complete with a lake and a technologically advanced glass and steel roof design, included
a grotto, a Moorish kiosk, an Indian royal tent, an artificially illuminated rainbow and intermittent moonlight.
When the Great War ended, Germany had lost the war
that they had officially started. The other European powers
wanted their revenge, and imposed a harsh peace treaty
on Germany. The Treaty of Versailles was so harsh that
Germanys Great Depression nearly drove the nation back
to a feudal state.
This fostered the rise of radical political groups, particularly the National Socialist and Communist parties. Both
groups promised to terminate the punishing treaty and
rebuild Germany into a modern nation once more.
The National Socialist party, led by Hitler, offered these
promises without sacrificing religion or personal liberties
as the Communists demanded. Using popular sentiment,
a promise of a greater nation, and some more devious
tactics, the Nazi party had become the dominant force
within Germany by the 1930s.
At first, the Nazi party seemed like a godsend to Germany.
Austria and other lands were annexed back into the Fatherland. The Treaty of Versailles was terminated, and
Germany, under Hitlers unyielding command, became a
superpower.
But beneath the smooth skin, however, the darker heart
of Nazi Germany beats relentlessly. Jews, Gypsies, and
Blacks are being rounded up and either exported, sterilized, or exterminated in camps. The master race doctrine
has been taken to its extremes, and the new Reich now
sees itself as being the eventual rightful rulers of Europe,
if not the entire world.

Berezkia
Nestled in the heart of the Balkans is the tiny nation of
Berezkia. Alternatively conquered, fought over and ignored
by the greater powers for centuries, her people are a mishmash of ethnicities and faiths, but are staunchly proud of
their land and their history. Largely over-looked in the
19th Century, Berezkia suddenly came to prominence with
the discovery that enclosed within its borders was the
largest deposit of Element X ever recorded. By cleverly
exploiting historical treaties and alliances, the Berezkian
leadership maintained their independence while using
their new-found wealth to build up their defenses. Today
Berezkia is a fortress nation, heavily guarded by the loyal
troops of General Kazan while her neighbors look enviously on.

FORBIDDEN VALLEY
Mentioned in legend for hundreds of years but first explored
by modern man in 1904, Forbidden Valley is an anomalous
region located in the deserts of Mexico and bounded by high
rocky walls. Despite being located in an arid desert with little
water, the valley apparently maintains a Jurassic ecology
including a thriving dinosaur population. Like many anomalous regions, there appears to be only one entrance to the
valley, and attempts to locate it through other routes have
failed repeatedly. Even more curiously, a 1908 follow-up
expedition reported penetrating 12 miles into the valley and
uncovering a dense jungle before turning back in the face of
increasing losses to dinosaur predation.

ANOMALOUS REGIONS
The term anomalous region is one that is applied to geographical areas where the normal laws of nature and
sometimes physics are suspended or behave in ways contrary to the predictions of science. These regions often appear
to be in some way hidden, concealed from the rest of the
world as if existing within a fold of space and time. Normally these regions can only be accessed in a very limited and
specific way; through a certain cave, by following a concealed
valley or by navigating a specific course. Attempting to find
the region by any other way will usually fail, as if the region
only exists when accessed by the specific path. Exactly what
causes anomalous regions to exist is unknown, though it
cannot be a coincidence that these areas often contain large
deposits of Element X. Anomalous regions are often called
lost worlds after the most well-known and well-documented example; Maple White Land in Venezuela.

of action, mystery, and danger in the western lands of


the continent. With influences from all of the great and
not so great powers of Europe, North America can be a
hotbed of activity.

The United States

North America

The 19th century in the United States was a time of turmoil.


The whole century seemed to focus on the build up to and
recovery from the biggest change in American history -The Civil War. The tensions, both political and economic,
that lead up to the Civil War influence the direction of the
country throughout the early years of the 1800s. The
upheaval caused by this great conflict had repercussions
that were felt up to the dawn of the new century. It was
not, however, all doom and gloom. The Industrial
Revolution was alive and well in the United States. The
country was a land of invention, with new technology
seeming to appear every day. The westward expansion
also brought adventure and new discoveries, making the
United States a land of opportunity, a dream of people
around the world.

A land of opportunity and growth, the countries of


North America can be a focal point for adventure and
excitement. Penny-dreadfuls fill young minds with tales

The Gold Rush of 1848 brought hundreds of thousands of


people to California, with towns springing up literally
overnight. Once small communities became bustling cities
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Pulp Fantastic
full of life with the excitement of gold fever. The western
expansion brought many people to the west, not all of
them honest citizens. Card sharks, con men, snake oil
salesmen, cattle rustlers and bank robbers could all be
found scattered around the boom towns of the west.
Indians roamed, and fought for their very survival, clashing
with the teeming Americans spilling into their lands.
Rail lines slowly made their way west, crisscrossing the
newly claimed prairies. Men like John Henry helped to
build the railroad, expanding the nation and bringing the
raw materials of the west to the industrial lands of the
east. Jesse James made the railroads famous by robbing
the trains, making the lands seem wild and untamed.
Railroads were a vital link throughout the United States.
Without trains, much of the growth of western towns
would not have been possible, and the western United
States would have been a vastly different environment.
The United States is a land of unique adventure. Part
civilized nation, part savage wilderness, the country is rife
with possibility. Great thriving cities like New York, Boston,
and Baltimore provide centers of industry, intrigue, and
adventure. Booming towns like Denver and San Francisco
are full of action, danger, and adventure.

GAZETEER

Canada
The British colonies of Canada were a battleground for
the British and American governments during the War of
1812. The treaties following the war sealed a low-level
animosity between the Canadian colonies and the new
nation of the United States, slowing the migration between
the countries and increasing the American expansion to
the west. In 1867 the British North American Act took the
Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia and
formed the Dominion of Canada, the first and largest
self-governing colony of the British Empire. The majority
of Canada was a vast, forested, unexplored wilderness.The
great cattle herds of Alberta, the metropolis of Montreal,
and the growing wilderness town of Vancouver, were all
linked in 1886 with the completion of the transcontinental
railway by Canadian Pacific Railway. The opening of rail
service, and the grand hotels built along the route, sped
up the expansion of the Canadian west.
While the expansion brought more people to the towns
and cities along the rail line, it still left great swaths of the
country unexplored. Stories of Wendigo, the embodiment
of winter, isolation, and cannibalism spread throughout
the end of the 1800s. Some claim that Wendigo wander
the wildernesses of Canada, preying on hunters, trappers,
and explorers of the arctic regions. Others claim that the
spirit creatures have been encountered in towns like
Vancouver and the newly incorporated city of Winnipeg.
Whether the tales of the Wendigo and related stories of
Sasquatch are true or just the myths and stories of the
local Indians are unknown. Nobody who has gone hunting
for either creature has come back with one. Of course, a
few expeditions have never come back.

74

Mexico
Territorial disputes between the United States and the newly
independent nation of Mexico led the countries to an
inevitable war in 1846. The war was short and, unfortunately
for the fiercely proud Mexican people, unsuccessful. In 1848
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo was signed, ending the
war. Mexico lost large pieces of territory, which were settled
by Americans and soon became the states of Texas,
California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and most of the New
Mexico and Arizona territories. A federal republic was
established after several internal wars, with Benito Jurez
finally installed as President. In the 1860s Mexico was under
the military occupation of France. Napoleon III installed
Maximilian I as King of Mexico, under his control. The
largely conservative government of Mexico found the
policies of Maximillian too conservative, and the liberals
refused to acknowledge the King as their monarch.This
lead to much political unrest. Forces loyal to President
Benito Jurez, who kept the federal government functioning
during the French intervention that put Maximilian in
power, captured Maximilian and executed him in 1867.
Like much of Central and South America, Mexico was
dotted with ancient ruins, lost Aztec cities, and enough
adventures to keep anyone busy for many years.

South and Central America


This region was both an unexplored wilderness full of
ancient ruins waiting to be discovered and a hotbed of
military actions throughout the era. For adventurers
seeking ancient ruins and lost civilizations, the Incas and
Aztecs had left behind more than enough to keep even
the most active Adventurer or Explorer busy. During the
1930s they were sitting between two worlds, and time will
decide which way they will move.

Argentina
The United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata was formed in
1816 from the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Ro de la Plata, the
last short lived Viceroyalty of the region. The United Provinces
comprised the area of present day Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay,
and Argentina. Political turmoil in the region caused the
Provinces to split apart, forming the four separate countries.
Argentina is a largely agrarian country, with a smattering
of farms and a large number of cattle ranches. This stable
economy helped to unite the mostly Spanish population.
Exporting of cattle, sheep, and wheat kept the nation from
suffering the effects of the worldwide depressions of the
mid-1800s, but it did not make them wealthy either.
While the immigrants to Argentina were a united people,
they still suffered from attacks by the Indian tribes of the
region. Argentina inherited the problems of the Spanish
Viceroy when it came to dealing with the local tribes to
the south, and they did not handle this problem any better
than the Spanish.
Buenos Aires still had a colonial feel, even after its
independence. The influx of Spanish and Italian
immigrants, along with a healthy dose of financial backing

The Pulp World Gazetteer


from the banks of London, gave the capital city a definite
European feel. The rich plains of the Pampas in northern
half of the country and the rolling plateau of the south,
contrast sharply with the rugged Andes along the western
border. This gave the country a definitely exotic feel, with
a certain air of mystery.

MAPLE WHITE LAND


Discovered by Professor George Edward Challenger in 1908
and first explored in 1910, Maple White Land is an enormous
plateau that rises from the dense jungles of Venezuela, in
South America. An anomalous region like the Forbidden Valley
in Mexico, the plateau is hard to find, despite being of considerable size, and supports a large population of dinosaurs
and other anachronistic flora and fauna. Like the Forbidden
Valley, the surface of the plateau appears to be far larger
than its circumference would suggest, which may account
for its ability to support such a large and thriving ecosystem.
Along with dinosaurs, giant insects and arachnids and a
variety of primitive plant life, the plateau is also home to
competing tribes of humans and so-called ape-men, and
has been found to contain large deposits of diamonds and
other precious stones.

the army of Napoleon caused great uproar in the Portuguese


court, with the King and his retinue fleeing to Brazil and
setting up in Rio de Janeiro. The capital of the Portuguese
Empire lies in Rio for several years, with the colony formally
becoming the Kingdom of Brazil in 1815. The United
Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, was ruled from
Rio until 182, when the King of Portugal went back to
Lisbon. A year later Brazil gained its independence, with
Dom Pedro the first Emperor of Brazil. Emperor Pedro I,
and later his son Pedro II, ruled the Brazilian Empire
through the late part of the 19th century. Turmoil and
revolution resulted in the abdication of Emperor Pedro II
in 1889 and the Republic of the United States of Brazil was
formed. The land of Brazil was sparsely populated, with
heavy rainforests and the largest river system in the world.
The great and mysterious Amazon River is the heart of
Brazil. Many European expeditions went into the Amazon
Basin to explore and bring back the natural treasures of
the region. Some of them never returned.

Bolivia
Of all the countries of South America, Bolivia was the most
unstable politically, economically, and even geographically.
The European wars of Napoleon had their effects felt in
far off South America. The Spanish colonial territory
known as Upper Peru declared its independence in 1809.
Sixteen years of bitter war began, until finally the Spanish
were defeated and a new Republic was created. Calling
themselves the Republic of Bolivia, they joined forces with
neighboring Peru to form the Peru-Bolivian Confederation.
Wars with Chile and Argentina, while at first victorious,
turned disastrous. By 1840 the Confederation had dissolved,
Peru had found its independence, and Bolivia entered a
period of political and economic upheaval. Wars with
Peru, Chile, and Brazil over the next few decades saw
Bolivia lose much of the land it once controlled, including
access to the Pacific Ocean and the fertile lands of the west.
Rising silver prices around the world had brought about a
rise of prosperity in Bolivia near the end of this century.
Prospecting, mining, and treasure seeking have all become
profitable forms of employment in Bolivia. With governments
constantly teetering on the edge of disaster, Bolivia was a
land of adventure, intrigue, and danger. The Andean
Mountains of Bolivia hold many secrets and treasures.
Perhaps even the remains of the Empire of the Inca.

Brazil
Once the colony of Portugal, the largest nation of South
America has gone through many changes. For three
centuries the colony of Brazil was a powerful, though often
neglected, colony of Portugal. The invasion of Portugal by

Chile
Like many of its neighbors, Chile was a colony of Spain
until the forces of France's Napoleon invaded Spain in the
early 1800s. This led the people of Chile to break away
from Spain. After a brief attempt by the Spanish to re-conquer Chile, the Republic of Chile proclaimed its
independence in 1818. This declaration did little to change
the colonial lifestyle of Chile, where social stratification,
family politics, and the influence of the Roman Catholic
Church strongly dictated the course of the Republic.
Chilean culture changed very little over most of the 19th
century, and the generally stable government was a change
of pace in the otherwise turbulent history of South
America. In the late 1870s, wars with the new countries
of Peru and Bolivia, culminating in the War of the Pacific,
brought great expansion to the lands of Chile. Territories
rich in nitrate deposits, which were part of their treaty
settlements with Bolivia and Peru, lead to an era of national
affluence. In 1886, Jos Manuel Balmaceda was elected
president. His economic policies were radically different
than those of previous presidents. He began to violate the
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Pulp Fantastic
constitution and slowly began to establish a dictatorship.
These actions were not tolerated by the Congress, who
voted on deposing him. Balmaceda's refusal to step down
led to the beginning of the Chilean Civil War of 1891. The
President's forces were quickly defeated, and Balmaceda
fled to refuge in the Argentinean Embassy. There he
committed suicide, ending his reign.

some heroes were ahead of their time regarding racial


equality and opposition to imperialism, only after the
period represented in Pulp Fantastic did the empires gain
some degree of enlightenment and begin divesting themselves of their colonies.

During the era of pulp fantastic Chile is a highly


regimented, tightly controlled, and predominately
Catholic republic. While it may look calm and orderly,
underneath is a hotbed of subterfuge. The mountains of
Chile are large, dangerous, and potentially full of raw
gold, silver, and perhaps the lost treasures of the Inca or
Aztecs. The "savage Indians" of Chile can also be a surprise
to adventurers. They could seek revenge for wrongs done
to them by the Chilean government, or they could be out
to aid those hoping to find and "preserve" the treasures
of the mountains. They may even know of the legendary
tunnels and caves under Drakes Passage that lead to a
legendary long lost kingdom below Antarctica.

Abyssinia may surprise visitors by having a history traceable to the fourth century. Throughout antiquity, it has
been a Christian nation with a notable Jewish population.
Their religious leaders claim to have the fabled Ark of the
Covenant under lock and key, though none may see it
except the religious hierarchy and the Emperorwho
claims to be descended from King Solomon.

SHAMBHALA AND AGHARTA

GAZETEER

The twin kingdoms of Shambhala and Agharta exist on the


borders of Tibet, nestled within an anomalous region in the
Himalayas.
Shambhala is a holy land in the Buddhist faith, and was long
thought to be purely mythological. However, in recent years
a number of Western explorers and mountaineers have returned home with tales of the beautiful warm valley hidden
amidst the snowy peaks, and of the curiously ageless and
gentle people that live there. Many seem to have returned
home oddly rejuvenated, as if they have somehow become
younger, while others appear to have undergone some form
of spiritual transformation. Like other anomalous regions,
Shambhala is extremely difficult to locate, though in this
case whether or not the land can be found at all seems to
depend on the favor of the people within it. Legends says
that those who are destined to find Shambhala will do so,
while those with evil in their hearts never will.
Agharta is a underground realm that exists somewhere
beneath the mountains of Tibet, and can be reached through
tunnels in Shambhala. Reputedly the home of the mystical
Meh-Teh, the realm is also said to be the site of the dread
Forbidden Lamasery of the Mara Brotherhood. Rumors persist
that Agharta was once an Atlantean outpost, and that still
functioning examples of their transcendent technology can
be found there, if one only knows where to look.

Africa
In the early 1900s, Africa fell increasingly under European control. The whites superior transportation and firepower enabled them to conquer vast swaths of land and
take the Africans natural resources. Most Europeans saw
it as the white mans burden to control natives they
viewed as incapable of managing their own affairs. While
76

Abyssinia

All of Abyssinias borders are mountainous, making it


naturally defensible. In the late 19th century, Italy tried
to take it as a colony, but it was humiliated in defeat, as
had been all other nations who tried to conquer it. In 1935,
Italy tried again, and with the aid of mustard gas, they
succeeded, Emperor Halie Selassie fleeing the country.
Abyssinias future is unclear, as the League of Nations has
turned a deaf ear to the emperors cries for aid.
Visitors will find this country modernized in comparison
with other African nations, but it still holds its enigmas. For
example, questions persist as to whether the title of emperor
is equivalent to the medieval Prester John. Likewise, the
city of Lalibela holds eleven eight-century-old churches,
hewn out of solid rock, supposedly with the aid of angelic
beings. The nearby caves have never been fully explored.

The Congo
The Congo is foremost a site for human tragedy. The
Belgians exploited it first for ivory, then for rubber, and
later for copper, gold, and diamonds, with brutal oppression for Congolese who failed to meet their quotas (especially in the first decade of the century, when millions lost
their lives). Inhabitants of the eastern Congo faced danger
not only from the Belgians, but also from Zanzibars slave
raiders, from whom they sometimes ransomed their family
members. In the North, the Portuguese were slightly better
rulers, avoiding the genocidal violence of the Belgians
and allowing a Kongolese king to serve as vassal until a
1914 revolt.
The pygmy survives as a small minority in the Congo,
living in small hunter-gatherer communities in various
climates or serving as slaves to the Bantu-speaking Congolese. Using traps, spears, and crossbows with poisoned
bolts, they are a source of fascination for the public, one
having been displayed in a cage at the 1907 Worlds Fair.
Safari hunters come to the Congo for its wild game, especially the increasingly hard-to-find elephants, prized for
their rich ivory, and an elephant graveyard would make
any explorer wealthy beyond imagining, though none has
been found yet. A 1909 volume by one hunter notes Congolese locals tale of a creature whose description reminded him of a brontosaurus, a tale widely reported in newspapers. A 1919 Smithsonian expedition trying to ascertain
the truth ended with a train derailment, resulting in four

The Pulp World Gazetteer


BLACK LOTUS POWDER
The Black Lotus is a rare parasitic plant which grows naturally only in the deepest jungles of Central Asia. The pollen of the plant,
when ground up and dried, forms a powerful psychoactive hallucinogen that its users believe can grant ecstatic visions of different
times and places. The priests of the barbaric Tsang-Chan peoples believe that inhaling the dust of the Black Lotus links them to the
spirits of everyone who has ever taken the drug or ever will.
Black Lotus powder is highly addictive, and regular use creates in the user a peculiar veneration for the Black Lotus itself, resulting
in the slow spread of the cultivated plant across the planet. Addicts manifest reduced willpower, a curious group mentality, low
empathy and a marked disregard for their own personal safety, making them easily dominated by a powerful personality.
The Black Lotus is the subject of a number of dark myths and legends. In some stories, it was carried to Earth as dust on the sandals
of the gods, sprouting in their footsteps in the sacred places of the world. In others it was sent from beyond as a sacrament, to
allow the faithful to commune with their brethren across time and space in worship of the Old Gods. Still others claim that the Black
Lotus is itself a god, sharing itself among its worshipers that it might live in them.
Botanists point out that the Black Lotus is misnamed. Though the bloom itself resembles a lotus flower, it is not aquatic and appears
unrelated to any of the lotus family (genus Nelumbo). In fact in many ways it is similar to mistletoe, though the two species are
unrelated.
The shamans of the Tsang-Chan and priests of the Black Scorpion Brotherhood believe that chewing the leaves of the Black Lotus
will give them strange powers and an extended life-span, though no scientific evidence has been gathered to support this. Burning
the dried leaves of the Black Lotus produces a dense soporific vapor, which if inhaled induces rapid loss of consciousness followed
by a period of delirium punctuated with horrific dreams. Some native shamans claim to be able to use the roots of the plant to
create a potion that induces a state of hypnotic suggestibility in those who drink it, but again there has been little scientific investigation to support this claim.

Regardless of the veracity of the many claims made about the plant, its rarity makes live specimens among the most valuable plants
in the world today. While the Black Lotus can be grown elsewhere in the world, it is extremely difficult and requires constant care.
Some even whisper that in order to grow outside of its natural environment, the plant must be watered in fresh blood, though this
is almost certainly a myth. Pound for pound, Black Lotus powder is more valuable on the black market than diamonds, and even
dead plants are highly sought after for their pharmacological properties.

deaths. Mysterious roars, not identifiable with any known


creature, had been heard earlier in the expedition.
Even great men, faced with the full intensity of mystery and
suffering the Congo has to offer, have lost their sanity here.

Egypt
In 1904, Aleister Crowley, an Order of the Hermetic Dawn
member, claimed after visiting the Cairo Museum of Antiquities to have an encounter with a being named Aiwass,
in the voices of three Egyptian gods. The Book of the Law
was the result of this meeting, a book several members of
the Nazi party were known to possess in later years.
Many visitors came to this museum, for the discovery of
the Valley of the Kings in the Victorian Era kicked off a
mania for Egypt. From 1907-1922, archaeologist Howard
Carter excavated in the Valley, less a three-year break
during the Great War. In November of 1922, Howard Carter
discovered the tomb of King Tut, still intact with all its
treasures, reigniting the mania. Rumors of the tombs
fatal curse have been exaggerated.
Diplomacy, entanglements, and spies are of far more importance than supposed sightings of walking mummies, as
EgyptCairo in particularserved as the meeting place of
Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Of particular importance
there is the recent rise in anti-Semitism, exacerbated by the
recent publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Nile River, economically priceless, became one of the


most explored in the world during this period, as adventurers tried to find its source, leading them south through
the Sudan and beyond. The river, though many view it as
the source of life, is home to Nile crocodile, hippopotami,
and over ten varieties of venomous snakes, so it pays to
be careful while navigating. Malaria-carrying mosquitos
are ubiquitous, and if one goes far enough south, the rapids
become problematic.

The Sahara Desert


Travel through the Sahara is likely to be fatal. Its simply
hot, arid, and impassibly large. Even if youre prepared
with a camel, proper dress, and several days of water,
violent Tuareg nomads could attack, as could Arab slavers.
Finally, there are natural dangers, such as poisonous snakes
and scorpions, sandstorms, and even the uneven ground,
prone to injuries from sprains to broken bones. Even near
the oases, one may find hyenas. So why would anyone go
through the Sahara?
Wealth. There are lost cities to be found: Zerzura, the
white city, an oasis of precious gems and sleeping rulers,
for example. Its possible that this is a false lead, like
Timbuktu, but that didnt stop groups of explorers in the
early 1930s from trying to find Zerzura. (Of course, impoverished Timbuktus real treasure subsists not in gold,
but in in its tomes of forgotten wisdom, its volumes of
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Pulp Fantastic
forbidden lore.) Other explorers may wish for bragging
rights, surviving a trip to the top of Kaf Ajnoun, the Devils
Hill, where the Djinn supposedly hold council. Alternatively, clandestine scientific expeditions could search for
the secrets behind what would later be named the Eye of
the Sahara, a 25-mile-wide crystalline depression, looking
from a zeppelin rather like a bulls-eye mark.
The French Foreign Legion patrols the Sahara, albeit irregularly, making it nominally safer than it was some years
earlier. Still, youre more likely to see bones in the desert
than you are a fellow traveler if you can discern anything
besides heat-based hallucinations and mirages.

Southern Africa

GAZETEER

Circumnavigating the southern tip of Africa is still dangerous, given the storms around the Cape of Good Hope, and
sailors still report seeing the ghostly Flying Dutchman there
on occasion. On land, the once-formidable Zulus have
become, while not exactly docile, somewhat tractable in
the face of the overwhelming technological superiority of
the English and the Boers, and now face crushing poverty.
The English defeated the Boers (descended from the Dutch)
during the early part of the pulp era, and soon after the
start of the Great Depression, the nation of South Africa
declared its independence. At the end of the era, there is
still great tension between not only the black Africans and
the whites, but also among the whites themselves, divided
by heritage and language into winners and losers. Additionally, during the entire period, the indigenous people
had virtually no economic or civil rights, despite their
actually comprising more than 80% of the population.
Complicating the matter was South Africas third set of
rights for colored people: those of mixed race and those
who came from India, looking for jobs.
The southern Zulu would rather keep a discreet silence
about some mysteries, such as the Rain Queen of the
Karanga, or the carnivorous river god Inkanyamba. The
northern, central regions of southern Africa are less explored, giving rise to legends of lost citiesincluding one
confirmed discovery, the abandoned Great Zimbabweand
of a completely different ethnic group of hunter-gatherers,
as yet unknown, using poisoned spears in the bush to
catch their prey.

Mami Wata
The Igbo people of West Africa sometimes report having
encountered a half-human, mermaid-like creature, a witch
and a snake-charmer, who steals their children at night
or drowns their men in the river during the day. Oddly,
she is often seen with modern trinkets, such as watches
or lighters. She has been known to possess her followers
during ritual dances. Eyewitness reports of her appearances have been surprisingly consistent, but no expedition
has turned up reliable evidence of any such being yet.

78

idea that lost cities could still exist somewhere in unexplored corners of the world. Zerzura, Opar, Loo, and Kr
are all examples of this trope. Often part and parcel with
it, unfortunately, is the racist idea that Africans, unaided,
could not build a city themselvesyet it was the Shona,
a Bantu people, who built Great Zimbabwe!
One never knows what one is going to find in a lost city.
Riches? New technologies? Natural wonders as yet
unseen? All thats certain is that adventure and science
mandate a complete mapping of the African continent,
so that all may benefit from their discoveries.

The Walking Shade


The coast of East Africa is rife with tales of a man who
never dies. For five centuries, observers have noted a
strange, small sign on certain buildings and individuals,
a sign locals call a seal of protection. In hushed breath,
the indigenous people tell stories of a cave shaped like a
skull, a wolf and horse who respond only to the speech of
the undying, and a stretch of coastland free from the piracy
that plagues so much of the Indian Ocean. But, like an
apparition, the origin of these legends and the origin
of the skull-shaped wounds on some pirates faces
remains impossible to find.

Asia
Afghanistan
Afghanistan has been the battleground for the Great
Game, a conflict fought between Great Britain and Russia
over control of Central Asia. The First Afghan War (18381842) would end in a humiliating defeat for the British, and
although guaranteed free passage, the British Army was
slaughtered during its retreat. Meanwhile, the Russian army
steadily advanced southward into Afghanistan. During the
Victorian Age, the British would try again, sparking the
Second Afghan War in 1878. After getting a good part of its
army annihilated in Kabul, Britain managed to put an Emir
on the throne with whom both Britain and Russia could
live. During the 1880s, Emir Abdur Rahman Khan would
consolidate his power in Afghanistan, strengthening military control and modernizing the nation.
It has become a centerpoint of the intrigues going on between
two great World Powers, Russia and The British Empire.
Situated at a crossroads in a geographical context, it is riddled
with spies as well as those that follow such activities.

Bhutan

Lost Cities

Bhutan is a small country nestled in the Himalayas and


was battered by civil war during the Victorian Age. Governors of different territories within Bhutan were vying
for power through skirmishes with the others.This came
to an end in 1885, when Britain backed Ugyan Wangchuck,
the Governor of Trongsa. He would consolidate his power
through the rest of the Victorian Age (and was destined
to be crowned king in 1907).

Following the publicity surrounding the research about


Great Zimbabwe, Europe became very interested in the

Ironically, although Bhutan was strengthening its ties with


Britain, it conducted most of its trade with its northern

The Pulp World Gazetteer


neighbor Tibet. Tibet actually sided with a rival governor
against Wangchuck. A treaty with Britain in 1865 allowed
Britain to control Bhutans southern border passes with India.
It is a part of the British Empire, allowing for a presence
in this distant part of the world for the English.

Burma
Although not part of the Indian subcontinent, Burma was
slowly incorporated into British India during the Victorian
Age. Burma shared its northeast border with China, and
successfully repulsed four Chinese invasions in the 18th
century before being absorbed into British India during
the next century. The lowlands of Burma have a tropical
climate similar to neighboring Bengal, while the highlands
can range all the way up to heavy snowfall and arctic
conditions depending on elevation. Like Bengal, Burma
was also prone to floods and droughts.
It was Burmas territorial expansion that concerned both
the Chinese and the British. Ill-defined borders were part
of the problem, as military operations and refugees
challenged territorial assumptions. Britain fought Burma
in a series of three wars during the 19th century, resulting
in total control of Burma in 1886. Burma then became a
province of India.
Burma would thrive economically in rice production, but
at great cost. When the opening of the Suez Canal increased
demand for rice, Burmese farmers needed to borrow money
to meet it, but often defaulted on their high-interest loans.
As a result, the beneficiaries of the Burmese rice trade
were British and Indian firms and migrant workers. Many
Burmese became unemployed, and neither the ICS nor
the British military would accept them into their ranks.

Rangoon
The British annexed Rangoon in 1852. The British
immediately went to work on modernizing the city,
building colleges and bringing western education to the
Burmese people. Rangoon primarily exported rice and
timber. This stood in stark contrast to the impoverished
villages that surrounded it. Rangoon was made the capital
of the Burmese Province in 1886.

China
The Empire of China was, to many westerners, a complete
mystery. The vast landscape of a country full of strange
customs, cryptic writings, and imperial intrigue is what
kept many people fascinated and sometimes obsessed
with this great nation. What many did not realize is that
Imperial China was a nation in decline and was rushing
headlong into what surely would become the end of the
Manchu Dynasty.

The latter half of the 19th century in China was a time of


adventure and excitement. Contact with western cultures
had been limited, but the expansion of trade around the
world following the Napoleonic Wars caused the Manchu
government to have to deal with trade groups from Europe.
The most prominent of these groups came from Great Britain,
who had colonies in nearby India. The Emperor had declared
that China was not impressed with western manufacturing,
so they would only accept bars of silver as payment for the
silks, teas, and ceramics that were in demand in Europe.
Great Britain was concerned that their precious metal reserves
were being depleted, so they looked for alternative goods to
trade. Their most elaborate scheme involved addicting the
Chinese on opium. When the Emperor banned the opium
trade in 1838 Great Britain declared war on China, and the
first of the Opium Wars began.

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Pulp Fantastic
Unfortunately for the Chinese, the First Opium War showed
the outdated nature of the Chinese military. Many stunning
defeats at the hands of the Royal Navy and by soldiers
armed with modern rifles and tactics forced the Manchu
government to surrender in 1842. The Treaty of Nanking
forced China to open her ports and created the British
colony on the island of Hong Kong. This foothold in China,
along with trade centers in Shanghai, finally allowed
western governments to have access to the great wealth
of products and labor that they had long desired.
China, and the inscrutable china man, was for the most
part a great mystery to most of the western world. The
high quality of silk and porcelain, the exotic art and
treasures of the ancient land, and the strange forms of
martial arts they used to protect them all drew large
numbers of adventurers to China. If one believed, half of
the rumors of what could be found within China, then
fame and fortune awaits!

India

GAZETEER

The Indian subcontinent has a varied geography. While


most people think of India as a jungle, the entire spectrum
of climates can be found on the subcontinent. The British
typically divided the subcontinent into northern and
southern India, with the Vindhya and Satpura mountain
ranges acting as a natural dividing line.
Northern India is bordered by mountain ranges along most
of its borders. The largest of the northern ranges is the
Himalayas, which India shares with Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet.
The highest peaks in the world are found here, including Mt.
Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. It is named for
the British Surveyor General, Sir George Everest, who first
spotted it. To the west are the Hindu-Kush Mountains that
separate British India from Afghanistan. The Vindhya and
Saptura mountains, as mentioned, border the south.

THE ISLAND OF THE SKULL


For centuries sailors in the South Seas have told each other
blood-curdling tales of the cursed isle and the cradle of
monsters, also known as the Island of the Skull. Supposedly
an uncharted island located far from the shipping lanes and
wreathed in a permanent bank of curiously still fog, the Island
of the Skull is named for the numerous carvings of human
skulls found among the ruins that sprawl across the isles
southern coast. Few have landed there, and of those few
even fewer have lived to tell of it. Legend tells of an island
of lush jungle, swamp-land, deep crevasses and high mountains, bearing flora and fauna both wild and monstrous.

Three major rivers dominate Northern India: the


Brahmaputra, the Ganges, and the Indus. These rivers
deposit rich, fertile soil during frequent flooding, and are
densely populated as a result (although the Indus is
threatened by the Thar Desert to the east).
Southern India is home to two environments, the coastal
80

regions and the Deccan Plateau. The Deccan Plateau is


separated from the coast by two mountain ranges known
collectively as the Ghats. These mountain ranges keep the
plateau hot all year long. The coastal regions, like northern
India, have rich soil. Coastal India usually has a mild winter,
then a short hot season, a rainy season, and then another
hot season before winter.
Most of India is subject to the rainy season between June
and September. This is the period of monsoons, a seasonal
wind that brings heavy rains and flooding. While the
Indian people welcome the rains after a hot season, the
resultant flooding can cause loss of life and crop damage.
The British Empire politically separated British-run India
into three Presidencies: Bengal, Bombay, and Madras. These
three regions acted almost independently of each other,
and up until the late 1870s. Civilians considered themselves
exclusively belonging to one of the Presidencies (e.g. the
Bengal Civil Service), rather than India in general. Among
these regions were also many autonomous native states,
the princes, Maharajas, which were left to run their own
affairs, providing that they cooperated with British rule.

Japan
The Tokugawa (or Edo) period of Japans history began in
1603. This time was marked by a major decrease in the
amount of violence that the Japanese people were
accustomed to surviving. Except for common problems
of the time such as the occasional peasant revolt or famine,
life for the average citizen was greatly improved. However,

The Pulp World Gazetteer


the country remained in almost total isolation from the
outside world.
The first significant exhibit of Japanese items in the west
was during the London International Exhibition of 1862.
These items were primarily collected and presented by
Rutherford Alcock, the British minister of Japan. It would
be five more years (1867) before the Japanese government
presented their own cultural displays to the world. In 1868,
just one year later, the shogunate government was
overthrown in a popular revolt and Meiji emperor was
returned to power. It was under this government that
Japan was opened to westernization.
One group that did not benefit from the Tokugawa peace
or the return of the Meiji reign was the little known Ainu
people, who by this time had been forced to live only on
the northern most island of Hokkido. The members of
this hunter/trapper/farmer culture appeared to have more
in common with American Indians than they did with
their Asian overlords. The Ainu were systematically
persecuted not only for their Caucasian racial stock but
also because of the strange animistic religion they
practiced. The Ainu religion was one of the last Bear
Cults to survive into the 19th Century.
Despite the pulp image of Samurai and Ninja clans
operating in Japan in the 1930s, the feudal age of Japan
really ended with the Meiji restoration of 1868. Japan of
this new era was a nation struggling to become modern,
despite suffering economic disaster from both the Great
Depression and the powerful Kanto Earthquake of 1930.
Though the land was ruled by Emperor Hirohito, it was
controlled by a network of political groups, secret societies,
and cults. Power brokering was commonplace, but the
military, through assassination and persecution, amassed
power through the decade.
In 1931, Chinas warring factions began to expand power
into Japanese-claimed Manchuria. This gave the military
an easy excuse to consolidate power, as well as reclaim
Manchuria by force. After heavy criticism for its actions,
Japan pulled out of the already-weak League of Nations
in 1933.
By 1936 there are threats and rumors of war with China,
and even the most devout pulp heroes are reluctant to
take but a few assignments into the heart of Japan.

Australia
The Australian colonies of Great Britain covered the entire
continent and the surrounding islands. By the late 1800s,
the colonies were: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland,
Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory,
New Zealand, and Tasmania. Many of the early British
immigrants to Australia were prisoners, sent to the far
outreaches of the empire as punishment for a variety of
crimes. By 1868 penal transportations officially ended,
though they had been sparse for several years before that.

lation and prosperity. During the gold rush, many people


from England, Ireland, China, and the United States came
to Australia to discover not only gold but creatures that
defied description. Kangaroos, koala, kookaburra, emu,
and platypus were just a few of the strange things they
found. The strangest things encountered by the new inhabitants of Australia were the old inhabitants, the aboriginals of Australia.
These strange people, living in "primitive" nomadic groups,
were a great puzzle to the newcomers. How did they get
to the isolated continent? How did they develop their
strange customs? And should they be given rights and
privileges of the "civilized" colonists? The aborigines oral
history, their talk of the ancient era known as the Dreamtime, all seemed to be a collection of myths and legends
to the English colonists. The boomerang and the strange
musical instruments used by the aborigines added further
mystery to these already curious people.

The vast deserts, crocodile filled mangrove swamps, thick


tropical jungles, and sweeping grasslands make Australia
a diverse environment for exploration. The largely unexplored desert regions could be host to ancient ruins, lost
cities, or even gateways to the aboriginal Dreamtime.

Antarctica
At the south end of the world is the frozen continent of
Antarctica. Its snow- and ice-cover and high elevation
combine to make it the coldest place on Earth. The sub-zero temperatures freeze the moisture out of the air, making
most of Antarctica drier than the Sahara Desert.
There are no native inhabitants on the continent, but
various exploration teams may be encountered. Because
of the dangers of this most hostile environment, no permanent human settlements exist anywhere on the continent. Wildlife is restricted to seals, penguins, birds and
fish. There are no polar bears in Antarctica.
Nearly all of Antarctica lies within the Antarctic Circle.
Along the coastline, snowfall averages 20 to 40 inches per
year, and temperatures range from 40 to -40 degrees. Most
of the coastline is mountainous, and travel to the interior
is difficult.
Rumors of a hole in the middle of the continent, leading
into the Earth's interior, have persisted for years. No one
has ever returned from an expedition with evidence of
the legendary hole, or at least no one was ever believed.
Stories also persist of a lost world; a region of tropical
environs surrounded by nearly impenetrable mountain.

The discovery of gold in New South Wales in 1851 and in


Victoria shortly after that brought a surge of both popu81

Chapter 4
The Pulp Years

his chapter is not a complete history on the Pulp Era,


it is an overview of the things that happened during
the period, a timeline and a general sense of what is
what. There are many other books both in reference and
Role Playing that go into much more detail of the era than
we have gone into here, and any of them can be used as
supplemental material to the pulp fantastic Role
Playing Game.

Interesting Times
The pulp era is a little difficult to pin down. Pulps themselves, in one form or another, existed since the late 1800s
with fantastic tales and adventures drawn from the Old
West and far-away places being sold to readers in New
England and Britain.
Tales of courage, daring, and science were popularized
through the turn of the century, the Great War, and well
beyond. But the pulps hit their stride in the 1930s, as many
people turned to cheaper entertainment to try and escape
the rigors of the Great Depression and the political upheavals happening all over the world.
For many, this decade between the wars would define the
Pulp genre.

The Great War


The War to End all Wars started with the assassination
of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, though it had been a long
time in coming. Tensions between various European
powers had been escalating and brewing for years. Skirmishes were a common occurrence as old nobilities vied
for power over one-another. The assassination was simply
a match in a room full of gas. Everything simply exploded.
War was far from new in Europe, but this war would change
everything. New weapons were brought to the field, including tanks, aircraft, and the horror of chemical weapons.
Nearly twenty million people would die in the Great Wars
four years, devastating the European powers. The cost of
war was simply too high for the old world mindset to
continue.
The end of the war found Germany as the defeated instigator, much of the rest of Europe in ruins, and the United
States both victorious and relatively unscathed. The Treaty
of Versailles ended the war, laying all of the blame on
Germanys feet. It also established the League of Nations,

a political body that was supposed to mediate disputes


between nations. It only had modest success, even at its
inception.
For better or worse, the Great War had accomplished
bringing in the Pulp age. But it had done little to settle the
disputes in Europe, and have even invited more. Skirmishes and government upheavals would last for the next
twenty years, bringing rise to Fascism and Communism.
The old class system was falling apart as the workers of
the world, who had suffered the most in the war, were no
longer content with their nobility. The War to End All
Wars concluded with an even more unstable world largely
in economic collapse, and seemed to ensure that more,
even more vicious wars would be coming.

The Roaring 20s


For the United States, the 1920s seemed like a period of
great promise. Though Prohibition had led to dramatic
increases in crime, they were considered to be good times.
The United States didnt suffer as badly in the Great War
as Europe. Indeed, most of Europe owed the United States
great amounts of money. Cities hadnt been brought to
their knees and required rebuilding. Unlike the rest of the
world, everything in the United States was up and running.
With enthusiasm bordering on delirium, Americans
charged to the future. Scientific achievement was often
celebrated without often being understood. Technology
promised cures for every disease, as a new convenient
gadget for any worldly inconvenience. Companies spent
millions buying into the idea.
Movies had changed entertainment as well, bringing the
glamor and glitz of a new age of celebrities, as well as some
mindless fun over the weekends at the matinee. In the
homes, radio programs of music, comedy and sports
brought people together in a way that hadnt happened
before. It really seemed that the miracles of technology
and new science was reshaping the world.
But beneath the wood grain and brass gadgetry, however,
lied a different image, even in the incredibly optimistic
America. Crime and corruption were rampant. Labor
Unions had turned to organized crime for muscle, and
were easily infiltrated by Communist insurgents. Prohibition and dramatic corruption had destroyed public
confidence in the government and police. Everyone seemed
to be drinking, and they were in much larger numbers

Pulp Fantastic
BLACK THURSDAY
Though most of Europe struggled in the 1920s, America had enjoyed a tremendous financial boom. The Great War that had devastated Europe barely touched the Americas, and all the new science and technology that the war brought was being applied to civilian life. New and greater uses of electricity promised a brighter and greater future for all. Banks and citizens invested millions
hoping to cash on the next new technological or medical innovation that promised to change the world.
And, for awhile, things were well and good. But the euphoria of the time was reckless. The first sign, for America, that trouble was
coming was the Dustbowls of the Midwest. Terrible farming habits and a windy drought had eroded the earth, devastating crops.
Precious, fertile land was literally blowing away in a choking wind. Farm after farm failed, destroying that aspect of the American
economy.
Technology, too, was floundering. Despite great achievements, the demands of the investors and the promises of the scientists,
just couldnt possibly be met. Enthusiasm became frustration, and the sell-offs began. The decline started most severely on 24
October, 1929. Seeking to escape disappointing markets, investors began to cash out in large amounts. The boom was going bust.
By 29 October, 1929, the infamous Black Tuesday, the bottom had dropped out of the market, despite J.P. Morgans last minute
attempt to shore it up.
Citizens that had invested heavily couldnt manage to sell their now near-worthless stocks, and often lost their homes. Businesses
folded from their losses, causing dramatic unemployment. Even worse, many banks had overextended into the markets and were
unable to pay their members accounts, destroying the personal savings of millions.
Within a few months of Black Tuesday, the United States had joined in the Great Depression. Even worse, since the United States
was one of the few nations supporting the struggling nations within Europe, Europes already-destitute collapsed even farther
without its aid. The party that was the Roaring 20s had left one heck of a hangover.

GAZETEER

than before prohibition set in. Things got so bad in Chicago


that the city is still known for its booze-smuggling gangsters, a full eighty years later.
On top of this, race relations were atrocious in the states,
and not just for black men. Due to economic disaster in
the rest of the world, immigrants came to American shores
by the millions. Trouble is, there werent that many jobs
even in the land of prosperity. Small ethnic clashes over
work and older disputes erupted frequently.
Race relations in the south were even worse. Many sons
of the Confederacy had power, and werent too fond of the
black race that they blamed the Civil War upon. Segregation was the law, and any man, regardless of color, often
had more to worry about than just getting arrested. Racial
tolerance was nearly unheard of.
The decade of American excess may have been good times
for some. All that excess, however, came at a terrible cost,
and the worst of it was just around the corner.

Timeline 1901 1939


1901
(January) Queen Victoria dies. Prince Albert Edward
becomes King Edward VII.
The Boston Gun Club builds a large canon in Florida (United
States) which they say will be used for exploration of the
Moon. The firing of this canon garners the attention of the
war-like, space faring Martians.

(August) President McKinley signs an Executive Order creating Division 4, the American version of the British MI7 group.
(September) President William McKinley of the United
States is assassinated.
Sam McCord strikes the largest gold strike in the Alaskan
Territories.
Creatures believed to be from the planet Mars invade London;
they are seemingly defeated by an unknown synthetic toxin;
the event is chronicled by H.G. Wells, but due to the efforts
of the Invisible College, the world regards his report as a work
of fiction.

1902
(January) 5 workers killed in explosion during IRT subway
construction (New York City)
(March) American Automobile Association, AAA, founded
in Cleveland, Ohio
(April) 1st motion picture theater opens in Los Angeles.
Denmark is 1st country to adopt fingerprinting to identify criminals.
(May) Sherlock Holmes investigates the Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place.
(May) Cuba gains independence from Spain.
(August) President Teddy Roosevelt became 1st U.S. chief
executive to ride in a car.
(December) Trans-Pacific cable links Hawaii to US. Boers
and British army sign peace treaty

84

The Pulp Years

1903

1905

(January) San Francisco - Hawaii telegraph cable opens


for public use. Harry Houdini performs at Rembrandt
Theater, Amsterdam. 1st regular transatlantic radio broadcast between U.S. and England. Harry Houdini escapes
police station Halvemaansteeg in Amsterdam.

(March) Tsar Nicholas II of Russia agrees to create an


elected assembly (the Duma). U.S. President Theodore
Roosevelt begins a full term. Russian troops begin to retreat
from Mukden after losing 100,000 troops in 3 days. The
Japanese capture of Mukden (now Shenyang) completes
the rout of Russian armies in Manchuria.

(March) The killer known as The Hoxton Creeper resurfaces


in London after being presumed dead for over five years
following an encounter with Sherlock Holmes. By means
unknown the brutish back-breaker finds his way to America,
apparently tracking the notorious Borgia Pearl after its sale
to an unknown American millionaire. Over the next three
decades, for reasons unknown, he will find and murder every
owner of the Pearl.
(June) Ford Motor Corporation and Pepsi Cola Company
both form.
(August) Joe Pulitzer donated $1 million to Columbia U
and begins Pulitzer Prizes
(December) First motorized flight performed at Kitty Hawk,
North Carolina by two bicycle makers from Ohio, Wilber
and Orville Wright. Fire at Chicagos Iriquois Theater kills
602

1904
(February) Russo-Japanese War begins between Russia
and Japan, with Japan launching a surprise attack on Port
Arthur. The United States of America gains control of the
Panama Canal Zone.
(March) Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany becomes the first
person to make a political recording of a document, using
Thomas Edisons cylinder. Russian troops in Korea retreat
toward Manchuria, followed by 100,000 Japanese troops.
(April) The Louisiana Purchase Exposition Worlds Fair
opens in St. Louis, Missouri. People claim that Government
agencies chased a Beast Man through the fair. The government flatly denies any such activity.
(May) U.S. Army engineers begin work on The Panama
Canal. Cy Young of the Boston Americans throws the first
perfect game in the modern era of baseball.
(July) The third Modern Olympic Games opens in St. Louis,
Missouri as part of the Worlds Fair. The British expedition
under Colonel Francis Younghusband takes Lhasa in Tibet.

(April) Albert Einstein works on the special theory of


relativity as well as the theory of Brownian motion.
(May) The Japanese fleet under Admiral Heihachiro Togo
destroys the Russian fleet under Admiral Zinovi Petrovich
Rozhdestvenski in a 2-day battle.
(June) The Norwegian Parliament declares the union with
Sweden dissolved, and Norway achieves full independence.
(September) Russo-Japanese War end results in disastrous
defeat for Russia; a treaty mediated by U.S. President
Theodore Roosevelt is signed by victor Japan and Russia.
Russia cedes the island of Sakhalin and port and rail rights
in Manchuria to Japan, and major civil unrest at home for
Russia.

(October) The Wright Brothers third airplane (Wright


Flyer III) stays in the air for 39 minutes with Wilbur piloting. This is the first airplane flight lasting over 1/2 an hour.
Tsar Nicholas II is forced to grant Russias first constitution,
conceding a national assembly (Duma) with limited
powers.
(November) Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King Haakon
VII of Norway.

1906
(February) British launch HMS Dreadnaught, first dreadnought class battleship.
(March) Mount Vesuvius erupts and devastates Naples.
(July) Alfred Dreyfus is exonerated. He is reinstalled in the
French Army on July 21, thus ending the Dreyfus Affair.
(August) The first Victor Victrola, a phonographic record
player, is manufactured.
(November) Thomas Carnacki, psychical researcher, is nearly
killed during the Black Veil investigation. Dr Ronald Aster,
a colleague, dies of fright after refusing to take protective
measures.

(October) The Russian Baltic Fleet fires on British trawlers


it mistakes for Japanese torpedo boats in the North Sea.
The first underground line of the New York City Subway
opens.

(December) The first German submarine, U-1, enters the


German Imperial Navy.

(November). Republican incumbent Theodore Roosevelt


defeats Democrat Alton B. Parker. The first successful
caterpillar track is made (it later revolutionizes construction vehicles and land warfare).

(March) Elections to the new Parliament of Finland are


the first in the world with woman candidates, as well as
the first elections in Europe where universal suffrage is
applied. Nineteen women are elected. The first taxicabs
with taxi meters begin operating in London.

1907

85

Pulp Fantastic
(July) Korea becomes a protectorate of Japan.
Parties led by T. W. Edgeworth David became the first to
climb Mount Erebus and to reach the South Magnetic Pole.

1908
(January) A long-distance radio message is sent from the
Eiffel Tower for the first time.
(June) The Tunguska event, also known as the Russian
explosion, occurs near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River
in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia, Russian Empire.
The cause of the explosion is never determined, though
theories range from the explosion of an extraterrestrial craft
to the impact of cometary debris. Shortly after the explosion,
the first samples of Element X are discovered.

(April) Robert Peary, Matthew Henson, and four Eskimo


explorers come within a few miles of the North Pole.
They discover a previously unknown Martian advance base,
what they discover inside is of particular interest.
(July) Louis Bleriot is the first man to fly across the English
Channel (thus a large open body of water) in a heavierthan-air craft.
(November) The U.S. Navy founds a navy base in Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii.
(December) King Albert I of Belgium succeeds his uncle,
Leopold II, on the throne.

1910
(April) Comet Halley is visible from Earth.

(July) Robert Peary sets sail for the North Pole. Ordered by
his superiors in Division 4 to investigate the source of
strange radio signals.
(September) At Ft. Myer, Virginia, U.S.A. Thomas Selfridge
becomes the first person to die in an airplane crash. The
pilot, Orville Wright, is severely injured in the crash but
recovers. Henry Ford produces his first Model T automobile.

GAZETEER

(October) Thomas Carnacki files a patent for his Electric


Pentacle.
(November) Western bandits Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are supposedly killed in Bolivia, after being
surrounded by a large group of soldiers. There are many
rumors to the contrary however, and their grave sites are
unmarked.
A 40,000-year-old Neanderthal boy skeleton is found at
Le Moustier in southwest France.
Professor George Edward Challenger mounts a solo expedition
to South America, during which he claims to have discovered
evidence that several dinosaur species have survived into
the modern day. His evidence is scoffed at by scientific authorities, and the intense interest (and mockery) of the press
results in Challenger assaulting several journalists.

1909
(March) William Howard Taft succeeds Theodore Roosevelt
to become the 27th President of the United States. Einar
Dessau uses a short-wave radio transmitter, becoming the
first radio broadcaster. Theodore Roosevelt leaves New
York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip is
sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National
Geographic Society.

86

(May) Edward VII of England dies from an unknown lung


condition. George V succeeds him as King of England.
History records the disease that kills Edward VII as bronchitis.
Privately, physicians suspect a pathogen left over from the
Martian invasion of 1901.
(June) The DELAG Zeppelin dirigible, Deutschland, makes
the first commercial passenger flight from Friedrichshafen
to Dsseldorf in Germany. The flight takes nine hours.
(July) A wireless telegraph sent from the SS Montrose
results in the identification, arrest and execution of murderer Dr. Hawley Crippen.
(October) Portugal becomes a republic; King Manuel II of
Portugal flees to England.
Professor Challenger mounts a second expedition to South
America, accompanied by Lord John Roxton, Edward Dunn
Malone and Professor Arthur Summerlee, and discovers Maple
White Land, the fabled Lost World. On their return, Challenger presents a live pterodactyl to the Royal Zoological
Institute. Despite the creature escaping, Challenger is vindicated.

1911
(January) In London, in what becomes known as the Siege
of Sidney Street, the Metropolitan Police and the Scots
Guards engage in a shootout with a criminal gang of
Latvian anarchists held up in a building in the East End.
(March) The United States Army formally adopts the M1911
pistol as its standard sidearm, thus giving the gun its 1911
designation.
(May) Pancho Villa launches an attack against government
troops in Ciudad Juarez without Maderos permission.
Government troops surrender May 10.

The Pulp Years


(June) Thomas Carnacki gains wide notoriety when an investigation of an apparently haunted ship ends with the destruction of the vessel under mysterious circumstances.
(September) The liner RMS Olympic, sister ship to the RMS
Titanic, collides with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke
outside Southampton, England. Sabotage to the Olympics
steering mechanism by the Order of Victoria is suspected.
(December) George V of the United Kingdom and Mary of
Teck are crowned as Emperor of India and Empress Consort,
respectively, in New Delhi.

1912
(January) New Mexico is admitted as the 47th U.S. state.
British polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott and a team of
4 become the second expeditionary group to reach the
South Pole.
(February) Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state.
(April) On April 10, the British ocean liner, RMS Titanic,
leaves on her maiden voyage for New York, three days later
she will strike and iceberg and sink to the bottom of the
ocean, taking with her the lives of more than 1,500 people.
Again the Order of Victoria is suspected.
(May) The 1912 Summer Olympics open in Stockholm,
Sweden.
(October) While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
former President Theodore Roosevelt is shot by saloonkeeper John Schrank. With a fresh flesh wound and the
bullet still in him, Roosevelt delivers his scheduled speech.
After finishing his speech, he went to the hospital, where
it was deduced that if he had not had his speech in his breast
pocket when he was shot, he most likely would have died.

(July) The 50th anniversary commemoration of the Battle


of Gettysburg draws thousands of American Civil War
veterans and their families to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
(December) The Federal Reserve is created by Woodrow
Wilson.
The British steamship Calvadas disappears in the Marmara
Sea with 200 hands on board.

1914
(January) Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce, American editorialist, journalist, short-story writer and satirist, disappears
while traveling with Pancho Villa, documenting the
Mexican Civil War, and is never seen again.
(March) Katherine Routledge and her husband arrive in
Easter Island to make the first true study of it (they depart
August 1915)
(June) Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of
the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo.

(July) The Signal Corps of the United States Army is formed,


giving definite status to its air service for the first time.
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia orders a full mobilization against
Austria-Hungary.
(August) Germany, an ally of Austria-Hungary, declares
war on Russia and demands the neutrality of Russias ally
France; France refuses and mobilizes.

(November) Woodrow Wilson wins a landslide victory


over Republican incumbent William Howard Taft. Tafts
base is undercut by Progressive Party candidate (and
former Republican) Theodore Roosevelt, who finishes
second, ahead of Taft.
Edward Dunn Malone, assisted by Arthur Conan Doyle, publishes The Lost World, his account of the Maple White Land
expedition of 1910.

1913
(February) The United State Congress passes the Income
Tax amendment to the US Constitution.
(April) The United States Congress passes the Senatorial
Election amendment to the US Constitution.
(June) Thomas Carnacki publishes a paper detailing the workings of his Mentaphone, a device for detecting and recording mental impulses.

87

Pulp Fantastic
(September) No member of the Triple Entente (Britain,
France, or Russia) may seek a separate peace with the
Central Powers. First Battle of the Marne: Northeast of
Paris, the French 6th Army under General Maunoury
attacks German forces nearing Paris. Over 2 million fight
(500,000 killed/wounded) in the Allied victory. China
declares neutrality.
(December) British and German soldiers interrupt World
War I to celebrate Christmas, beginning the Christmas truce.

1915
(January) The first use of poison gas in WW1, by Germany
at Bolimow in Poland. The United States House of Representatives rejects a proposal to give women the right to
vote. German zeppelins bomb the cities of Great Yarmouth
and Kings Lynn in the United Kingdom for the first time,
killing more than 20.
(February) Germany declares a submarine blockade of
Great Britain. Any ship approaching England is considered
a legitimate target.

GAZETEER

(May) The RMS Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat,


killing 1,198.
(September) The Pennsylvania Railroad begins electrified
commuter rail service between Paoli and Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, using overhead AC trolley wires for power.
This type of system is later used in long-distance passenger trains between New York City, Washington, D.C., and
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The first prototype tank is tested
for the British Army for the first time. Former cartoonist
John B. Gruelle is given a patent for his Raggedy Ann doll.
(October) The U.S. recognizes the Mexican government
of Venustiano Carranza de facto.
(November) The governments of Britain and France secretly agree to overtake the Middle-Eastern regions of the
Ottoman Empire (mostly Syria and Iraq), and establish
their own zones of influence.

1916
(January) Paris is bombed by German zeppelins for the
first time.
(February) The Battle of Verdun begins in France.
(March) Pancho Villa leads about 500 Mexican raiders in
an attack against Columbus, New Mexico, killing 12 U.S.
soldiers. A garrison of the U.S. 13th Cavalry Regiment fights
back and drives them away. President Woodrow Wilson
sends 12,000 United States troops over the U.S.-Mexico
border to pursue Pancho Villa; the 13th Cavalry regiment
enters Mexican territory. The U.S. 7th and 10th Cavalry
regiments under John J. Pershing cross the border to join
the hunt for Villa; however Pershings real missing was to
capture a Mayan crystal skull from Villa by any means
necessary.
(April) The light switch is invented by William J. Newton
and Morris Goldberg. The British 47th Brigade, 16th Irish
88

Division is decimated in one of the most heavily concentrated German gas attacks of the war.
(June) U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.
(August) Portugal joins the Allies.
(September) British pilot William Leefe-Robinson becomes
the first to shoot down a German airship over Britain.
Charles Foster Kane runs for governor of New York State and
loses.

1917
(January) President Woodrow Wilson calls for peace
without victory in Europe.
(March) Professor Challenger and Lord Roxton take a second
expedition to Maple White Land, returning with dinosaur
eggs and diamonds.
(February) The United States severs diplomatic relations
with Germany. Mata Hari is arrested for spying. United
States ambassador to the United Kingdom, Walter H. Page,
is shown the intercepted Zimmermann Telegram, in which
Germany offers to give the American Southwest back to
Mexico if Mexico declares war on the United States.
Russian Tsar is over thrown, Provincial Government under
Alexander Kerensky now in place.
(April) U.S. President Woodrow Wilson asks the U.S. Congress
for a declaration of war on Germany, and they grant it.
(November) The workers of Petrograd in Russia, led by the
Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, attack the Kerensky
Provisional Government.

1918
(January) President Woodrow Wilson declares his 14 points
as the path to permanent world peace.
(March) Germany, Austria and Bolshevist Russia sign the
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending Russias involvement in
the war. Moscow becomes the capital of Soviet Russia.
(April) Baron von Richthofen, the Red Baron is killed in
aerial dog-fight.
(June) Grand Duke Michael Romanov is murdered, thereby
becoming the first of the Romanovs to be murdered by
the Bolsheviks.
(October) In the Argonne Forest in France, U.S. Corporal
Alvin C. York almost single-handedly kills 25 German
soldiers and captures 132.
(November) At eleven oclock on the eleventh day of the
eleventh month of 1918, the war ends as Germany and
Allies sign an Armistice.
(December) President Woodrow Wilson departs by ship
to the Paris Peace Conference, becoming the first United

The Pulp Years


States President to travel to any foreign country while
holding office.

1919
(June) The United States Congress approves the 19th
Amendment to the United States Constitution, which
would guarantee suffrage to women, and sends it to the
U.S. states for ratification.
League of Nations formed, USA is not a member. The
United States fails to ratify a peace treaty with Germany
and sues for a separate peace.
John Moses Browning finalizes the design for the M1919
.30 (30-06) caliber medium machine gun, the first widely
distributed and practical air cooled medium machine gun
introduced to the US Military. It receives an official designation and production is started in the same year, a very
uncommon happening.

1920
(January) Prohibition goes into effect in the United States
as the Law of the Land by the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution the following year.
(July) Pancho Villa takes over Sabina and contacts de la
Huerta to offer his conditional surrender. He signs his
surrender on July 28.
(August) The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution is passed, guaranteeing womens suffrage.
(September) A bomb in a horse wagon explodes in front
of the J. P. Morgan building in New York City, killing 38
and injuring 400. The first domestic radio sets come to
stores in the United States; a Westinghouse radio costs
$10.
(October) The League of Nations moves its headquarters
to Geneva, Switzerland.
(November) In Geneva, the first assembly of the League
of Nations is held.
(December) The Brussels Conference establishes a timetable for German war reparations intended to extend for
over 42 years.

1921
(March) Warren G. Harding is inaugurated as the 29th
President of the United States.
(April) The Allies of World War I reparations commission
announces that Germany has to pay 132 billion gold marks
($33 trillion) in annual installments of 2.5 billion.
(November) During an Armistice Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknowns is
dedicated by U.S. President Warren G. Harding.
Russian Civil War ends after three years with Bolsheviks,
led by Lenin and Trotsky, in full control.

1922
(February) President of the United States Warren G.
Harding introduces the first radio in the White House.
(March) United States commissions its first aircraft carrier,
the USS Langley.
(April) Joseph Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the
Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party.
(June) U.S. President Warren G. Harding makes his first
speech on the radio.
(August) United States and Germany sign the Treaty of
Berlin, officially ending the state of war between the two
countries.
(October) Benito Mussolini becomes the youngest Premier
in the history of Italy.
(November) British archaeologist Howard Carter discovers
the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypts Valley of the Kings.
When he enters the tomb on November 21, along with
Lord Carnarvon, he is the first person to step into the tomb
in over 3,000 years.

1923
(January) Juan de la Cierva invents the autogyro, a rotary-winged aircraft with an unpowered rotor.
(July) Poncho Villa is assassinated.
(September) In Lakehurst, New Jersey, the first American
airship, the USS Shenandoah, takes to the sky for the first
time.
(October) Roy and Walt Disney Founded The Walt Disney
Company. Warren G. Harding dies in office and is succeeded by Calvin Coolidge, as President of the United States.
(November) In Munich, Adolf Hitler leads the Nazis in an
unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government; police and troops crush the attempt the next day.
(December) The crown prince of Japan survives an assassination attempt in Tokyo.

1924
(January) Following the death of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph
Stalin immediately begins to purge his rivals to clear the
way for his leadership.
(April) Adolf Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in jail for his
participation in the Beer Hall Putsch (he serves only 8
months). Harry Grindell Matthews demonstrates his new
weapon, the death ray, in London but fails to convince the
British War Office of its importance; however he does gain
the attention of MI7.
(May) J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
(June) U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian
Citizenship Act of 1924 into law, granting citizenship to
89

Pulp Fantastic
all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of
the United States.
(October) Zeppelin LZ-126 makes a transatlantic delivery
flight from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to Lakehurst, New
Jersey.

Germany joins League of Nations; Spain resigns membership.


(February) Discovery of Mayan city ruins in Mexicos
Yucatan peninsula.

1925

(March) Robert Goddard launches liquid fuel rocket at


Auburn, Massachusetts.

Conference on International Arms Trade in Geneva produces the Geneva Protocol of 1925 against chemical and
bacteriological warfare. The US and Japan refuse to ratify
the agreement.
Arkansas passes a law making it unlawful to have sex
before marriage.
An estimated 5% of liquor that is smuggled into the U.S.
is intercepted by law enforcement officials.
Adolph Hitler founds the Schutzstaffel or SS. They begin
as his protective guard and eventually become the elite
police corps of the Nazi party.
Russia and Japan sign agreement to end rift left by the
1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war. Japan agrees to withdraw
troops from Sakhalin Island in exchange for oil and coal
concessions

GAZETEER

Rudolph Valentino dies of perforated ulcer at age 31.

U.S. bootleggers begin to use Thompson submachine guns.

General vaccine programs against tuberculosis begin in


the United States.

(April) German serial killer Fritz Haarmann,


The Butcher of Hanover, who murdered
at least 26 young boys and sold the flesh
of some as meat, is executed by decapitation
(May) John T. Scopes is arrested for
teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee state law. Despite Clarence
Darrow defense (against politician
William Jennings Bryan), Scopes
is found guilty on July 21. He is
fined $100 plus court costs, but
the entire case is dismissed on
a technicality on appeal, in
January 1927, to the Tennessee
Supreme Court.
The hydrocarbon synthesis necessary for the development of
synthetic oil (the Fischer-Tropsch
reaction) is discovered in
Germany.
(April) Field Marshal Paul von
Hindenburg elected president of
Germany

1926
Nikola Tesla erects radio
towers at the Waldorf in New
90

York. Claims to get signals from outer space.

Revenue from bootlegging in the U.S. reaches estimated


$3.6 billion.
(May) U.S. Commander Richard E. Byrd and pilot Floyd
Bennett fly over the North Pole.
(October) Harry Houdini dies in Detroit from peritonitis.
The Kodak Co. produces the first 16 millimeter movie film.
Some 32,000 speakeasies operating in New York City;
roughly double the number of taverns prior to Prohibition.
American A.A. Michelson uses a series of mirrors set up
over 25 miles to measure the speed of light.
Rin Tin Tin, is biggest box office star of 1926.

1927
New Years Day: Forty-one deaths at New Yorks Bellevue
Hospital due to bad booze. An estimated 50,000 deaths
thus far during Prohibition, plus hundreds of thousands
of non-fatal blindness and paralysis cases.
Al Capones operations receive an estimated $60,000,000
from bootlegging.
The Stork Club on New Yorks 53rd street
opens.
(January) Transatlantic telephone service established
between New York and London.
(May) Charles Lindbergh flies solo from Curtis
Field, Long Island to Paris, France in his
monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis.
U.S. Supreme Court finds Texas law barring
blacks from voting in State Primaries unconstitutional.
(March) American consulate in Nanking ransacked
by Chinese troops.
U.S. inventor Philo T. Farnsworth demonstrates electronic television in San Francisco.
New York Yankees baseball star Babe Ruth hits
his 60th home run for the season.
Worlds largest vehicular tunnel, the
Holland Tunnel, opens to connect New
York City and Jersey City.
Ford unveils the Model A to replace the
antiquated Model T. Crowds flock to Fords

The Pulp Years


Detroit and New York offices to see the new automobile
Duke Ellington and his orchestra open for a four-year run
at The Cotton Club in New York Citys Harlem.
Show Boat opens on Broadway and becomes one of the
biggest stage musical hits in history.
(December) Joseph Stalins control of Russia almost certain.
Communist party bans all opposition to Stalins policies.
Leon Trotsky and others purged from the party.
Average annual income in U.S., $2,400.
Al Capones annual income estimated between $20 million
and $100 million.
First tetanus shot administered to humans.

1928
Federal Reserve withdraws $80 billion from the US Government.
Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.
Third International Congress of Eugenics. At the conference, a Dr. Robie calls for the sterilization of 14 million
Americans with low IQ scores.
Herbert Hoover defeats Al Smith, becomes U.S. president
Stock market breaks and falls in June, but recovers quickly.
Market breaks again December 7, but once again recovers.
Trading volume reaches almost seven million.
Amelia Earhart becomes first woman to cross the Atlantic
First television sets available to consumers; $75 each
Mickey Mouse premieres in Plane Crazy, a silent cartoon
parody of the Lindbergh craze.
General Electric begins first regularly scheduled television
broadcasts, three days a weeks for two hours each, at
station WGY in Schenectady, N.Y .
(July) Womens events are featured for the first time at the
summer Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
The Dodge Brothers merge with Chrysler Corporation in
July. That month, the Plymouth model appears. The De
Soto follows in August.
(August) The Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact is signed in Paris
by 65 nations, including the U.S.
The Chrysler Corporation unveils plan for its new headquarters, the Chrysler Building.
(October) Germanys Graf Zeppelin dirigible arrives at
Lakehurst, N.J.
Albert Szent-Gyorgi discovers vitamin C.
Rickards and A.H. Refell build the first working robot
(United Kingdom).

Hans Geiger and Walther Muller make first feasible Geiger


counter to measure radiation. Geiger had invented the
original device in 1912.
Professor George Edward Challenger invents a drilling machine
and drills into the Earth in order to prove his theory that it
is a living being. Unsubstantiated claims are made that his
machine is destroyed by some kind of creature, contradicting
the claims of previous deep geological explorers.

1929
Professor Challenger and Edward Malone meet with Professor Theodore Nemor who has built a machine that disintegrates and reintegrates objects and people. Nemor is never
seen again and the device is seized by the Invisible College
just prior to agents from MI-7 arriving on the scene.
Admiral Byrd conducts expeditions to both poles. He and
his pilot Bernt Balchen are the first to fly over the South
Pole

Construction on the Empire State Building begins.


St. Valentines Day Massacre gangland hit, ordered by Al
Capone against North Side boss Bugs Moran, leaves 7
bullet-riddled corpses on the floor of a North Chicago
garage. Moran was not one of them
New York Stock Exchange sets records throughout the
year, despite several sharp corrections and recoveries. On
October 24, trading volume reaches a record 12,894,650
as stocks dive. Charles E. Mitchell, Albert H. Wiggin (Chase
National Bank), William Potter (Guaranty Trust Company)
and Seward Prosser (Bankers Trust Company) meet with
Thomas W. Lamont of J.P. Morgan on Wall Street and agree
to invest $40 million each to shore up the stock market.
Five days later, the market collapses
Charles Lindbergh starts Central American air-mail
service.
First color television is demonstrated in the US and
England.
Electroencephalograph invented by Hans Berger in
Germany.

1930
Dr Sir John Hamish Watson, former colleague of Sherlock
Holmes, retires from practice at the age of 71 after the death
of his second wife. He moves to a villa on the coast of California, north of San Francisco, in order to be close to his remaining family.
(February) The ninth planet is discovered by Clyde Tombaugh after its existence is predicted by Percival Lowell.
Tombaugh spots the planet on 2/18 but holds announcement until 3/13 (Lowells birthday) and names it Pluto
based on Lowells initials.
91

Pulp Fantastic
By the end of the year, millions are unemployed. Apple
sellers fill New York City street corners.
Chrysler Building is completed and becomes the tallest
building in the world. Manhattans 800-foot, 68-story, art
deco Colossus. It will soon be relegated to second-tallest
by the Empire State Building.

Gangster Al Capone is jailed for tax evasion.

Boston bans all works by Russian revolutionary Leon


Trotsky.

Amelia Earhart establishes the Pitcairn autogiro worlds


altitude record at 18,451 feet.

France begins building Maginot Line.

After severe monsoon rains, the Yangtze River in China


floods; dikes and dams break, inundating over 35,000
square miles and leaving 40,000,000 homeless.

Constantinople renamed Istanbul.


Turksib Railroad connecting Turkestan and Siberia opens.
Austria and Italy sign friendship treaty. Britain, France,
Italy, Japan and U.S. sign naval disarmament treaty.
U.S. Marines are stationed in Haiti and Nicaragua to assist
the local authorities and preserve U.S. interests.
Amy Johnson becomes the first woman to fly solo between
England and Australia. She makes the trip in 19.5 days.
(April) Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York,
14 hours, 45 minutes.

GAZETEER

(October) The British airship R101 crashes near Beauvais,


France while en route to India. Forty-six passengers and
crew burn to death.
Rumors surround the crash of the R101. One has it that it was
carrying a newly discovered Tesla device. Its whereabouts, if
it existed, are unknown and is presumed to have been destroyed in the fire. A second, less wide-spread rumor, is that
the craft was engaged in secret diplomatic work with an
extraterrestrial visitor. Little evidence is found to support
either story.

1931
The Star Spangled Banner becomes U.S. anthem. Words
by Francis Scott Key, music from Anacreon in Heaven.
President Herbert Hoover suggests a one-year moratorium
for reparations and war debts.
(July) German banks close until August 5 following failure
of Danatbank.
German millionaire Hugenberg finances 800,000-member
Nazi party; Kirdof, Thyssen and Schroder follow suit.

92

Reports that completion of the Empire State Building is


delayed by sightings of strange robotic machines and pig-like
humanoid creatures in and around the building remain unsupported.

Karl Jansky, an American Engineer, detects anomalous


signals while conducting experiments on radio wavelength
interference. These are the same signals detected by Tesla
5 years earlier.

1932
(January) 70,000 Japanese troops storm Shanghai and
drive out the Chinese 19th Route Army; Japan establishes
a puppet empire, Manchukuo, under Emperor Pu-yi, in
Manchuria in February; an agreement between China and
Japan sets up a demilitarized zone and ends the boycott
against Japanese goods.
U.S. unemployment reaches 13.7 million; worldwide unemployment is approximately 30 million.
(May) The SS Venture returns to New York from Skull Island
with a living specimen of a unknown species of ape, larger
than any previously recorded. At the first public exhibition
of the creature it breaks free, causing chaos before it dies in
a fall from the top of the Empire State Building. The body is
immediately confiscated by Division 4, along with all charts
and documentary evidence showing the location of Skull
Island.
Charles Lindberghs baby is kidnapped from his home on
March 1. The kidnapper sends a ransom note and the
$50,000 ransom is paid. The baby is not returned.
During the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, a secret
arm of the Nazi party attempts to disrupt the games by
killing athletes. They are thwarted by agents of Division 4.

Mukden Incident in September begins Japanese occupation


of Manchuria. China boycotts Japanese goods (China is
Japans principal market).

Stimson Doctrine (Secretary of State Henry Stimson) protests Japanese presence in Manchuria. The U.S. announces
it will not recognize gains made through armed aggression.

Gandhi ends second civil disobedience campaign with


signing of Delhi Pact. Britain releases non-violent political prisoners.

Austrian-born Adolf Hitler receives German citizenship.


Franklin D. Roosevelt wins the U.S. presidential election
in an electoral landslide over Herbert Hoover, 472 to 59.

Empire State Building completed.

Amelia Earhart flies solo across the Atlantic Ocean on May


20 -- the first woman to do so. Newfoundland to Londonderry in 13.5 hours.

The Pulp Years

93

Pulp Fantastic

1933
Unemployment in the U.S. reaches 17 million.
547 films are produced in the U.S.
The first rock paintings by the Sahara Deserts prehistoric inhabitants are found at Tassili.
Albert Einstein settles in U.S. at the Institute for Advanced
Studies in Princeton, N.J.
Chicago Worlds Fair; A Century of Progress International
Exposition.
(February) An attempted assassination of President-elect
Roosevelt by Giuseppe Zangara
(March) Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes 32nd president
at age 51. He begins the New Deal economic plan starting with a bank holiday closing all United States banks
for a week.
(March) The movie King Kong is released.
The movie is based on events taking place in New York the
previous year. Despite protests from the families of some of
the dead, the movie is a major success. Many are convinced
that the events of the previous year were a publicity stunt
that went badly wrong.

GAZETEER

(April) America abandons the gold standard.


(May) Thomas Carnacki investigates an apparent haunting
in the vault of a central London bank. He is sealed in the vault
overnight inside his electric pentacle. When the vault is
opened in the morning it is empty. Carnacki is never seen
again.

(December) Prohibition repealed at 5:32 p.m. EST on December 5. Journalist H.L. Mencken (working for the Baltimore Sun) reputedly drinks the first legal beer and proclaims it good.
U.S. Congress votes for independence of the Philippines.
Reichstag (Parliament Building) fire in Berlin; Adolf Hitler
named Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg
and gets dictatorial powers.
Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.
U.S. Marines are withdrawn from Nicaragua.
Wiley Post (who is blind in one eye) lands his Lockheed
Vega, the Winnie Mae, in New York after circumnavigating
the globe in 7 days, 19 hours.
Admiral Byrd begins his second Antarctic expedition.
Byrd locates Captain Nemos hidden Antarctic Base. Byrd is
debriefed by his superiors in Division 4 and upon his return
to the United States and all records of his discovery are seized.

94

A British airplane flies over Mt. Everest.


(February) Malcolm Campbell sets a land speed record of
273 mph in the 2,450 horsepower Bluebird.
(April) Dirigible Akron crashes into the Pacific Ocean near
midnight; only 4 of 77 aboard are saved.
The United States repeals prohibition with the passage of
the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Secret World Treaty of 1933 is signed by the nations of the
world, giving the Air Cavalry the offical role of Protectors of
the Skies by World decree. Their role is often downplayed,
passed off to the public as one of entertainment.

1934
Worldwide scheduled air service routes total 223,100 miles.
Over 100 million miles are actually flown during the year.
S.S. Queen Mary and Frances S.S. Normandie (the largest
ship of its time) are launched.
(May) Texas outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are
killed in Louisiana after an epic investigation by famed
Texas peace officer Frank Hamer.
Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the Lindbergh baby
kidnapping on September 20.
On July 21, John Dillinger is ambushed outside a movie
theater and shot to death at age 32.
Heinrich Himmler becomes chief of Reich Police with
Reinhard Heydrich in charge of the Gestapo.
Night of the Long Knives. On June 30, Hitler cleans out
his ranks by having dissidents and troublemakers assassinated during the night.
(August) German president von Hindenburg dies at 88.
Adolf Hitler becomes president.
Japan renounces the naval limitation treaties of 1922 and
1930.
Mao Tse-tung and 90,000 followers embark on a Long
March of 8,000 miles.
Charles William Beebe descends 3,028 feet into the ocean
off Bermuda.
First practical test of radar is conducted by the German
Navy.

1935
The U.S. Congress passes a Neutrality Act prohibiting
transportation of weapons to warring countries.
Huey Long, senator, former governor and major national
rival to FDR, barely survives an attempted assassination
by Dr. Carl Weiss in the Louisiana Capitol Building. Huey
Long then goes underground.

The Pulp Years


(February) Bruno Hauptmann is convicted of Lindbergh
kidnapping and murder.
Germany defies the Versailles treaty and reinstates compulsory military service.
Russia signs treaties with the U.S., France, Czechoslovakia
and Turkey.
Charles F. Richter develops a scale for measuring earthquakes.
A Pan American Clipper (a 19-ton flying boat) flies from
San Francisco to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 18 hours 39
minutes, making it the first transpacific transport plane.

1936
(January) King George V of England dies, Edward VIII
becomes King.
(November) King Edward VIII of England abdicates to
marry an American divorcee, Wallis Warfield Simpson.
Following his abdication of the throne, rumors abound
that he is a secret Nazi sympathizer. The reality is much
worse.
(November) President Roosevelt is re-elected in landslide
over Alfred M. Landon
The Spanish Civil War begins with an army revolt in
Morocco
German troops occupy the demilitarized Rhineland
Mussolini and Hitler form the Rome/Berlin Axis.
Anti-Comintern Pact signed by Germany and Japan.
Leon Trotsky, Stalins greatest rival for international communist leadership, settles in Mexico.
Floods sweep Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
The dirigible Hindenburg makes her maiden voyage across
the Atlantic on May 9.
J.A. Mollison flies from Newfoundland to London in 13
hours, 17 minutes.
Mrs. Amy Mollison (formerly Johnson) flies from Britain
to Cape Town in 3 days, 6 hours, 25 minutes.
Jean Batten flies solo from Britain to New Zealand in 11
days, 56minutes.
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation builds the first pressurized
cabin airplane.
(August) An agent of Division 4, locates and captures what
is believed to be the Ark of the Covenant from Nazi agents
in the deserts of Egypt. The device is stored in Division 4s
Warehouse 51 for study.

1937
Over 500,000 people in the U.S. are involved in sit-down
strikes (from 9/36 to 5/37).
The Lincoln Tunnel becomes the second major vehicular
tunnel between New York and New Jersey.
The Golden Gate Bridge opens.
Insulin is used to control diabetes.
Wallace H. Carothers patents nylon for du Pont.
Literature: Ernest Hemingways To Have and Have Not;
George Orwells The Road to Wigan Pier; John Steinbecks
Of Mice and Men; J.R.R. Tolkiens The Hobbit.
Londons Daily Telegraph and Morning Post merge.
Popular Music: Bei Mir Bist Du Schon, The Lady Is a Tramp,
A Foggy Day in London Town, Whistle While You Work,
Its Nice Work If You Can Get It, Ive Got My Love to Keep
Me Warm.

Babes in Arms, a Rodgers and Hart musical comedy, opens


in New York.
Films: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (a Walt Disney
feature-length cartoon), Camille (starring Greta Garbo),
and the Academy Award winner Life of Emile Zola (starring
Paul Muni).
Joe Louis wins the heavyweight title, defeating James J.
Braddock in the eighth round (Chicago, June 22).
New York Yankees (A.L.) beat New York Giants (N.L.) in
the World Series, 4 to 1.
War Admiral wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and
Belmont.
U.S. Tennis team wins the Davis Cup from Britain.
The first shipment of gold arrives at the National Bullion
Depository, Fort Knox, Kentucky in mid-January.
The Hindenburg goes down in a massive fireball on May
6.
All-India Congress Party wins in the Indian elections.
Aden becomes a British Crown Colony.
President Roosevelt signs the U.S. Neutrality Act.
Following an incident at the Marco Polo Bridge near Peiping
(Peking), Japan launches an undeclared war on China.
Japanese atrocities outrage world opinion (July 7).
Japanese planes sink the U.S. gunboat Panay on the Yangtze
River (December 12).
Japanese seize Peking, Tientsin, Shanghai, Nanking and
Hangchow. Italy withdraws from the League of Nations
and joins the Anti-Comintern Pact.
Guernica, the Holy City in Spains Basque region, is
bombed by German planes allied to the Spanish Nationalists.
95

Pulp Fantastic
The Kuomintang (Nationalists) under Chiang Kai-shek
unite with Communists led by Mao Tse-tung to fight Japan.
President Roosevelt dedicates Bonneville Dam on the
Columbia River in Oregon.
S.S. Normandie crosses Atlantic Ocean in 3 days, 23 hours,
2 minutes.
Amelia Earhart and co-pilot Frederick Noonan are lost
over the Pacific Ocean in their Lockheed Electra. Scores
of search vessels fail to turn up the slightest trace (7/2).

1939

1938

The Worlds Fair opens in New York City on April 30,


drawing record crowds.

40-hour work week established in the U.S.

Nylon stockings are first offered for sale.

Lambeth Walk becomes the fashionable dance.

Literature: Adolf Hitlers Mein Kampf in English; James


Joyces Finnegans Wake; John Steinbecks The Grapes of
Wrath; T.S. Eliots The Family Reunion; C.S. Foresters
Captain Horatio Hornblower.

Literature: Daphne du Mauriers Rebecca; William Faulkners The Unvanquished; Ernest Hemingways The Fifth
Column; Sinclair Lewis The Prodigal Parents.
Pearl S. Buck wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Popular Music: Flat Foot Floogie with a Floy Floy, September Song, Jeepers Creepers, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, A Tisket, A Tasket.
Films: Pygmalion (starring Leslie Howard), The Lady Vanishes (directed by Alfred Hitchcock), Bank Holiday (Carol
Reed), and the Academy Award winner You Cant Take It
With You.

GAZETEER

U.S. Tennis Team defeats Australia to retain the Davis Cup.


New York Yankees defeat Chicago Cubs 4 to 0 in the World
Series.
Howard Hughes circumnavigates the globe by airplane in
3 days, 19 hours.
(October) On Halloween, Orson Welles broadcasts the
Mercury Theatre on the Airs adaptation of The War of the
Worlds, causing nationwide panic.
Welles is coerced into making the broadcast by Division 4, as
part of a cover-up after a second Martian expeditionary force
lands near the town of Grovers Mill, New Jersey. The invasion
is swiftly halted by Division 4. Despite several casualties and
substantial property damage, the cover-up is successful and
almost brings Welles career to a halt.

Pulp magazine The Avenger (issue #1) is released in September.


Popular Music: God Bless America, Three Little Fishes,
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Beer Barrel Polka, Ill Never
Smile Again.
Films: The Wizard of Oz (in color; starring Judy Garland),
Ninotchka (starring Greta Garbo), Pinocchio (a Walt Disney
Feature-length cartoon), Good-Bye, Mr. Chips (starring
Robert Donat) and Academy Award winner Gone With
The Wind (starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh).
First televised baseball.
New York Yankees shut out Cincinnati Reds 4 to 0 in the
World Series.
President Roosevelt asks $552 million for the defense
budget.
The Spanish Civil War ends; Francisco Franco rules Spain
as Caudillo (3/28). Spain joins
the Anti-Comintern Pact and leaves the League of Nations.
Japan occupies Hainan and blockades the British concession at Tientsin.

Japan installs a puppet government in Nanking (3/28),


takes Canton, Tsiangtao and Hankow.

Germany occupies Bohemia and Moravia, places Slovakia


under protection, annexes Memel and renounces most
military agreements. On 9/1 Germany invades Poland and
annexes Danzig. On 10/5 the last organized Polish resistance ends.

Germany seizes Austria (3/12-13) and Czechoslovakia


(10/3).

France and England declare war on Germany on September 3.

President Roosevelt sends Hitler and Mussolini a plea to


settle European difficulties amicably.

A British Expeditionary Force is sent to France.

Chinese troops divert the Yellow River to halt the Japanese


invasion. The resulting flood covers 20,000 square miles
and kills hundreds of thousands.

Russia invades Finland (11/30) and is expelled from the


League of Nations.

A hurricane strikes New England, killing 700 and doing


millions of dollars worth of damage (9/21).
96

Professor Challenger dies at the age of 71, peacefully in his


sleep. Shortly afterward, Enid Challenger, her husband Edward
Malone and Lord John Roxton found the George Edward
Challenger Centre for Exploration, Innovation and Research,
more commonly referred to simply as the Challenger Centre.
The Centres annual Challenger Award for Scientific Reason
becomes one of the most hotly sought after prizes in the
science community.

Russia invades Poland in alliance with Germany (9/17).

The United States announces neutrality on September 5,


but orders from European countries for war supplies make
a vast improvement in U.S. economy.

The Pulp Years


Radar is used in Britain to detect enemy aircraft; balloons
are used to protect against air attack.
Pan-American Airways begins regularly scheduled flights
between the U.S. and Europe on the Dixie Clipper. First
flight (from Long Island to Portugal) takes 20 hours, 16
minutes (5/20).
Pan-American Airways California Clipper lands at Auckland, New Zealand, completing the first flight of a regularly scheduled fortnightly service from San Francisco,
California (8/30)
The Heinkel He-178 makes the first jet-powered flight
(8/24)
Chilean earthquake devastates 50,000 square miles and
kills estimated 30,000 (1/24).
Severe earthquakes in Northern Turkey destroy city of
Erzingan and kill 100,000 (12/27).
Sir John Hamish Watson begins a second career as a radio
broadcaster in America. He introduces a long-running series
of radio adaptations of his adventures with Sherlock Holmes,
with Holmes played by Basil Rathbone and the younger
Watson played by close friend Nigel Bruce. The introductions
to each series are recorded in Sir Johns California home, and
feature frequent interruptions from his two dogs. Watson
uses this public platform to campaign for War Bonds and
against the evils of racism and fascism. Rathbone eventually gives up the role of Holmes in 1946 when Sir John dies from
natural causes at the age of 87, and the role is taken over by
sound-alike actor and friend, Tom Conway.

97

Chapter 5
Organizations & Secret Societies

rganizations are important to any setting, but most


of those in the pulp fantastic campaign are
secret and hidden. They are active, and player characters are typically members of one of these organizations
and will do what they can in the best interest of the organization.

From the dawn of the fantastic there has been a war raging
outside the view of humanity. This so-called Secret War
is a symbol of the way humanity is viewed. Sides determined to release the new found knowledge into the world,
versus those who are determined to hide it, believing that
the human race is not yet ready and there are things out
there that man was not yet meant to know.
Across the centuries there have been wheels within wheels,
secret deals, and behind closed door meetings that have
resulted in the turmoil and conflict over last few centuries.
Intellectual powers in conflict with each other have had
their differences moved into the greater world and in so
doing caused great strife across the planet.
There is a secret war that rages across the class lines, national borders and even philosophy. There is a secret war
that has spilled out into open warfare that has taken the
world by storm and destroyed nations as well as families.
The records are unclear, but sometime in the 15th or 16th
century a group of learned men got together to form a
secret society dedicated to controlling the world with
political and economic force to ensure the safety and well
being of the human species. A worthy and noble goal,
which led to tragic consequences.
As the years then decades passed this nameless secret
society worked to influence kings and princes as well as
captains of industry with varied results based on who was
doing the manipulation and how well their advice was
received. However this unknown group amassed great
wealth for themselves along the way.
As the years passed these secret masters, as they thought
of themselves, split off and each had their own nation or
region of the world to guide as they saw fit. With this
splintering of their core, they naturally came into more
and more conflict as each sought to guide their part of the
known world in a direction which they thought was best.
This led to a rise in the struggles between nations as each
master worked with a different methodology as well as

competing aims came into greater and greater conflict.


This competition ranged from political attacks to discredit opponents, to duels between proxies or actual masters,
to outright assassinations and religious denouncements.
These led to instabilities in the world and politics as each
master would struggle against one and another.
As centuries pass, the secret masters would name successors
and groom them to take over when their time would come.
Naturally drift in ideology and methodology came about,
and when a master would have multiple heirs or would die
too soon, internal wars would take over, leading to several
revolutions in nations, such as the Protestant Reformation
and the American as well as French Civil Wars.
As time passed, the secret masters of the world worked
with or against each other, these efforts gave rise to wars
in the 18th and 19th centuries such as the Franco-Prussian
War and with the assassination of the Secret Master of
Eastern Europe which led to the start of the First World
War.
With the advent of advanced technologies as well as the
heroes of the modern age, these secret masters would
recruit those bravos and adventurers to fuel or fulfill their
goals and aims, often through intermediaries or by posing
as wealthy philanthropists funding these men of mystery
or stalwart adventurers.
This then is the secret history of the world, a war that is being
waged behind the scenes and now waged in distant jungles
or crime ridden streets by the pulp heroes of the day.

Division 4
In early October 1901, President William McKinley signed
the executive order creating Division 4. This was done
about a month prior to his assassination at the hands of
Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist. Division 4 has one primary
goal, to gather alien and secret technology and store them
for the United States government to study and duplicate.
They are responsible for gaining technology from many
different places, including a piece of a Martian Tripod
from the 1901 invasion, which happens right after their
inception.
Division 4 is under the direct command of the President
of the United States, and they are quite often mistaken for

Pulp Fantastic
Secret Service agents, and quite often use that for cover,
a notable amount of Secret Service agents were doing the
job of Division 4 prior to its inception. The President issues
all orders directly, but depending on the President they
are often left to their own devices. Division 4 agents have
been used in everything from stealing of tech developed
by enemy nations to recovering lost tech from all over
the globe.

his notes on the creation of the Philosophers Stone. Some


claim that the Order was able to complete the work that
Newton was not able to finish, creating a Philosophers
Stone and ensuring the Orders means of wealth. Turning
base metals into gold meant that the order was not dependant on the generosity of their members, and meant that
they could pursue even the most obscure and costly of
rituals in their quest for knowledge.

French Foreign Legion

The Invisible College

The French Foreign Legion was a unique military unit set


up in 1831 by the French government to allow foreign
nationalist to enlist in the French military. The Great War
saw the legion in many critical battles in 1917, and suffered
heavy casualties in 1918.

The Invisible College was born out of a dreamand a


nightmare.

Hermetic Order of the


Golden Dawn

GAZETEER

The Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn, later renamed the


Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, is one of the largest
and most influential organizations of western occultism.
Though relatively new, this organization has greatly expanded in both membership and power, and some claim
it has an impact on both the political and industrial fronts
that is without compare.
In 1886 Rev. A.F.A. Woodford was given a document called
the Cipher Manuscript. The Manuscript, written in English
but encoded, did not interest the Reverend, so he passed it
on to his friend Dr. William Wynn Westcott. Dr. Westcott
managed to decode the Cipher Manuscript, discovering it
to be a detailed outline of the Grade Rituals of the Order,
and prescribed a curriculum of specifically graduated teachings that encompass the Hermetic Qabalah, Astrology,
Tarot, Geomancy, and Alchemy. Dr. Westcott brought in his
fellow Freemason Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers to
confirm his deciphering of the manuscript and to assist in
turning the writings into a usable set of rules for a new
lodge order.Mathers asked a third Freemason, Dr. William
Robert Woodman, to assist in this endeavor, and the core
of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn was formed.
In 1887 the trio officially opened the Order to others, and
soon a great many Initiates were learning the esoteric arts.
As the number of initiates grew, the influence of the Order
also grew. The teachings outlined in the Cipher Manuscript
were quite detailed, and those who followed the course of
study soon found their astrological readings were quite
specific, and quite accurate. In 1891, new initiate Arthur
Edward Waite began extensive teachings in the use of the
Tarot, consolidating the knowledge scattered through the
ages on their use and meaning. Other young initiates, like
Edward Alexander Crowley in 1897, showed a great deal
of talent in Alchemy and the Qabalah.
In 1890 it is rumored that the Order managed to acquire
the secret writings of Sir Isaac Newton, which contained
100

Mary Shelley, wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley and author of


the gothic novel Frankenstein, found inspiration during
her stay in Switzerland. In the summer of 1816, she accompanied Byron and Shelley during their travels. The
legend created by Byron and the Shelleys is that one night,
when a storm was raging over the lake, Mary Shelley and
her husband spent the night at Lord Byrons. Byron challenged them to think up ghost stories, but Mary Shelley
wrote nothing. Then, the night before Byron and Shelleys
boat trip on Lake Geneva, Mary Shelley had a nightmare.
That nightmare wasnt what would become a popular book
that would have a life longer than the original author
herself. No, her nightmares would be of humanity destroying itself with sciences that it did not understand advances that it had neither the ethics nor morality to use as they
were intended to be used, or to ignore those things that
were not meant for mankind.
From this weekend in Switzerland came a seed that would
bloom into the Invisible College. Percy Shelley would begin
to formulate some of the theories of this organization in
his 1819 essay In Defense of Poetry: Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors
of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the
present; the words which express what they understand
not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what
they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves.
Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
It was a feeling that only the artistic could save the world,
and save humanity from itself. In this period between 1816
and 1819, the guiding lights behind the Invisible College
began refining their processes. One of their primary
methods is to make actual events look fictional or so sensational that people would not believe that the events
could have possibly occurred. Hiding things in plain sight
is the best tool of the Invisible College. It was Mary Shelleys
Frankenstein that tested this technique for the first time.
It is not coincidental that the period of the ascendancy of
the Invisible College is parallel to the periods of the increase
of the popularity of Spiritualism and of the general interest in the fantastic in literature. These were all tools encouraged by the Invisible College in order to create an
environment of belief in the unknown and strange, but
only amongst those who would be easy enough to discredit or mock. This created the fertile ground into which the

Organizations & Secret Societies


membership of the Invisible College could place ideas so
that they could be more easily disbelieved by the majority of right thinking individuals in the world.
These methods also make it easy for a small, yet incredibly
dedicated group of individuals to be able to mold and form
public opinions on what is rational and what is irrational,
what can and what cannot be believed as true and proper.
These methods have also had far-reaching repercussions
in the realms of politics and marketing, and have had an
incredible impact on the world as a whole.
It is always important to remember that the Invisible
College has never had a large membership. While the
founders felt that artists and writers of all stripes were the
best suited to invisibly guide the world, they also knew
that those very people were very often the ones who could
be the least trusted. This is, in part, what has lead to the
existence of the Invisible College information being revealed at all the pettiness of individuals, particularly
those of an artistic nature, often leads to secret information
being released. This can also lead to rival organizations,
fighting against the Invisible Collegeor some even claiming to be the Invisible College! Just because players are
fighting against the Invisible College, or think that they
are members of it, it does not mean that they actually are
doing what they think that they are doing.
This is a problem in a world where there are too many
secrets. It is so much harder to get at the real truths of
things, if that is what you desire to do.
This goes to demonstrate that there is no central dogma
to the Invisible College. As it has adapted, evolved, changed
and grown with each successive set of leaders, so too does
each individual cell (called Universities by the organization) make its own rules and interpret the ideology of the
organization according to its own goals and plans. Often,
people working towards the goals of a University, or of its
leadership, will not realize that those goals do not completely match up with what the College itself is teaching
to its membership. All of this is intended to give a gm the
maximum flexibility with using the Invisible College in
their games. There is no one official Invisible College.

Knights of the Round Table


The year 1837 saw not only the coronation of Queen Victoria, but also the foundation of the Most Holy and Restored
Order of the Knights of the Round Table. Joshua GriffythJones, a prominent New York banker and amateur historian, began the fraternal organization because of his familys
fascination with the original knightly order. Family tradition
holds that the Griffyth-Jones family are direct descendants
of Sir Girflet, one of the last of the original Knights of the
Round Table. Sir Girflet fought alongside King Arthur in
the great final battle against Mordred. When Arthur fell, it
was Sir Girflet who was there to fulfill Arthurs last wish.
Arthur commanded Girflet to cast Excalibur into a nearby
lake. When he did so, a hand rose up from the lake, caught
the sword, and sank below the water. Sir Girflet alone knew
the secret of the lake. Feeling as if he were the last defender of Camelot, Sir Girflet vowed that he would maintain the
honor, the integrity, and the true goals of the Order of the
Round Table. He swore that one day, when the world was
in need, his descendants would restore the order and prepare
the way for the Arthur, the King Eternal. Over the centuries
the descendants of Sir Girflet is said to have kept this vow,
though no records of his family seem to exist anywhere.

Joshua Griffyth-Jones was born in Hempstead Harbor,


New York in 1805, the son of David Michael Griffyth-Jones,
a trader in gold and silver. Joshua grew up hearing stories
from his father about chivalry, knights in shining armor,
honor, fighting for the forces of good, and always, the story
of the death of King Arthur. The Knights of the Round
Table were a constant fascination to young Joshua, and
he promised himself that he would become a Knight of
the Round Table when he got older.

The role of the Invisible College in pulp fantastic can


be varied. However, the basic role of the organization will
fall into one of two distinct categories; the rest is just
further detail. The Invisible College is either the heroes
or the villains of the overall story. In addition to the role
of the Invisible College, the gm and the players would
probably need to determine whether or not the player
characters are employed by, or are acting against, the Invisible College. These two do not have to impact each other
in the way that players would think though. The Invisible
College can be a force for good in the world of the campaign, and the characters could still be working to actively bring them down (either to free the secrets that they
have or because of the fact that the characters are misinformed about their goals and nature).

101

Pulp Fantastic
As he grew up, Joshua remembered the stories and the
rules of chivalry, honor, and loyalty his father had spun
when he was a child. These rules guided him as he attended Yale University, and continued to guide him as he made
his way through the intricate and cutthroat world of financial banking. To the surprise of many, his personal
code of conduct was quite successful, and Joshua GriffythJones soon became a name to be reckoned with in the financial world.

GAZETEER

Griffyth-Jones conducted constant searches about the


original Knights of the Round Table, searching for new
information about the knights and their descendants. He
felt sure that other descendants of the Knights could be
found among the upper classes of New York society, and
so in 1835 he began his own personal quest. In short order
a dozen members of the local aristocracy presented their
pedigree as knightly families, and the core of the new
order was formed.
In August of 1837, Griffyth-Jones gathered the gentlemen
at his summer house in Montauk, on the tip of Long Island,
and proposed the re-founding of the Knights of the Round
Table. Headquartered in offices above Griffyth-Joness
main Manhattan bank, the chosen men of power in New
York took on a most daunting task. The new Knights swore
an oath to Griffyth-Jones, who claimed the title of Steward
of the Order, to defend the code of chivalry, to right wrongs,
to not seek glory in their duties, and above all, to restore
honor and prepare for the coming of King Arthur and the
recreation of his realm in America. The Knights worked
both openly in charitable causes and more actively in
clandestine tasks. The Knights and their Squires -- trusted
associates who cannot trace their lines to the original
knights -- strive to bring honesty to the business world,
true justice to the legal trade, and fair practices to the
factories.
The altruistic goals of the Knights of the Round Table held
strong until the death of their Steward in 1877. Rhys
Griffyth-Jones, the eldest son of Joshua, assumed the role
of Steward upon his fathers death. Rhys believed strongly in the stories of the original Knights of the Round Table
his father told him. He felt that the Restored Order needed
reminders of the original Knights, what they stood for,
and what were their sources of power. His obsessions
became the objectives of the Knights. That is when their
most clandestine of tasks became The Quest.
The ultimate goal of The Quest is nothing short of recovering artifacts of the original order. The greatest honor
for the knights is to be sent on a Quest mission, to look
for one of the ancient relics. The scabbard of Excalibur,
the Holy Grail, the Staff of Merlin, and Sir Gawains Armor
are just a few of the relics sought by the Knights of the
Round Table. Because the Steward believes that the relics
can only belong to true descendants of the original Knights,
and because the members of the Order can prove their
claims of heredity, Rhys Griffyth-Jones feels that no action
taken to recover them can violate their Code of Conduct.
This has led some members of the order to take actions
which could be considered to be morally questionable.
102

Have the Knights found any of them? Are the relics genuine
or clever forgeries? Only the Steward of the Round Table
knows for sure.
The Most Holy and Restored Order of the Knights of the
Round Table can take many different paths in your pulp
fantastic campaigns. They could truly be descendants
of the original order. They could be a group founded on
good meaning, but false assumptions. They could be knowingly founded on false pretense. Are they truly a force for
good and the last bastion of chivalry? Are they a once
proud, but now corrupted fraternal organization? These
are just a few of the questions a Gamemaster will want to
ask himself about this group.

MI7
Ask anyone working in Her Majestys government about
MI7 and you will likely get blank stares. Ask too many
questions about MI7 and you might find yourself being
questioned by members of MI7.Created by secret order of
Queen Victoria in 1850, the Secret Intelligence Bureau is
under the exclusive purview of the Prime Minister. The
Bureau is divided into seven sections called Ministers
Intelligence Departments 1 through 7. Each department
is responsible for a specific type of information or for a
different region of the world. Because of the politically
sensitive nature of the Bureau, and the extraterritorial
activities necessary to obtain its information, the very
existence of the Bureau is a secret. Only Her Majesty, The
Queen, and the Prime Minister know of the existence of
these departments.
Each of the first six departments is charged with reporting
information on a particular region of the world. MI7 is
unique, having a broader scope. They are the troubleshooters, the ones who work on problems all across the globe.
They also make sure that the Secret Intelligence Bureau
remains secret.
What is the mission of MI7? They find the unfindable.
They discover the reason behind the unreasonable. Everything MI7 is involved in has some curious or unusual
fact or twist of logic behind it. Of course, what the public
knows about it and what the truth of the matter is can be
two very different things. More often than not, the reason
behind those differences is MI7.
The original founder of MI7 was the quiet yet brilliant
Mycroft Holmes, elder brother of the noted detective. It
is the Department Head who reports directly to the Prime
Minister. Officially Mycroft was the only member of MI7,
selected because of his excellent deductive skills, said to
exceed those of his brother, and because of his discrete
handling of information sensitive to the Crown while
working with his brother on the Queens behalf. The fact
that he never seemed to leave the Diogenes Club while
working on that particular case was truly amazing. Unofficially Holmes maintained a network of highly capable
and experienced agents.
The death of the Queen and the Martian attack on England

Organizations & Secret Societies


left their marks on MI7. The destruction of many buildings
in and around London meant that most of the resources
and archives of MI7 were destroyed as well. Director
Holmes assembled a team to rebuild MI7, picking up the
pieces of a shattered organization. Prime Minister Balfour,
unlike his predecessors, did not find the Director to be
agreeable, or useful. The PM stymied the Director at every
turn, thinking the department was not necessary. The PM
found the stories of the exploits of MI7 fanciful and
unbelievable. After two years of reduced funding, rescheduled or canceled meetings, and constant stonewalling, the
situation came to a head. To the surprise of those who
knew the situation, in March of 1904 Mycroft Holmes
retired as the Director of MI7. After 54 years, MI7 would
be under the guiding hand of someone other then its
founder. Prime Minister Balfour had different plans.
Instead of appointing a new Director, he left the position
vacant and suspended funding. For all intents and purposes, the department was dissolved.
When Henry Campbell-Bannerman became PM in 1905
he began a thorough review of the archives of No. 10 to
see what the Conservative PMs had been doing for the last
twenty years. The Archives Panel discovered references
to a strange department of the Ministry of Intelligence
that ended abruptly the year before. While no information
could be found on the activities of the department, one
name came up time and time again: Mycroft Holmes.
Meeting with the aging Holmes at the Diogenes Club, the
PM learned of the purpose of MI7 and of its shutdown.
Determined to restore the department to its intended
purpose, the PM asked Holmes to return as its Director.
Holmes refused, citing age and a desire to avoid further
adventure in his life. He suggested one of his former junior
aides, Edwin Masterson-Smythe.
Masterson-Smythe reformed MI7, building upon the foundation of Mycroft Holmess work. Some of the former agents
of MI7 were found and recruited to join the new organization, but most of the agency consisted of new agents.
The secretive nature of MI7 makes the organization an
excellent resource for the pulp fantastic gm. Is the
Department a source of good information or a fountain
of propaganda? Does the Department work with the Player
Characters or against them? MI7 can also form a base from
which Player Characters can launch their adventures. The
choice is up to the Gamemaster.

The Air Cavalry


Baron Ace Franklin was born too late to fight in the Great
War but the sky was in his blood. His father was a pilot of
the Great War, an ace with thirty-eight German kills under
his silk scarf. Raised in a traveling barnstormer show, Ace
lived among planes and pilots from the day he could walk.
It was the life he knew, the life he loved, and Ace might
have been content to live as a star of the barnstorming
circuit but the Tri-State tornado of 1925 changed all that.
In its earliest years, the Air Cavalry was a show, famous
war battles - including the final battle between the Red

Baron and Captain Roy Brown - were re-enacted for the


amusement of paying customers. Some of the pilots also
flew mail, or private passengers from city to city in order
to help pay for their expensive flying machines.
In 1925, the Air Cavalry flew to the rescue for the first time.
On March 18th, the great Tri-State tornado to tore through
Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, leaving hundreds dead and
dozens of towns and cities in ruin.
The Air Cavalry took to the skies on a mission of mercy
and battled the treachery of the Storm Riders, a group of
criminals who followed the path of the tornado to steal
and pillage those too weak to defend themselves.

THE CHARTER OF 1933


Charles Lindbergh was not the only one to recognize the
value of a free air force independent of national politics and
able to work in areas where official presence was forbidden.
In the spring of 1933, and after months of work by the Cavalrys best political minds (and careful work by agents of the
Invisible College); the civilized nations of Italy, America, Russia
and Great Britain signed a secret charter with the Air Cavalry.
Patterned after colonial Letters of Marque, the charter established a protocol for allowing Air Cavalry planes and
personnel to cross the airspace of the participating countries,
to make use of certain military airbases and to act - in certain
ways - almost as an independent country. In turn, Baron Ace
Franklin swore that his people would never attack any of the
participating members, would follow the honorable customs
of warfare and would come to the aid of embattled nations
and peoples the world over. It was an ambitious promise
but the Air Cavalry remains steadfast in its dedication to
these ideals.

The Charter was the final piece needed to bring the Air Cavalry
into the world as a force for good.

Pinkerton Detective Agency


The world of Private Eyes begins with the legendary Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Their logo, with its big
central eye and the motto We Never Sleep, spawned the
nickname Private Eye, and the image of the tough guy
determined to solve a case.
In 1850, Allan Pinkerton and Chicago attorney Edward
Rucker formed the North-Western Police Agency, later to
be known as Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton became famous in February 1861, when he foiled an
assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland, of President-Elect Abraham Lincoln. His efforts in this case impressed Lincoln so much that Lincoln hired Pinkerton to
provide his security during the American Civil War as well
as performing as head of the Union Intelligence Service
during the first years of the war. Pinkertons investigative
techniques, created during his days in the North-Western
Police Agency and refined over the years, were an innovation that lead the Pinkertons to be the most well known
103

Pulp Fantastic
specialists in criminal investigations and undercover
operations. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency
became a unit to be feared.

sition in 1893. Vandercamps company became experts in


the esoteric investigation field, making him a wealthy
man and a well-known socialite in Chicago.

After the end of the American Civil War, Pinkertons offices


opened all across the United States. Their services were
used to track down outlaws such as Jesse James, The Wild
Bunch, and the Reno Gang. Their services spread far and
wide, even assisting Scotland Yard and Sherlock Holmes
in a number of cases involving crimes on both continents.

With the acquisition of the Vandercamp Agency, Pinkertons became the preeminent investigative service in the
western world. Some of the cases pursued by the Pinkerton Agency include the Patterson possession case in 1922;
the New Orleans mafia crackdown of the late 1920s; the
Bassett-Sutton bank robbery of 1930; the Lindbergh Baby
kidnapping of 1932; and the Thule Society Conspiracy of
1936.

GAZETEER

Starting in the 1870s, the Pinkerton Agency was hired by a


number of large companies to investigate efforts to unionize workers. Quite often this led to violent conflicts and a
bad reputation for the Agency. Pinkerton Men became
associated with Corporate Thugs and were known for
being union breakers. Pinkerton Agent John McParland
managed to infiltrate the militant labor union of coal miners
in Pennsylvania known as the Mollie Maguires. The Mollies
were a secret Irish organization that worked for labor unionization and were known for stirring up trouble throughout
Ireland. McParland, under the name of James McKenna,
became a member of the Mollie Maquires in Pennsylvania.
Using the knowledge he gain from them, a great many
members of the group were arrested, leading to the end of
the violent unionist efforts of the Mollie Maguires.

As the 20th Century dawned, the reputation of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency was anything but sterling.
Hired by many large companies as union busters, Pinkerton agents were often thought of as little more than thugs,
and often that was not far from the truth. This changes in
1907 when Allen Pinkerton II, grandson of the founder,
inherited the company. Slowly, over the course of the next
three decades, the Pinkerton Agency gradually moved
away from union busting. Trying to improve its image,
the Agency acquired the C. E. Vandercamp Aetheric Investigations Agency in 1920.
Christopher Vandercamp started his business in 1915 in
Chicagos Woodlawn neighborhood. Investigating crimes,
missing persons, and other occurrences with a mystical
slant, Vandercamp became known for solving cases others
thought to be unsolvable. His business grew from a one
man, third storey walk-up to a 250 man office in their own
building on Stony Island Avenue across from the famous
Jackson Park, home of the Worlds Fair: Columbian Expo104

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency makes a great


resource in any pulp fantastic game taking place in
the United States. Players can work for Pinkertons as investigative agents, as undercover agents, or even as consultants to Pinkertons. The Agency can also be used as an
adversary, bringing truth to claims that Pinkerton Agents
were violent thugs with a badge of authority.

Scotland Yard
In the eighteenth century came the beginnings of immense
social and economic changes with the consequent movement of the population of England to towns. The parish
constable and Watch systems used throughout the country
failed completely and the impotence of the law-enforcement
machinery was a serious menace. Conditions became intolerable and led to the formation of the New Police.
In 1829, the Metropolitan Police Act introduced by Sir Robert
Peel, was passed by Parliament. This Act replaced the numerous local constables with a single police force that
covered Greater London, excluding the City of London,
which had its own Police Force. The Marine, or River Police
as well as the Bow Street Patrols (both mounted and the
Runners on foot) were also outside the command of the
new London Metropolitan Police. The task of organizing
and designing the New Police was placed in the hands of
Colonel Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne (later Sir Richard
Mayne). These two Commissioners occupied a private house
at 4 Whitehall Place, the back of which opened on to a
courtyard. The back premises of 4 Whitehall Place were
used as a police station. This address led to the headquarters
of the Metropolitan Police being known as Scotland Yard.
By 1890 the Metropolitan Police had taken over all of the
buildings surrounding the original private house, as well
as many buildings, stables, and storehouses in the surrounding area. Scotland Yard outgrew its origins. Headquarters were moved in 1890 to premises on the Victoria
Embankment designed by Richard Norman Shaw and
became known as New Scotland Yard.
Metropolitan police officers carried firearms only when
given special permission by a judge; normally they were
only armed with a truncheon. Their jurisdiction was limited
to the London Metropolitan area unless requested by outside
authorities and given permission by the Home Secretary
(the cabinet officer who commands the police). The officers,
often called Bobbies, after Sir Robert Peel, wore a unique

Organizations & Secret Societies


and very sturdy hat. This officer could stand on his hat,
allowing him to see over fences quite easily. They were
charged with keeping order in public thoroughfares, ensuring that Public Houses follow strict hours and serving
laws, fining establishments that conducted bear baiting or
cock fighting, and ensuring that people going about their
lawful business were not menaced by general riff-raff and
neer-do-wells.
The Metropolitan Police Service Criminal Investigation
Department, or CID, the first criminal investigation department, was set up in April 1878 by C. E. Howard Vincent.
Originally it was only responsible to the Home Secretary,
but since 1888 it had been under the authority of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. CID officers did not wear
a uniform, instead they were plainclothes officers. CID
officers were involved in the investigation of major crimes
such as rape, murder, serious assault, fraud, and any other
crimes that require complex detection. They were responsible for acting upon intelligence received and then building a case; from analysis of the initial incident through the
arrest and prosecution of any suspects.
The success of the men of Scotland Yard did not go unnoticed. Throughout the world, police forces were modeled
after the Metropolitan Police. By the end of the 1890s
uniformed and organized police forces could be found in
nearly every major city.
Some of Scotland Yards most famous investigators include
Inspector George Lestrade, who consulted with Sherlock
Holmes on a number of cases; Detective Inspector Frederick Abberline, who headed up the dreadful Whitechapel
Murder investigations; Inspector Montgomery Pettiman,
who broke the horrific case of Sweeney Todd, but was
unable to capture him; and Lady Molly Robertson-Kirk,
the first female detective in the Metropolitan Police.

International Criminal
Police Organization
The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) is
the worldwide, nongovernmental police agency that will
in later years become known as Interpol. It is a clearing
house for information, furnishing member nations with
data on criminals, unidentified bodies, stolen property,
etc. Founded in 1923 to reduce international crime, the
ICPO deals strictly with international crimes - most revolve
around smuggling, narcotics and counterfeiting - but is
strictly forbidden to meddle in political crimes such as
espionage and terrorism.
Original founder countries were France, Belgium, Germany,
Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands,
Yugoslavia and Switzerland. Great Britain doesnt join until
1928, and the United States doesnt join until 1938.
Unlike most law-enforcement agencies, ICPO agents do
not make arrests themselves, nor do they detain criminals.
Instead the agency works as a liaison between the law-enforcement of member countries, helping to co-ordinate

the international response to crime and terrorism. The


ICPO helps track criminals and criminal activity around
the world.

Red Headed League


There are some that will tell you that the Red Headed
League is nothing but a story. Others will tell you it was a
League of two, thwarted by the crime solving duo of Mr.
Holmes and Dr. Watson. Only a truly rare person can tell
the truth about the Red Headed League.
The real Red Headed League was founded in 1875 in Boston,
Massachusetts. Patrick Michael Sullivan, David OHirllihy,
Peter Flynn, and Kevin Muldoon, all of them red headed
men, formed the League for what could only be called
nefarious reasons. This criminal syndicate, which over
the years expanded across the ocean and into Europe, was
initially created as an act of revenge.
In 1872, Patrick Sullivan, an accountant of modest means
at the First Mercantile Bank of Boston, was accused of
improprieties in his work and promptly fired as a result.
Patrick was an innocent man set up by his superior, David
Patterson, to cover up embezzlement and misconduct on
his part. After spending a year in search of proof of his innocence, Patrick Sullivans efforts proved fruitless. Because
he could not prove his innocence, and felt his life was destroyed by the acts of David Patterson, Patrick turned his
energies to destroying the life of his tormentor.

Sullivan recruited his friends OHirllihy, Flynn, and Muldoon


to help in bringing his revenge upon David Patterson, and
so the Red Headed League was born. After quite a lot of
discussion and planning, it was decided that Patterson
should suffer a similar fate as did Sullivan -- to be found
guilty of a crime he did not commit and to not be able to
prove his innocence. Over the span of several years, Flynn
and Muldoon worked their way into the confidence of David
Patterson. Flynn began working as a clerk for Patterson
under the name Thomas OHara. Muldoon, as Douglas
OToole, became part of Pattersons social circle, meeting
him at clubs, the theater, and the opera. Douglas OToole
was soon the close confidant of David Patterson, and they
were often seen together about town.
With Flynn and Muldoon supplying them with information, Sullivan and OHirllihy crafted a subtle plan to destroy
David Pattersons name and his life. In 1786, on the Monday
after Easter, it was discovered that the First Mercantile
Bank of Boston had been robbed over the weekend.
Someone had entered the bank and absconded with nearly
fifty pounds of coins and gold ingots valued at more than
$20,000. Careful investigation of the banking house revealed a muddied handkerchief belonging to David Patterson in the banks gold storage room. A search of Pattersons home, much to his surprise, revealed detailed
written plans of the break in, and a small handful of gold
coins. It was also shown that Thomas OHara was hired
by Patterson and was working under an assumed name,
though his real name was not in the records.
105

Pulp Fantastic
Patterson strongly professed his innocence, claiming he
and Douglas OToole spent most of the weekend together at OTooles home.When the constables went to Mr.
OTooles home, they found it empty, and the owners
whereabouts unknown. With the mountain of evidence
piled against him, David Pattersons life and name were
in ruins. His protestations of innocence fell on deaf ears.
In a fit of melancholy, David Patterson took his own life
rather than suffer the punishment of others.
Many would think that this would spell the end of the Red
Headed League, but that wasnt the case. The members of
the League, flush with their ill-gotten wealth, found they
rather enjoyed their more nefarious ways. They stayed
together, developing new means of acquiring wealth at
the expense of others. Adding additional members as
necessary, the League expanded until they numbered 500
members. The President of the League, Patrick Sullivan,
grew truly wealthy during the next 15 years, and upon his
death the leadership of the League went to the son of Peter
Flynn, Frederick Flynn.

GAZETEER

Over time, the League expanded and continued their elaborate crimes of subterfuge and larceny. Flynn diversified
the League, getting them involved not only in complex bank
robberies, but blackmail, extortion, and selling secrets to
the highest bidder. The true secret of the League is that
each member only knows a small number of members. You
cant reveal a secret if you dont know it. Thats what leads
the League to be so successful year after year.
In pulp fantastic, the League is a great foil for a group
of adventurers. Secretive, moderately powerful, and spread
out enough to make them a hard target to eliminate. This
is what a recurring villain is meant to be.

The Tong of
the Black Scorpion
The first recorded mention of the Tong of the Black Scorpion then simply the Black Scorpion Society is in 14th
Century China, as an anti-Manchu resistance movement
during the Qing Dynasty, while mythology places their
origin after the burning of the southern Shaolin Temple by
one of the five survivors of the battle. Most likely a schismatic offshoot of the White Lotus Society, the Tong of the
Black Scorpion was originally a political and philosophical
society who espoused a form of nihilism and found solace
in the worship of the Eternal Mother of Shadows; a faceless female deity who gathered her children to her beyond
death. The Society became a symbol of Chinese resistance
to the rule of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. Outlawed, the
Society went underground, funding its resistance activities
through petty crime, extortion and terror.
Over the years, the acts of resistance became less and
less important to the Society, who instead began to relish
the rewards of crime. As the Society transformed into a
fully criminal organization so the religious aspect turned
darker, twisting in on itself until it became something

106

debased and cruel. In the intervening centuries, the Black


Scorpion Society became the Tong of the Black Scorpion,
a by-word for ruthlessness and terror.
The Tong emerged from the shadows again in the 1890s
in London, England, where they were implicated in the
kidnapping and murder of several young women. When
that branch of the Tong was broken up by the actions of
an unconventional Scotland Yard detective, the survivors
relocated to the USA, where they built up the Tong again
by hiring themselves out as muscle to masterminds.
The Tong of the Black Scorpion is governed by a strict
code of secrecy and obedience, maintained through terror
tactics and ruthless enforcement. Betraying the organization normally results in execution by the monstrous
Death of a Thousand Cuts or banishment to one of the
Tongs hell chambers - subterranean cells where miscreants are slowly and horribly tortured to death in a
variety of diabolically creative ways.
The Tong of the Black Scorpion is generally feared by other
Triads and Tongs, as their members are considered savages
with no fear of death or injury. The traditional sign of
warning from the Tong a dead scorpion pinned to ones
door with a slim dagger is considered by most to be
tantamount to a death sentence, as the Tong has a reputation for being able to eliminate its enemies no matter
how well protected they may be.
Tong members can usually be identified by a tattoo of a
scorpion somewhere on their body most often on the
sole of the foot. While they prefer to use bladed weapons,
Tong assassins are proficient in the use of firearms, bows,
thrown weapons and even explosives. While most criminal Tongs and Triads are business organizations that
prefer to use intimidation and bribery, the Tong of the
Black Scorpion seems to enjoy violence and bloodshed for
its own sake. Most recently, the Tong of the Black Scorpion seems to have fallen under the leadership of the dreaded
Siwang Lung the so-called Death Dragon - and his
daughter, the lovely but deadly Du Kai Hua or Poison
Blossom.
note: A Tong in Chinese can mean group, organization,
association, club, etc. Most Tongs are perfectly legitimate
business organizations, rather like the Freemasons or the
Rotary Club. Assuming that every Tong they come across
is a criminal gang or evil cult could land player characters
in a lot of hot water.

The Tsang-Chan
The Tsang-Chan are a diminutive tribe of nomadic hunters
from the dense jungles of mountainous Central Asia.
Shunned and loathed by their neighbors, this secretive
people are almost unheard of beyond the immediate area,
but since their introduction to Western explorers in the
mid-19th Century they have established small communities in almost every corner of the globe.
Physically, the Tsang-Chan appear to be of East-Asian/
Mongol stock, with physiques and culture remarkably

Organizations & Secret Societies


similar to the head-hunter tribes of the Amazonian basin.
In their native lands they are ferocious warriors and
stealthy hunters, who use body modification (ritual scarring and piercing) as symbols of rank and social position.
Tsang-Chan society is apparently male-dominated, with
their women very rarely seen and out-numbered by the
men by nearly ten to one.

transport or sale of alcohol illegal. Designed to promote


public health and morals, in truth Prohibition ushered in
a golden age for organized crime as the chief purveyors
of bootleg alcohol. In particular, then Mafia profited, with
the enormous financial boost transforming small crime
families into vast criminal empires based on the often
violent black market in alcohol.

The Tsang-Chan, despite being despised by other local


tribes and attacked at every opportunity, seem to have
thrived during the early years of the 20th Century, spreading to Europe and North America and forming tightly-knit
communities. It was their secretiveness and reluctance to
talk to strangers that caused the Providence-based pulp
author Howard Philips Lovecraft to base his fictional TchoTcho on them. Like their fictional counterparts, the TsangChan have been accused of cannibalism and of the worship
of dark gods, though there is little evidence to support
this. One particularly outlandish myth accuses them of
being creatures only partly human, who must partake of
human flesh to retain their human form. Another infers
that they are the servants of things beyond time, led by
inhuman magician-priests who come from a future dominated by a savage empire in which humans are bred like
cattle for food.

The Mafia is divided into regional families, with each


family dominated by a Don or mob boss. The Don will
attempt to insulate himself from his soldato (soldiers) and
any criminal activity by passing orders through an underboss, consigliere or capo. Initiation in to the family is
controlled by the boss, underboss or consigliere, while
the boss can promote or demote family members at will.
Mafia crime families usually have the following structure;
Capo di tutti capi: The Boss of All Bosses or Godfather,
this is the title given to the top Mafia boss, the head of the
most powerful crime family. In later years, this role will
be replaced the the Commission.

What is known is that the Tsang-Chan, with their short


stature, high agility and traditional hunting skills, make
excellent assassins. As such they are frequently found in
the employ of villains and criminal organizations as enforcers and torturers. By the time World War II breaks out,
a large number of Tsang-Chan can be found working for
the notorious Japanese biological warfare organization,
Unit 731.

The Mafia
The Mafia is a name given to the many and various culturally-based organized criminal societies, the most wellknown of which is the Sicilian Mafia or Cosa Nostra
(Our Thing). Mafias typically use the threat of violence
to practice a variety of crimes, including; extortion, counterfeiting, fencing, murder, robbery, protection racketeering, fraud, loan-sharking, prostitution and illegal gambling. Mafia crime families are normally bound together
by a code of silence (Omert) to protect the organization
from outside interference and infiltration.
The American Mafia, also known simply as the Mob or
the Syndicate, is primarily an Italian-American crime
society. With roots in the Sicilian Mafia, the organization
emerged amongst Italian immigrants in the Lower East
Side of New York and other major port cities on the East
Coast of the US during the late 19th and early 20th Century.
During the early 1920s, after Benito Mussolini and his
National Fascist Party took control of Italy, waves of fleeing
Italian immigrants arrived in the United States, including
members of the Sicilian Mafia fleeing Mussolinis crackdown on organized crime. Their arrival coincided with
Prohibition; the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which made the manufacture,
107

Pulp Fantastic
Boss: Also known as the capofamiglia, capo crimini, representante or Don, this is the title given to the leader of a
crime family.
Underboss: Sometimes referred to as the capo bastone,
this is the bosss second-in-command. He oversees the
activities of the soldiers and ensures that the profits from
the familys criminal activities flow to the boss. In the
event of the bosss death or incarceration, the underboss
may take control of the family until a new boss is appointed.
Consigliere: The consigliere is a combination of advisor,
counselor and right-hand man to the boss of a crime
family. Though ranked third in the crime family, the consigliere has no capos or soldiers working for him.
Capo: Also known as a caporegime, captain, skipper or
crew chief, the capo usually oversees a crew or borgata
of ten soldiers, though in recent years he may oversee as
many soldiers as he can efficiently control. Each capo
reports directly to the underboss, who gives him his authority. The capo is normally responsible for carrying out
murders on behalf of the family and runs the day-to-day
operations of his crew.

GAZETEER

Soldato: The soldier, button man, made man, wiseguy


or goodfella is the most frequently encountered level of
gangster. Each soldato must have taken an oath of silence
(and usually have killed someone) in order to be considered
made.
Picciotto: A low-level soldier, this is little more than a
disposable thug used for the day-to-day work of threats,
beatings and intimidation.
Associate: Sometimes known as a giovane donore or
man of honor. An associate is an employee of a crime
family that is not actually a member.

The Nazis
In the years following the Great War, Germany was a
democratic Republic, suffering terrible political and
economic instability. The reparations demanded by the
victorious allies against Germany crippled the country,
leading to mass unemployment and a vast number of
angry, disaffected veterans. One such veteran was Adolf
Hitler.
Much of the political instability was caused by the infighting of groups of political extremists, one of which was the
relatively minor Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, the German
Workers Party. In reality the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was
little more than the political arm of the Thule Society
(Thule-Gesellschaft), a right-wing occult secret society
with a focus on racial purity, Aryan mythology and anti-Semitism. Despite having a band of willing thugs to use
in battles against other extremists, the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was sliding into obscurity by 1919 for the lack of
effective leadership.
Born in Austria in 1899, Adolf Hitler was the fourth of six
children who became fixated on warfare after finding a

108

picture book about the Franco-Prussian War among his


fathers belongings. He began to develop German nationalist ideal at an very early age, and after losing most of his
siblings and his father in childhood, he drifted and tried
unsuccessfully to become an artist. Forced into a life of
menial labor, Hitler left Austria and moved to Munich,
where he was living at the outbreak of the Great War.
During the war Hitler served as a dispatch runner and
was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross in
1914 and 1918. He was wounded at the Somme and in 1918
was temporarily blinded in a Mustard Gas attack. While
recovering in hospital, he learned of Germanys defeat.
Embittered and believing the Germany had been defeated from within by Marxists, civilian leaders and subversives. Wanting to stay in the army for as long as possible,
Hitler volunteered to infiltrate the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in a bid to quell political unrest. While attending
meetings he was attracted to their anti-Semitic, nationalist, anti-Marxist ideals and ended up joining the party
for real.
In 1920, the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei changed its name to
the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party) or Nazi Party and
adopted the symbol of a black swastika formerly a symbol
of good in Indian religions on a white circle against a
red background, as designed by Hitler himself. Propelled
by his skills as an orator, Hitler was appointed Fuhrer
(leader) of the Party in 1921. Under Hitlers leadership the
party membership swelled, and they recruited their own
group of thugs, the Sturmabteilung or Brownshirts as
protection from rival parties.
In 1923, Hitler and his Brownshirts, along with other militant reactionaries attempted to seize power from the
Republic, but were unsuccessful. In 1929, Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison, but was released after only
nine months. While imprisoned Hitler drafted the initial
chapters of what would become his book Mein Kampf (My
Struggle), laying down the basic framework of what the
Nazi Party would become.
By proposing a society built on the principles of racial
purity and strength, governed by an elite ruled by Hitler
himself, the Nazis created a political platform that appealed to deep-seated elements within the national psyche.
However, they still failed to make political headway, with
poor election results keeping them in a minority in the
Reichstag. In times of economic prosperity, it was hard for
the people to take the Nazis seriously. Despite this, party
membership grew steadily, and the party gained funding
from industrialists who hoped to use the Nazis against
socialists and communists. Strengthening his hold on the
party, Hitler formed a personal body-guard, the Schutzstaffel, also known as the SS or Blackshirts.
The Wall Street crash of 1929 gave the Nazis their opportunity, when desperate American investors recalled their
loans from Germany, crippling an economy that depended on them. Banks collapsed, manufacturing and exports
dried up, and within three years over a quarter of the
German population was out of work. Losing faith in their

Pulp Fantastic
government, the people turned to the extremist parties.
By 1930, the Nazis had become the second largest political
party in the Reichstag, and by 1932 they had a majority,
despite the Communists making tremendous gains.
Alarmed at the prospect of a Communist revolution, business interests put their support in Hitler, encouraged by
his vocal condemnation of the Communists. In 1933, Hitler
was invited to become Chancellor of Germany, and following the death of President Von Hindenburg managed
to concentrate full legislative power in his hands. The oath
taken by army officers was changed to swear allegiance
to Hitler personally, and Hitler himself took the title of
Fhrer und Reichskangler (Leader and Reich Chancellor
and Supreme Commander-in-Chief), officially beginning
the Third Reich.
With the Nazi Party in complete control of Germany, the
entire population was subject to Nazi indoctrination.
Citizens were encouraged to report those who they felt
were not adhering to the new state directives. Those found
to be insufficiently patriotic in their outlook and behavior were harassed, imprisoned or executed.

GAZETEER

Everything in the country, from education to manufacturing, was geared to a war footing. Schools became centers
for the promotion of Nazi ideology. Membership in the
Hitler Youth became mandatory. Libraries were purged of
non-Aryan thought, teachers and lecturers were required
by law to wear the swastika and swear allegiance to Hitler.
During the 1930s, the Nazis began a program of German
re-armament, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles that
had ended the Great War, in preparation for their conquest
of Europe. Hitler planned to annexe all German-speaking
countries first and ally with other Fascist states, such as
Italy under Benito Mussolini. German industry was subverted to produce aircraft and armor under a cloak of
secrecy, and in 1936 the German Army marched into the
demilitarized Rhineland, shredding the Teary of Versailles
when Britain and France did nothing to stop them. In 1938,
Germany annexed Austria with the popular support of
the Austrian people. France and Britain protested, but did
little else other than begin re-arming their own forces. By
the end of the decade, the Nazis had invaded Czechoslovakia and were beginning the invasion of Poland, the act
which finally began World War II and ended the Pulp Era.
As seen in countless movies, books and games, virtually
no other group in history is better suited for the role of
villain in a pulp fantastic campaign. They are perhaps
the greatest example of human evil in the last hundred
years, and thanks to their uniforms and philosophy, the
most distinctive. Suitable for almost any kind of adventure,
from straight-up action to espionage or bizarre super-science and occult horror, the Nazis can be found anywhere
on the globe from the 1930s onward. Even before that,
groups of proto-Nazis, perhaps under the control of the
secretive Thule-Gesellschaft can be encountered, a terrible omen of the calamitous conflict that is to come.

110

The Gestapo
From 1933 onwards, within Nazi Germany dissent was
dealt with by agents of the state secret police, the Geheime
Staatspolizei or Gestapo, under the leadership of Heinrich
Himmler, leader of the SS. The Gestapo began a steady
program of sending Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and
anyone else they found politically, religiously or racially
undesirable to concentration camps under the control
of the SS, where they were subject to medical experimentation, starvation and execution. The Gestapo was considered to be above the law. According to the principles
of the Reich, as long as they did the will of the Fuhrer,
anything that they did up to and including murder and
torture was perfectly legal.
The Gestapo maintains a network of spies and informers
to ensure compliance with the Nazi regime. School children are encouraged to inform on their parents and neighbors, and almost every German citizen lives in terror of
being denounced to the Gestapo and being made to disappear.
The Gestapo is responsible for overseeing internal security and counterintelligence, and are the organization
most involved with the detection and arrest of foreign
spies and other agents. Up until the start of World War II,
the Gestapo is a plain clothes force, able to walk unnoticed
amongst the people.

The SS
The Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron) is a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi
Party, originally formed in 1920 as a guard unit known as
the Saal-Schutz (Hall-Protection) for the purpose of
providing security for Nazi Party meetings in Munich.
Later in 1925, under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler,
it grew from a small paramilitary group into one of the
largest and most powerful organizations in the Third Reich,
responsible for many of the Nazis crimes against humanity. During World War II the SS fielded more than a million
men and wielded almost as much political and military
power as the Wehrmacht.
Under Himmler, the SS carefully select its members according to Nazi ideology and racial science, with the
intention of creating an elite order of superior men as a
model for the Nazi vision of the master race. By the final
stages of World War II, the SS come to dominate the Wehrmacht in order to eliminate potential threats to Adolf
Hitlers power.
As the part of the Nazi seizure of political power in Germany,
functions such as law enforcement were taken over by the
SS, and many SS organizations became replaced government
agencies. The SS established and ran the SD (Security
service) and took over the administration of the Gestapo,
the Kripo (the criminal investigative police), and the Orpo
(the regular uniformed police). Legal oversight of the SS
and its membership was given to courts run by the SS itself,
effectively putting the SS beyond the reach of the law.

Organizations & Secret Societies


A special division of the SS, the SS-Totenkopfverbnde
(Deaths Head Units) was made responsible for the running
and administration of Germanys concentration camps,
and was tasked with implementing Hitlers Final Solution,
leading to the eventual extermination of nearly 21 million
people, including 12 million Slavs, 6 million Jews, 3 million
Soviet prisoners of war and over 2 million ethnic Poles.
In the years leading to World War II, the SS were tasked by
Hitler with the control and monitoring of the Third Reichs
scientific program and can be found running any number
of classified projects, including human experimentation,
nuclear research and advanced weapons technology.

The Ahnenerbe
Founded in 1935 by Heinrich Himmler, the Ahnenerbe
is a Nazi research institute whose official remit is to
research the archaeological and cultural roots of the
Aryan race, and later to experiment and mount expeditions to gather evidence supporting the Nazi theory that
prehistoric and mythological Nordic populations had
once ruled the world. The name is derived from the societys original designation, the German Ancestral Heritage Study Society for Primordial Intellectual History
(Deutsches AhnenerbeStudiengesellschaft fr Geistesurgeschichte).
While the Ahnenerbe has sections for the study and recording of Germanic folksongs and mythology, its secret
primary focus is the acquisition and study of occult knowledge and artifacts for the Reich. Over the years it has
mounted expeditions with the intent of securing the Holy
Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Longinius,

and the Yaktavian Bell of Agharta among others. Esoteric


scholars also suspect the Ahnenerbe of acquiring, either
by trade or coercion, a great deal of magical and occult
knowledge from a variety of sources, possibly including
the mysterious subterranean Vril-ya people, the TsangChan and the faceless inhabitants of the forbidden Black
Lamasery in Tibet. The organization has mounted expeditions to sites of occult importance across the world and
seeks relics of vanished cultures and civilizations, all
suspected by the Nazis of harboring traces of the true
Aryan history of the world.
Curiously, the Ahnenerbe have been heavily involved with
the renovation and reinforcement of Wewelsburg Castle,
creating a center of occult study and gathering together
one of the largest arcane libraries in the history of the
world. Some highly speculative reports even go as far as
suggesting that the Ahnenerbe is seeking the ability to
field Hexensoldat [witch-soldiers] and supernatural beings
in the coming war. Some operatives are already rumored
to have supernatural powers and weird technology, and
are researching ways to combine the two for the greater
glory of the Reich.

The Mara Brotherhood

Where there is light, shadows fall. This universal truth is


never more clearly demonstrated than with the Shadow
Monks of the Mara Brotherhood. From their headquarters
in the dreaded Black Lamasery of Agharthi, the Shadow
Monks subtly spread the cause and worship of Evil across
the world in the name of Enlightenment.
The history of the Mara Brotherhood is obscure and
shrouded in secrecy. To this day, most Buddhists deny
there is any such thing, though whether this is from shame
or ignorance is unknown.
What little is known of the Mara Brotherhood suggests
that their beliefs parallel some of the early Gnostic Christian sects, cults that rejected the physical world as the
imperfect creation of a false god or demiurge and encouraged the indulgence of their fleshly appetites. In a
similar way Mara Brotherhood reject the teachings of
Buddha as the path to Enlightenment, and instead embrace
the Mara or Buddhist principle of evil as the true light of
divinity. This curious twisting of belief has combined with
certain elements of the pre-Buddhist Bon religion of Tibet,
creating a hybrid faith that has little to do with either
parent religion.
Adherents of the Mara Brotherhood reject the illusion of
the world not by attempting to transcend it, as Buddhists
do, but by attempting to destroy it. They believe that once
the facade of reality is torn down, all of humanity will
liberate itself from the prison of flesh and ascend to a state
of oneness with a godhead that exists above and beyond
Nirvana. Paradoxically, the Mara Texts encourage followers to fully indulge their physical urges and appetites in
the belief that only by completely understanding the false
world around them can adepts fully grasp its unreality. To
one of the Mara Brotherhood, any act, no matter how vile,
111

is in some way holy. Evil in this world, as far as they are


concerned, does not exist. The murder of innocents simply
frees them from the flesh that much faster and gives them
another chance at life, in which they will surely see the
truth; that the world around them is a lie.
Members of the Mara Brotherhood practice many magic
mantras, cyclic humming chants that are said to help
re-shape the false world to match their desires more
proof, say the Shadow Monks, of the unreality of the world
and this practice is said to turn the tongues of the chanters black or blue. Many practice forms of self-mutilation
and ritual scarification, harrowing the flesh to purify the
spirit within.
Though the Mara Brotherhood retains many of the trappings of Buddhism, it is essentially a shamanistic religion,
with novices going on a vision quest while apparently
possessed by elemental spirits and ancestral shamans,
and experiencing an ordeal in the wilderness during which
they envision their repeated destruction at the hands of
spirits and daemons.
Members of the Mara Brotherhood (which consists of both
male and female acolytes) are characterized by their complete lack of fear of death, their obvious enjoyment of the
pleasures of the flesh, and their contempt for the unenlightened. Though they indulge their appetites, they are
frequently expert martial artists, honing their bodies as
a way of increasing the depth of their understanding of
the illusory world they inhabit. Further, many of the senior
monks and abbots of the order have mastered a wide
variety of psychic powers, and some still practice what
can only be described as Tibetan black magic.
More disturbing is the Brotherhoods practice of using
the bodies of its enemies to create the entities they call
Kundalini Warriors. These creatures whether they exist
or not are reputed to be captured enemies whose internal Pranic energy flow is radically restructured through
an aggressive and unholy form of acupuncture. This
horribly painful, irreversible procedure is said to turn
the victims into mindless slaves, overflowing with barely-contained Pranic energy, effectively creating walking
psychic weapons of immense and terrifying power.
Like the Hindus and more orthodox Buddhist sects, the
Mara Brotherhood revere the swastika, though like the
Nazis they have inverted it, turning a symbol of life and
renewal into one of death and decay. It is perhaps this
shared symbolism that has led the Nazis and the Mara
Brotherhood to exchange information by the 1930s the
Fuhrer has authorized several expeditions to the forbidden
Black Lamasery of the Mara Brotherhood.

Chapter 6
Playing The Game

f youve never played a role-playing game before, then


read this entire chapter. If youre an experienced player,
then you can skip the first half and go straight on to the
advanced techniques on page 123.

one character is, or how dangerous a bomb is. It keeps


everyone on the same page, so to speak.

Why Roleplay?

Dont let the rules slow things down. Everything in the


game can be accomplished with the same basic rule
throw two dice, add Attribute + Skills. Most of the time,
the Gamemaster will help you with these rules and how
to use them, but dont worry too much about following
everything to the letter. The rules are there to ensure
everything runs smoothly, but if you pause in the middle
of a desperate chase to look something up, youre going
to lose the flow and the suspension of disbelief.

Youve probably played computer games that call themselves role-playing games before. The big difference
between this game and those computer games is that we
use imagination instead of glitzy graphics. The big advantage is complete flexibility you can do anything in
a tabletop role-playing game. You create your own characters and your own stories, and those stories can take
you anywhere. You play with your friends, sitting around
a table and using your imaginations, instead of relying
on a computer game to do everything for you. Youre the
ones who make and shape the story, and youre limited
only by your own ingenuity and creativity. Its collaborative storytelling and open-ended adventure... and its
immensely fun.
You dont need to be an actor, or dress like your character,
or be an expert on the Pulps to play this game. You just
need to stretch your imagination.

Why Use Rules?


So, if this is collaborative storytelling, then why use rules
and dice? Cant you just decide what happens?
The short answer is yes, you can just choose what happens,
but the rules fulfill three very important purposes.
Firstly, the rules give challenge and uncertainty. You cant
just declare that your character outwits the minions,
defeats the mastermind and saves the day youve got
to do it within the rules of the game. You need to be lucky,
or else arrange events and gather resources so youll win
even if youre unlucky.
Secondly, the rules give structure. Collaborative storytelling sounds great, but it can fall apart into an argument or
get dominated by one persons ideas. The rules provide a
framework for your story and make sure that all the characters get an equal chance to shine.
Thirdly, the rules work like a physics engine for the game.
They make sure that everyone can agree on how strong

Rules are meant to be broken

Simply put, dont worry about it. Run with it, and remember, the Gamemaster is here to help and to keep things
running smooth.

Dont Cheat
On the other hand however, you shouldnt cheat. Dont
use out-of-character knowledge just because you know
who John Sunlight is doesnt mean your character does.
Dont hide your dice rolls, or forget to mark off a Story
Point. Cheating takes the fun out of the game. If its a really
crucial moment, and your character is looking like hes
going to take a dip in the piranha tank, its not really your
place to cheat. Characters die, and you move on you get
a new character who may be even better than your last,
you never know. People die in the pulps not often, but
they do. If you think youre going to get killed, go out
fighting or doing something suitably heroic. If you do
something memorable and the odds were really against
you, the Gamemaster will reward you with Story Points
or other cool stuff for your next character.
It doesnt mean that cheating doesnt go on in the game,
but this is purely up to the Gamemaster. If a situation is
dire, or if youre about to uncover the villains plot way too
early in the story, the Gamemaster may fudge some rolls.
He wont tell you about it but any cheating done this way
is for the benefit of the whole game. Having your characters killed too early because youve done something silly,
or ruining the plot, will spoil the game for everyone, so
there may be some bending of the rules a little. It comes
with the territory. It wont happen often, and the Gamemaster has the final say, but theyre the only ones who
should be cheating.

Pulp Fantastic

Creating Your Character


When making your character, think of how youll fit into
the group. Dont hog the spotlight or come up with a
character who wont play well with others. A big game
hunter who shoots every animal in sight might sound
fun to play, but it will annoy the other players if your first
reaction to everything is to open fire. Moderate your ideas
to fit in with the other characters, toning them down if
necessary. A big game hunter can be a fine character, and
you can get into fun arguments about whether or not a
particular mutant creature from a villainous menagerie
needs to be put down, as long as youre willing to compromise and not always shoot first.

RULES

In most games, you should create your character after


talking with the other players, or even make creating
characters a group activity for the first game session. The
game works best if all the different player characters can
work together, but also play off each other in interesting
ways.
Make sure your character is useful. Be specialized, but not
too specialized. For example, every group needs

Someone whos good at fighting


Someone whos good at talking and bluffing
Someone with science and research skills
Someone who can handle transport
Someone who can sneak around and spy on
people
(You can combine different roles, of course.) Dont try to
do everything yourself, but make sure youre not completely focused on one thing.
Come up with a back story and a personality for your
character. You dont need to write a whole life story just
one or two ideas is fine to start with. You can build on
that during play.

Playing Your Character


When playing the game, some people like to talk in character, while others just describe what their character says
and does. In practice, youll find yourself switching back
and forth depending on whats happening in the game. If
youre just dealing with a minor matter, like convincing
some bystanders to clear the area before they get zapped
by Radium Men, then you can just give a vague outline of
what your character says and roll the dice. If role-playing
is the focus of the scene say, youre trying to persuade
another character from jumping into an raging river in
pursuit of his nemesis then its best to act out what your
character says and does.
Be dramatic, but not inappropriate. Big action scenes and
dramatic confrontations are great, but build up to them.
If you disagree with an non-player character, dont jump
straight to physical violence. Go from arguing to a shouting match to threats and then to physical violence.

114

Be imaginative. Dont rely on the gm to come up with


everything. Instead of saying I roll Science to work out
what the gas is, describe how youre doing it; what sort
of clues to do you find? What tools do you use? Come up
with original approaches to problems instead of doing the
same thing over and over.
Take the game seriously. By all means, make jokes, but
remember that your character is supposed to be a part of
the game world. If you taunt the mobsters, expect to get
punched - lots. If you run down the street carrying an
elephant gun, people will react to you in a very different
way to normal.
Try to involve the other player characters in whatever
youre doing. Unless its important, dont keep secrets from
them or run off on your own all the time. Look for ways
to work together as a group, and find ways for the other
player characters to use their skills and get spotlight time.
Above all else relax and have fun. Role-playing games
are about exploring a mystery and telling a story with your
friends, and you cant get that wrong.

TALK!
If theres one bit of advice we can give you, its to talk about
the game. Discuss it with the GM, tell him what you want
to see in the game. If you want more weird science, more
intrigue, more Eldritch Abominations or more Evil Masterminds, let the GM know. Talk to the other players, too
speculate on whats going to happen next, make plans for
future sessions, think about how your characters relate to
each other. Talk to people who are fans of the series maybe
theyd like to join the game too. Good communication is
vital to the health of a good game.

Advanced Techniques
This section is aimed more at experienced players. Once
youve played a session or two, try putting some of these
techniques into use.

Research & Investigation


A big part of any pulp fantastic game is investigation.
Youve got to track down weird technology, the scientist
or the spy. Thats all research and investigation.
Investigation games are all about finding and interpreting
clues. You find clues by asking the right questions and/or
using your skills. The gm may have a chain of clues set up
for you to follow, or he may expect you to piece together
whats going on, but either way, the thing to do is to find clues.
Ask questions, poke around and search for evidence and use
your skills (especially Knowledge, Science and Technology)
to analyze anything you find. Take risks to find clues if
theres a dangerous monster in a forest, then someone has
to go in after it, and that someone is you. If youve tracked
the Evil Mastermind to a secret base filled with fanatical

Playing The Game


cultists, then the cultists are a challenge to be overcome, not
a reason to give up. If youre stuck, its because you havent
found enough clues. (Remember, if youre totally confused,
you can spend a Story Point to get a clue.)
When questioning witnesses, remember that most of
them will be confused, scared or angered by their experience. Find out what they know by asking those questions, and then find a cover story to deflect further suspicion. Look for ways to approach non-player characters
and win their trust.
Some problems are to be solved in a single game session.
Others are longer plot arcs that will take weeks or months
to solve. The difference between the two will be clear in
play if youre making no progress on a mystery, and youve
scoured the place for clues, then its probably a longer-term
plot that will take several sessions to unfold. The easiest
way to do this is to do some research about the area and
era in which you are playing.

Action
The fun parts of the story is getting to the place and disrupting the villains plan. In the pulps it rarely devolves
into a firefight, but this does happen sometimes.
In most games, the player characters are fighting enemies
that are roughly their equals. You might run into criminals,
terrorists, armed guards, insane cultists or other human
or human-like foes. But in pulp fantastic, that might
not always be the case. You might be investigating a mysterious island in the South Seas, populated by dinosaurs
and gigantic apes, or dealing with a mad scientist whose
robot servants are 12 feet tall and weigh three tons each.
One punch or getting clipped by a bullet isnt going to take
your character out, but a snap of a dinosaurs mighty jaws
or a blow from those wrecking-ball fists and youre gone.
If you try going toe-to-toe with something thats much
bigger, stronger, faster and nastier than you, youre going
to get badly beaten, if youre lucky.
Guns help, but they dont solve everything. Shooting
someone or some thing - attracts unwanted public and
official attention, and could potentially result in collateral damage.
Action scenes in pulp fantastic, then, arent about
hiding behind crates and taking pot-shots. Youll need
to get the bad guys away from the public and somewhere
you can contain them. That means getting the minions,
robots, yetis, dinosaurs and great apes to chase you, it
means using the environment, and treating powerful
enemies as puzzles to be solved, not foes to be beaten
by force.

Working as a group
Your characters are part of a team. Find ways to combine
your skills and support each other. If you can, look for
opportunities to bring other player characters in on the
action. Find ways to make them look cool. If you come up
with a plan, make sure it relies on at least one other player

character. If a player is sidelined by events, try to bring


them back into the game. For example, if a character is
severely wounded and doesnt have the Story Points to
heal themselves, then either give them some of your Story
Points with an inspiring speech, or else find something
for them to do that doesnt rely on combat. A character
with a broken leg could start researching the villain-ofthe-week in the police file room.
Disagreements and conflicts between player characters
are great and add drama, but dont let inter-character strife
get out of hand. The main focus of the group should always
be on dealing with the problem at hand. Dont go off on
secret missions or sneak off on your own every session. If
your Group Framework is a military organization or some
other group with ranks, then those in charge shouldnt
abuse their authority, and subordinates shouldnt always
disobey. Lead, dont dictate.

Character Plots
Most game sessions are about the group, not individual
player characters. Character Plots are subplots that show
off or develop some aspect of your character. The gm might
introduce some character plots for you based on your back
story or personality, but you should also come up with
your own ideas for character plots and suggest them to
the gm.

Character plot plots could include:

Trouble with family members


Problems at home
Doubts about the groups purpose
Conflicts that are best resolved between game
sessions
Your character plots may only get a short scene in each
game session, or only show up once every few games. The
more you involve the other characters in your characters
plots, the more time your plots will get. Make interesting
complications for the group! Think of ways that your
character plots can bring in other characters or make
challenges for the whole team. Give your gm nasty ideas
if you help the gm put your character through an emotional wringer, itll paradoxically be more fun for you.

Downtime
The game doesnt have to stop just because youve finished
playing for the night. The game focuses on the exciting
moments of your characters life, when youre out hunting
technology and materials for the Invisible College, MI7,
or whatever organization to which you belong, but theres
more to the game than that. Between game sessions, you
can cover downtime events with the gm. The usual
method for doing this is via email. During downtime, you
briefly describe what your character is up when hes not
having adventures. We dont mean my character goes to
the shops, pays his rent, etc. you can do interesting things
in downtime too, like research ongoing mysteries, pursue
character plots, hone your skills or get into new sorts of
trouble.
115

Pulp Fantastic
Use Downtime to explore elements of your character that
havent come up in the game so far. For example, if youve
got Friends in Academia, but none of the groups adventures have involved the university so far, then during
downtime you could visit your friends, establish their
personalities for the gm, and maybe start a character plot
that will bring them into the game.
Downtime can also be used to advance character plots.

Conspiracies

RULES

The world of pulp fantastic may be an exaggerated


and simplified version of our past, but that doesnt make
it two-dimensional. Its a complicated, complex place,
with myriad powerful forces and individuals working
behind the scenes, striving for resources, for power, for

116

dominance. There are strange artifacts and weird technologies in the dark places of the world, things that make
those who own them valuable, and your group isnt the
only faction that knows about them. By investigating these
and the forces that want to exploit them, youve made
enemies. Conspiracies are always long-term plots that will
take weeks of game play to unravel. If you find a trace of
a conspiracy, investigate it as best you can, but remember
youre not going to get to the bottom of it easily.
The best conspiracies are ones that intimately involve the
player characters. Give the gm plenty of juicy plot hooks
to use against you, and trust no-one

Chapter 7
Action!

his chapter covers all the rules youll need to play


pulp fantastic. These rules are pretty simple
really, almost everything comes down to variations
on the same basic formula. In every situation, you follow
these steps.
1.

2.

3.

The gm describes whats going on. The


Gamemaster briefly describes where the
characters are, what they can see (and
hear, and smell) and whats going on (as
far as they know, anyway).
The players decide what theyre going
to do. The players choose what course of
action theyre going to try. Depending on
circumstances, the players may be able
to talk amongst themselves and carefully plan their next move (say, theyve just
found an entrance to the villains lair in
a building site and are discussing the best
way to get to it without attracting attention) or each player might have to make
a snap decision on his or her own about
what their character does (a swarm of
clock-work bugs fly out of the lair! What
do you do!)
Work out which (if any) rules apply.
A lot of the time, theres no need to resort
to the rules. If a character is just trying
to open a door, or talk to someone, or
read some research notes, or drive safely
a murder scene, then theres no need to
roll the dice. You only need to use the
rules if the action is tricky, dangerous,
risky, under time pressure, or if someones opposing the character.
If the gm decides the player does need
to roll, then decide on the combination
of Attribute and Skill that best applies.
Traits and other bonuses may also come
into play.
The gm sets the Difficulty for the roll. The
Difficulty is the target number that the
roll needs to beat to succeed.

4. Roll the Dice, Work Out The Result.


The player (or the gm) rolls the dice and
adds up the total of all the modifiers (Attribute + Skill + any applicable Traits +
the dice roll + anything else).
5. Compare the Result to the Difficulty.
If the results bigger than the Difficulty,
its a success; otherwise, its a failure.
The player (or gm) uses the rules to interpret what happens next. In general,
the player can describe the results as
they wish, but everythings subject to the
gms approval.
6. Back to Step 1. The gm narrates the
results of what the characters did (or failed
to do), and the players get to react again.
Dont ignore the rules they exist for a reason. Theyre
there to make the game more challenging and existing,
and to make sure that everyones on the same page. The
gm may decide to override the rules from time to time in
unusual circumstances.

The Basic Rule

All the action in pulp fantastic is based around this


basic system:
Attribute + Skill + Two Six Sided Dice = Result (try to
match or beat the Difficulty of the task)
Lets break that down.
Attribute: Select the most appropriate Attribute for what
the Character is trying to do. Trying to lift something?
Then Strength is the one you need. Trying to work out a
scientific problem, or remember a key fact. Thats Ingenuity. Keeping your cool in the face of danger? Use Resolve.
Skill: Next find the Skill best suited for the task. Are they
running for their lives? Having some Athletics Skill would
mean they could run faster and for longer. Having a good
Animal Handling or Survival might help identify those
tracks, while shooting someone uses Marksman.
Its possible that no Skill applies in a situation, or that
the character doesnt have the right skill. In that case,
the gm may permit the player to substitute another skill
at a penalty, or apply a penalty to the roll. See Unskilled
Attempts, below.

Pulp Fantastic
EXAMPLES: BASIC ROLL
Lord William Wild Bill McGommery is tracking a wounded
lion through the jungle. The GM asks Wild Bills player to roll
to see if he can follow the trail. The GM decides that its Tricky
to find the lions tracks amid the thick undergrowth, so the
Difficulty is 15. Wild Bill rolls Awareness + Survival + two
six-sided dice and compares the total to the Difficulty. If his
total is higher, then he can follow the trail without any
problem. If his total is less than the Difficulty, he loses the
lions trail and cannot follow it.
Trait: Do any traits apply? If so, have a look at the Trait
description and see if it applies any modifiers to the roll.
Dice: Roll two six-sided die, add them together and remember the number. Spending Story Points can add more
dice to this roll.

RULES

WHICH ATTRIBUTE OR SKILL TO USE?


In most cases, which Skill and Attribute to use are fairly
obvious. However, in some cases, there may be two Attributes
or Skills that could be used equally well. For example, lets
say the group are trying to follow a wounded lion through
dense jungle. The lion has already mauled a couple of local
villagers, and our heroes want to capture it before it can do
more damage. Tracking is based on Awareness, but whats
the best skill? Survival, to follow the tracks and scrapes on
the ground? Animal Handling, to know that lions can climb
trees? Science (Zoology) to recall that lions are pack animals,
and know that this injured animal will try to reach the safety
of her pride? You could make an argument for all three.
In this case, the player would choose whatever theyre better
at, or the Gamemaster would choose whichever is more apt
in their mind. If two Skills or Attributes are relevant, the
Gamemaster should keep the unused Skill or Attribute in
mind when deciding the outcome of the roll. Youll see below
on the success tables (see page 120) that the results can
be interpreted in different ways depending upon the roll. If
the Gamemaster chooses, he can bring the unused Attribute
or Skill into the result.
For example, if Runt is the one following the lion, his low
Animal Handling score might mean he backs the wounded
animal into a corner, causing it to become even more aggressive. If Wild Bill or Charlie McCoy had been the one pursuing
the lion, theyd have known better than to get too close.
The Gamemaster doesnt need to bear this in mind all of the
time, but it may be a great way to inspire cool additions to
the action and plot.
Using Two Attributes: Sometimes, two Attributes are equally
appropriate. Tremendous physical endurance could be measured by Strength + Resolve, for example. While most rolls
should be Attribute+Skill+Trait, the GM can vary the composition of a roll on occasion.

118

The Result: Simply add up the value of the Attribute


youve selected, the Skill you have and any adjustments
from Traits, and the dice roll. If the total is equal to or
higher than the Difficulty of the task, then the roll was a
success! Otherwise, its a failure.

Unskilled Attempts
Usually, attempting to do something that you have no Skill
in results in failure. You wouldnt try to fix the wiring
inside of a radio if you didnt know what you were doing,
and you wouldnt try to perform surgery on someone with
no medical training. However, in desperate times, you
may have to try despite being untrained.
Even without a Skill you use the same formula as before.
Of course, without a Skill to add in there, the result is going
to be lower, which reflects their lack of training, and in
most cases, trying to do something without any Skill could
actually make things worse.
Any time you try to do something that you have absolutely no
Skill in, your roll suffers a -4 penalty. If you have a Skill that
could help a little, but isnt completely related, if the Gamemaster approves you can try with a smaller penalty of -2.
Tricky tasks will have a high difficulty that will make
unskilled attempts almost impossible. Others, such as
firing a weapon without training, are possible though
without a Skill though the chance of actually succeeding
will be slim.

EXAMPLE: UNSKILLED ROLL


Lord William McGommery is standing guard over an Evil
Masterminds earthquake device when it activates and starts
to pulseits about to cause a quake and topple the city!
Wild Bills player asks the GM if he can tell how much time
he has before the device completes its warm-up and triggers
the quake. The GM tells him to roll Ingenuity + Science. Wild
Bill doesnt have Science, so hed normally be rolling Ingenuity -4 (unSkilled penalty) + 2 dice. Wild Bills player points
out that hes got Technology and a stethoscope, and the GM
agrees that Wild Bill can use the stethoscope to examine the
device. Wild Bill rolls Ingenuity + Technology + 2 dice -2 to
study the movement of the devices inner workings and estimate how long he has to deactivate it

How a roll works


So you know how a roll adds up, but what do you need to
roll for, and what do the numbers mean? Well start at the
beginning and decide what the character wants to do.

Intent
What are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish
and what risks are you willing to take to do so? Whats likely
to happen if you fail? Intent is simple to work out when a
characters doing something specific and self-contained. If
a characters intent is I want to shoot the cultist guard before

Action!
he sees that I am here, then the consequence of failure is
that the guard will be able to attack the character freely. If
you say something like I want to take a shot at the guard,
but Im staying in cover and slamming the door before he
gets too close, then youre obviously unwilling to risk an
attack from the guard, so your chance of shooting him should
be lower and the gm should set a higher difficulty.
Describe what youre trying to do to the gm. Be descriptive
and creative.

Difficulty
Whenever the characters have to do something that requires
a roll, the Gamemaster will determine the difficulty. This
is the number the player will have to beat to succeed with
the task. The average human Attribute is 3, the average Skill
is 2-3, and the average die roll is 7, so an average person
should be able to accomplish something with a difficulty
of 12 most of the time. The table provides you with suggested difficulty levels, though the Gamemaster can adjust
these to suit a particular situation.

ODD NUMBERS
Dont feel like you always have to use these numbers. If the
task is harder than a Tricky, but not as difficult as a Hard, you
can set the Difficulty of the task at 16 or 17. The numbers on
the table are a guide, not set in stone. If you want your
characters to feel particularly heroic, you can reduce the
Difficulty of their tasks to make it easier for them to succeed.

EXAMPLE: DETAILED RESOLUTION


Charlie McCoy is trying to persuade the manager of a nightclub that he needs to evacuate immediately, but he has to
convince him without telling him that theres an earthquake
machine upstairs. The GM decides thats pretty tricky, and
sets the difficulty at 21. Cliffs player rolls Presence + Convince
against a Difficulty of 21.
Charlie has a Presence of 5 and a Convince of 4. If he fails the
roll by 9 or more (which will happen only if she rolls a 2 or 3,
then he gets a Disastrous Failure, a No, And... result. The
manager doesnt evacuate the nightclub, feels that Charlie
is a nut case and calls the cops.
If he fails by 4-8, he gets a Bad Failure, a flat no. The manager
refuses to listen to him.
If he fails by 1-3, then its a plain Failure, a No, But. The GM
asks the players what the consequence should be. Charlies
player suggests that maybe the manager doesnt believe his
character, but has clubs bouncers check the exits.
If the player succeeds by 0-3, its a basic Success, a Yes, But
result. The manager agrees to shut down the club, but the
evacuation will take almost an hour as everything is carefully switched off and locked down instead of being abandoned
in haste.
To get a result beyond a basic Success in this case, Charlies
player needs to spend a Story Point for extra dice the
highest result she can get without spending a point is a 21
(5+4+12).

If the result beats the difficulty by a 4-8, its a Good Success,


a Yes. The manager is convinced by Charlies story, and agrees
to immediately evacuate the club.
To get a Fantastic Success, Charlies player would need a total
of at least 30, which gives him a Yes, And result.

TASK

DIFFICULTY

EXAMPLE

Really Really Easy

Really simple, automatic success. Opening a bottle of drink, using a telephone, walking down the
street, eating chips. (So simple, you shouldnt even need to roll!)

Really Easy

Doing basic research in the library

Easy

Winding a clock, operating a radio, jumping a low fence,

Normal

12

Driving a car in traffic, shooting at someone, swimming in the sea, uncovering a useful but not secret
fact.

Tricky

15

Driving at speed, shooting a moving target, climbing a building

Hard

18

Picking a lock, lift twice your own weight, treat a gunshot wound

Difficult

21

Climb a sheer cliff without ropes, charm your way into a government facility, escape from rope
bonds.

Very Difficult

24

Recall a whole speech from a Shakespeare play, fix a broken gizmo, fly a plane in turbulence

Improbable!

27

Hit a very small target with a slingshot, break into the Division 4 offices, slide down an elevator
cable using only your boots and your pistols.

Nearly Impossible!

30

Climb a skyscraper in the rain, shoot a small target in an adjacent room without looking.
119

Pulp Fantastic
WHEN NOT TO ROLL
There are times to pick up the dice, and times when you
should leave them sitting on the table. Dont bother to
roll if...
Its a trivial task: Dont call for Transport checks to drive down
to the shop, or Technology checks to send an email. Roll the
dice only when a task is difficult or important.

RULES

Success is vital: If the game cant continue until the players


succeed at a task, then dont make them roll for that task.
Just say they succeed and move on. Dont make the players
roll Awareness to spot some tracks in the forest if there is no
other way for them to find the next part of the adventure.
Failure is boring: If you cant think of a consequence for failure,
dont roll. Theres no point in, say, making the players roll
Athletics to climb over a wall if they can keep trying until
they succeed. Either make the wall a dangerous challenge (if
you fail, you take damage) or put a time limit on the task (if
you fail, the spy vanishes off over the rooftops).
Youve Already Rolled: Dont keep rolling for the same task
unless the circumstances have changed. For example, if a
character is trying to sneak around a pack of hungry wolves,
then the player only rolls Coordination + Subterfuge once,
instead of rolling to sneak past each wolf.

AMOUNT
ABOVE DIFFICULTY

9+

4-8

0-3

120

How well have you done?


Have a look at how far above (or below) the Difficulty the
Result was. The wider the difference between the Difficulty
and your Result, the better youve done. The easiest way to
remember this is to think of the question Did you Succeed?
As the result gets better and higher, you progress through
Yes, But to Yes, and finally Yes, And. Think again of
what your Intent was (see above, page 118) as this will help
when it comes to seeing how well youve succeeded.
Sound odd? Worry not. Check out the examples below
and youll soon see what we mean and how this works.
The same should also go for failures. Sometimes, if youre
attempting something youre really not skilled for, you could
make matters worse just by trying. Look to see how far under
the Difficulty you failed by. The lower your result, the worse
things could get. Again, think of what your initial Intent was,
as this will give you ideas of how badly things went.
Note that attacks use a special variation on this table to
work out damage.

Cooperation
Sometimes a task is so tricky or complicated; the characters
are going to have to call in some help. Many hands make
light work and all that. Of course, some people can just get
in the way and make a mess of things. However, if a group
of characters are working on something together, theres a
good chance that theyll be able to accomplish it.

RESULT

EFFECT
DID YOU SUCCEED?

Fantastic

Yes, and... something unexpected happened as a result of your astounding success. You get what you
wanted, and something extra happens that you and the Gamemaster decides.
You shoot the rabid wolf, and its pack starts devouring it instead of chasing you
You crack the German Embassy safe, and hide your traces so well theyll never know it was opened
You convince the farmer not to ask questions, and he also lets you use his farmhouse as a base of operations
You work out that the bacterial infection is spreading through the water supply, and find a way to treat
it.

Good

Yes! Youve managed to do what you wanted. If the characters result is 4-8 above the difficulty, theyve
certainly accomplished what they wanted, and pretty well.
You shoot the rabid wolf squarely in the chest
You crack the German Embassy safe
The farmer buys your story about an escaped tiger
You put the data together and notice that everyone who fell sick drank tap water from the office
building

Success

Yes, but... something may not have gone as well as youd hoped. You succeeded, but only just. It was a
close call, but you managed to scrape through. Youve succeeded but the Gamemaster may add some
sort of complication or secondary problem.
You wing the rabid wolf, but your guns out of ammo
You crack the German Embassy safe, but trip an internal alarm
The farmer buys your story about an escaped tiger but he told a friend down in the village pub, and
now youve got a news hound following you around
You work out that the bacterial infection is spreading through the water supply, but unfortunately, you
realize this five minutes after making yourself a cup of coffee from the office canteen...

Action!
In such cases, theres usually someone wholl take the lead.
Hopefully, they should have some Skill in whats being
attempted, and are usually the most up to the task. Everyone else mucks in and tries to help this leader to accomplish
their task. The helpers, if they have a suitable Skill that
could help, add +2 each to the leaders attempt. The Gamemaster may put a limit on how many people can help in
any given circumstance. For example, only two or three
people could operate on someone in a hospital theater,
and only three or four people could physically grapple
another person without getting in each others way.
As a general rule, limit the Cooperation rule to four helpers
maximum except in extreme circumstances (twelve people
are trying to lift an overturned truck off of a trapped survivor - this works as its physically possible for that many
people to muck in!).
Notice how we said suitable Skill, not necessarily the
same Skill. After all, if youre working on a special tranquillizer formula that works only works on canines, you
could have a good Science (chemistry) Skill, but someone

EXAMPLE: COOPERATION
Lord William McGommery is searching an abandoned
warehouse for an escaped spy. Normally, this would be a
straight Awareness + Survival roll, but Wild Bill has a team
of three government agents with him. His player suggests
that the team can assist him in the search, and the GM
agrees, offering Wild Bill a +6 bonus to his roll because of
the three agent help.
AMOUNT
UNDER DIFFICULTY

1-3

4-8

9+

RESULT

could help with no Science Skill if they were a knowledgeable veterinarian (Medicine skill). If, however, someone
insists on helping who doesnt have a fitting Skill, it may
be that their helping slows things down or even hinders.

Taking Time
Another way to deal with incredibly hard tasks is to take
your time and work at it over a period of time. Of course,
this isnt possible in every instance, but usually when it
comes to research, investigating something, or very
complex scientific experiments or projects, taking your
time and working at it can help.
The Gamemaster should have some sort of idea of how
long something would take to complete. Imagine the
character actually doing it, and try to guess how long
something would take. If its a very complex task, such as
a series of experiments or building a complex device, it
should take hours (if not days or longer for a really complex
task thats not vital to the story plot). If the character spends
longer than necessary on a task, taking their time and
being extra careful, they are more likely to succeed. Taking
twice as long adds a +2 bonus to the roll, three times as
long adds +4, and so on up to a maximum bonus of +10.
The gm may prefer to break up a long task into a series of
skill checks, with each one adding new potential complications. For example, if a character is working on deciphering the secrets of a piece of weird technology, the gm could
have her make one Technology roll per game session, with
each one possibly affecting the next roll (You fail to work

EFFECT
DID YOU SUCCEED?

Failure

No, but... It could have been worse. You failed, and didnt manage to achieve what you hoped,
but it wasnt a horrible failure. The Gamemaster may allow you to gain something out of the
encounter, but it may not be what youd expected.
You didnt find the data on the German Archives, but you did manage to get out without
being detected.
The farmer obviously doesnt believe your story about an escaped lion, but he takes one look
at your truck full of guns and decides to take an early lunch. Hes out of your way for a short
time.
You are not sure how the files are being stolen, but you do know they are being physically
taken.

Bad

No! Youve certainly failed at the task, but it could have been worse.
You miss the rabid wolf, and its coming for you!
You failed to crack the German Embassy safe, and the guards may know youre here.
The farmer refuses to believe that theres an escaped lion on the loose. He keeps working on
his farm, complicating your efforts to track down the spy network.
Youve no idea where this bacteria is coming from.

Disastrous

No, and... something else has gone wrong. Not only is the failure terrible, but things may have
worse consequences.
You miss the rabid wolf with your burst of fire, and you run out of ammo.
You fail to sneak into the villains base, not only that but you have set off an alarm and you
have about five minutes before his minions come to find you.
The farmer suspects youre actually trying to rob him, and threatens you with a shotgun.

121

Pulp Fantastic
TIME TAKEN

MODIFIER

TIME TAKEN

PENALTY

+2

1/2

-2

+4

1/3

-4

+6

1/4

-6

+8

1/5

-8

+10

1/6

-10

out how the gadget works, but you think its got something
to do with light See also the Invention rules on page 159.
Similarly, halving the time it would normally take to do
something means the roll receives a -2 penalty, and so on,
just like taking extra time.

RULES

EXAMPLE: TIMED ROLL


Runt is trying to open a safe in the office of the German
Ambassador to retrieve information about a Nazi spy-ring.
He wants to stay undetected by the guards, so he takes his
time. It would normally take him two hours to crack a safe
this complex; if he takes twelve hours, thatll give him a +10
bonus to his roll. So, hell pull an all-nighter and do the job
right.
Before beginning this safe-cracking marathon, he learns that
Charlie McCoy is in trouble and they need the location of the
spy-rings headquarters now. Runt decides to take the
normal time, which means a -6 penalty to his roll. Time to
spend some Story Points!

EXAMPLE: CONTESTED ROLL


In a fortified redoubt in the Himalayas, Charlie McCoy and
Siwang Lung debate free will versus the need for humanity
to find a strong leader or destroy itself. Both are trying to
convince the other, so its a contest of Resolve + Convince on
both sides. Both roll Resolve + Convince + two six-sided dice.
The highest result wins the argument.
The loser will be swayed by the argument of the winner, but
the losing player can spend Story Points (see page 135) to
ignore this compulsion.

Contested Rolls
If youre directly opposing someone else say, in an argument or a chess match or a wrestling contest or trying to
deceive someone then the difficulty is determined by an
opposed Skill Check, not by the Difficulty table. Both sides
in the conflict make a roll, and the highest Result wins.
Sometimes, both sides use the same Attribute + Skill combo.
If two characters are wrestling, then theyd both roll Strength
+ Fighting. If theyre both playing chess, then its probably
Awareness + Ingenuity. At other times, each side might use
a different combination. For example, if Charlie McCoy is
trying to use false papers to get past a guard, then that might
use his Presence + Convince against the guards Awareness
+ Subterfuge.
122

Complications
If you wish to add more realism or detail into a Conflict,
certain environmental factors can be taken into account.
If the task at hand is tricky or complicated, or there are
conditions such as rain, darkness or being hurried, the
Gamemaster can have a look at the examples provided
below and apply a modifier that seems suitable. These are
just a guideline, and Gamemasters should feel free to
modify the rolls as they see fit, though it makes for a
speedier and smoother game if these modifiers are used
sparingly.
Of course, modifiers should only be taken into account in
a Conflict only if one side alone is effected by it. If both
are effected equally, you dont need to worry about this
sort of thing.
EXAMPLE

MODIFIER

Characters have the element of surprise, or a head


start, or have innate knowledge of the environment,
area or time period. Opposition is distracted or
confused.

+2

Nothing is affecting the situation, or is affecting


all sides equally.

Poor lighting, in a mild hurry, target more than


20m away.

-1

Characters surprised by enemy, trying to do two


things at once, target is moving at running speed.

-2

Bad lighting (dark, no moonlight or streetlights)


and opponent can see in the dark, panicked, trying
to to three things at once. Trying to shoot at a
specific part of the target (head, a hand, etc.)

-4

Target more than 200m away or is a fast moving


vehicle, trying to do four things at once.

-6

Fighting in pitch blackness against an opponent


who can see or against a target out of sight, resisting when only just waking up.

-10

Multiple Opponents
If there are multiple people involved in a conflict, it can
be easier to divide the bad guys into groups and use the
Co-Operation rules.
You can also use the Multiple Opponents rules to model
gangs of minions or packs of animals in combat. Instead
of making an attack roll for every G-man backing up Wild
Bill McGommery, just have each agent aid Wild Bill, so
he makes a single attack roll with a huge bonus.

Action!

Combat & Extended Conflicts


The usual action rules cover most of the scrapes and
unlikely situations that player characters get into when
chasing anomalies, but what about gunfights, car chases
and other running action sequences. In a situation
where youve got characters acting and reacting to each
other, you need to use Action Rounds and the Extended
Conflict rules.
Each Action Round is a few seconds of time, during which
each character can perform one action (and may also react
to someone elses action if they have to).

Intent
Firstly, everyone declares what theyre going to do, as per
the usual action rules.
Sometimes, a characters intent may be rendered void by
the actions of others who went earlier in the round. For
example, if two characters both announce theyre going
to shoot at a gangster, and the first character to act kills
takes him down with his attack, the second characters
attack is pointless. A character may change intent in such
a case, but takes a -2 penalty to his roll (in effect, hes reacting to himself see below).

Action Phases
Action Rounds are divided into four Phases; Talking, Moving,
Doing and Fighting, in that order (this may seem counter-intuitive to some players, but it accurately reflects the dramatically satisfying way things happen in the Pulps, rather than
the way they happen in realitywhatever that may be).
Next, actions are resolved in the following order.
Talking: For those who prefer talking to fighting. Even
in the tensest of situation, diplomacy and persuasion (and
sometimes out-and-out lying) can often be more effective
than weapons. Note that you dont need to wait for this
Phase to shout out a brief warning or speak a word of
command, but you do need to wait for this Phase if youre
going to be speaking at length (explaining something,
making an inspirational speech, persuading a confused
foe to put down his weapon, etc.) The place can be exploding or you could be held at gunpoint, but before anyone
starts shooting or tying you up, you get to say your piece.
Moving: Motion is the most direct form of Action. Running
from a threat, charging an enemy, diving for cover, leaping
into combat, swinging from a rope; all these occur in the
Moving Phase. If the movement carries the character from
one area to another, changes his situation, moves him more
than a few metres or requires a roll it counts as an Action.
Even if youre sneaking into the villains hidden lair as quietly
as possible, trying to avoid alerting his guards, youre
moving from one place to the next, and this Phase is when
you do it. Note that, as with talking, you dont have to wait
until the Movement Phase for minor movement. A pace or
two, sitting down, changing your posture these are minor
movements and can be done at any time.

Doing: If youre not talking, running or fighting the


enemy, youre probably planning on doing something
thatll help the situation. Characters act in the Doing
Phase when their action involves something
not covered by one of the other three Phases. Doing covers
performing tasks like repairing an engine, reloading a
weapon, forcing a lock, grabbing the idol from the pedestal or anything else that involves making a roll to complete
a task that doesnt involve Talking, Moving, or Fighting.
Fighters: Finally, the people who choose to fight or shoot
take their turn. Characters act in the Fighting Phase when
they are attempting to cause harm to someone or something, either with a weapon or with their bare hands.
Within each Phase, characters act in order of Coordination.
(If two characters have the same Coordination, then the
one with the highest Awareness moves first; if theyre still
tied, they act simultaneously).

Exceptions
As with everything, there are always exceptions to a rule.
In this case, it is creatures or characters with the Fast or
Slow Trait. (see page 197 and page 202). Fast creatures
always get to act first. If theres more than one Fast creature
present, they move in order of Coordination. This means
that most predators get to act before the player characters.
Once all the Fast creatures have acted, proceed with the
Phases as listed above.

After that, Slow creatures act. These are slow-moving


animals like domesticated animals, as well as drugged
creatures and most vehicles and environmental features.

Characters roll and perform their actions


When its their turn to go in the Action Round, its time
for the characters to do their thing. In many cases, their
intended action will be resisted in some way by their
opponent, whether this is arguing, convincing, seducing,
bluffing, punching, shooting or trying to mentally control
someone. Other times it will be a simple roll against the
Difficulty of their action, if they are doing something
with no resistance, such as running, fixing a gadget or
defusing a bomb or if the target is completely unaware
of the first attack.
If the characters actions are resisted by someone, there
will be a Reaction to determine how hard it is for the
player to act.

Reactions - Resisting the roll


Instead of both sides rolling with their own intentions, and
the most successful one determining the outcome of the
Conflict, the Extended Conflict breaks things down even
further, with each person getting to try to do what they
intend, and being resisted with a suitable Skill. To determine
the Difficulty of the characters roll, you first look at the
person theyre acting against, giving them a chance to react
and to defend themselves against the action.
123

Pulp Fantastic
WHAT ARE YOU USING?

RULES

Depending upon the actions of the characters, both attacker and defender, there are many combinations of Attribute and Skill that
can be used. Here are some suggestions:
WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

SKILLS USED

RESISTED BY

Arguing

Presence with Convince

Resolve with Convince

Seduce

Presence with Convince

Resolve with Ingenuity

Punch

Strength with Fighting

Strength with Fighting (if actively blocking)

Shoot

Coordination with Marksman

Coordination with Athletics (if dodging about)

Hide

Coordination with Subterfuge

Awareness with Ingenuity

Reactions are technically a form of action. If youve already


taken your Action this round, then the first Reaction you
make is at a -2 penalty. Alternatively, if youve already had
to React before you took your Action, then your Action
suffers a -2 penalty.

youre being shot at. You roll Coordination + Athletics,


but you only get a 3 on your dice roll. Youve dodged, but
not very well. Its probably better in that situation to roll
again when the next guy shoots at you, in the hopes of
getting a better Resistance.

You can take any number of Reactions in a round, but


theres a cumulative -2 penalty. You can only take one
Action in a round.

Combat Complications

You dont have to react, but if you dont, then youre considered to roll snake-eyes (double 1) on the dice roll.
For example, Lord William McGommery is trying to slam
a door shut on a horde of cultists (his intended Action
for the round), when a clockwork assassin bug (a Fast
creature) drops on his face. At the same time Runt tries
to convince him not to shoot it as they need it intact to
find an antidote to its venom. In order, Wild Bill makes
one Reaction (Strength + Fighting) to hold off the bug,
one Action (Strength + Athletics) to shut the door (at a
-2 penalty, because its the second time hes acted) and
finally Resolve + Convince (at a -4 penalty, for the third
roll) if he wants to resist Runts persuasion.

Ongoing Reactions
A lot of Reactions work for an entire Action Round. If
someone takes a shot at you, and you dodge (using your
Coordination and Athletics to duck), then its just as hard
for any other bad guys to shoot you that round. Your resistance applies to all their attacks, too. Similarly, if youre
hiding, your Coordination + Subterfuge applies to all the
people looking for you.
Other Reactions only work against a single attack. If the
gm makes you roll Strength + Athletics to stay on your
feet when you get side-swiped by a car, then that resistance
only works against one swipe if another vehicle clips
you, youll have to roll again.
The Gamemaster decides whether or not a Reaction sticks
around for a whole round. In general, if the Reaction involves dodging or evading, it lasts for the whole round. If
you blocked or parried, it applies only to that one roll.
Even if a Reaction is ongoing, you can choose to roll it
again (applying the usual cumulative -2 penalty for doing
extra stuff in an Action Round. For example, lets say
124

Weve mentioned a bit about modifiers to rolls depending on how tricky things are in the heat of battle, but to
make things easier for Gamemasters, heres a summary
of Combat and some suggested modifiers.
Movement: Rather than fiddle with precise numbers,
well keep things simple, and use semi-abstract zones
called Areas. Most of the time the actual size of an Area
isnt important in open ground, an area might be 3m x
3m, but when youre moving through cramped sewers,
Areas are a lot smaller. If youre in an aerial chase with a
fast-moving target, then the Areas might be 100ft x 100ft
or more.
The gm should break the scene of the combat into a number
of areas. Take the lobby of a large downtown office building;
lets assume that the big central area just through the main
doors is four Areas, the stairs up to the mezzanine is another
Area, the mezzanine itself is another four Areas long, and
each of the offices off the central area is another Area.
You can move as many Areas as your effective speed. On
foot, your speed is equal to your Coordination. So if your
Coordination is 3, you can move 3 Areas on foot. Some
creatures can move faster than their Coordination would
indicate.
Range: As we mentioned, most of the time combat is fairly
close. Combatants are usually in the same room. This means
we dont really need to worry about complicated modifiers
for range. Pistols and other handguns are usually designed
for moderately close combat, so they can only hit targets
up to 50m away. Rifles, and other weapons like this designed
for longer range combat so their maximum range is around
500 metres. You can fire at targets that are outside of these
ranges, but your roll will suffer a -4 penalty.
Aiming: You could take your time and aim, especially if
youre targeting a specific part. This takes your Action in
Round to aim, and you cant do anything else (no dodging

Action!
or any Reactions). If you aim, you get to make a roll as if
youd attacked normally (so you roll Coordination + Marksman). If you succeed in this roll, you get a bonus to your
next attack roll. A success on the Aiming roll gives you a
+2 bonus, a Good result gets you +4, and Fantastic gets you
a huge +6 bonus. However, if you are attacked or interrupted in any way before taking the shot, this bonus is lost.
The Sharpshooter Trait helps with aiming.
Targeting a Specific Body Part: You can aim for a specific location, such as trying to hit a soldier in the arm so
they drop their gun, the roll is harder and there is a -2
modifier on their roll to hit. If the location is very small,
for example shooting at the pistol in someones hand, this
modifier is increased to -4. If the player hits, they can
choose the Attribute that is reduced from the damage and
aim to hit one Attribute hard rather than reducing a little
off of a few.
Cover: Hiding behind things is probably the safest bet when
the guns are firing. Cover provides two advantages - one is
that it is harder to hit a target thats smaller to see, the second
is that the cover provides protection against injury.
Imagine how much of the character is visible and how
much is behind cover. The more of the character that is
hidden, the harder it is to hit them.
HOW MUCH IS BEHIND COVER?

MODIFIER TO HIT

1/3 (Low boxes, or kneeling)

-2 modifier to hit

2/3 (head & shoulders visible, target laying


on the floor)

-4 modifier to hit

Shooting at someone who is behind some form of protection reduces the amount of damage that actually hits them.
Its all dependent upon what its made out of and how thick
it is. Some objects can only take so much damage for you
before it is destroyed and useless. Heres a rough guide.

severity of their failure. For example, a weapon that normally does 3/6/9 damage would do 6/12/18 damage to
someone who failed to get into cover in time.
Firing full auto takes the entire Round; targeting a 45 arc
uses half a clip of ammunition and affecting a 90-degree
arc uses the entire clip.
Suppression Fire: You can also use an automatic weapon
to force the other side to keep their heads down. Roll your
attack as normal. Anyone whos not in cover gets attacked
as per the normal rules on automatic fire. Everyone who
is in cover doesnt get hit, but must make an Awareness
+ Resolve roll to resist your attack. Those who fail suffer
a -2 penalty to their next action on a normal failure, a -4
penalty on a Bad Failure, and are just frozen in terror and
cant move on a Disastrous result.

USING AREAS
Areas are a handy way of including tactical decisions in combat
without getting bogged down in precise measurements and
maps. The trick is to come up with a few interesting Areas in
each combat zone, and then have the players choose where
they want to go.
For example, if the characters are making their way through
a crowded warehouse, looking for the escaped Nazi spy thats
lurking in there. The warehouse might be broken into:
The open area around the main door (no cover, but its
close to the way out)
The maze of big crates (probably where the spy is hiding)
The pile of smaller crates (the characters can easily climb
up on that to hide)

TYPE

ARMOUR
DAMAGE IT CAN TAKE
PROTECTION BEFORE DESTROYED

Wood

Brick Wall

10

50

The walkway overhead (pretty safe)

Concrete Wall

15

70

The stairs up to the walkway (very exposed)

Steel Wall

30

250

The office at the back (small and cramped)

Body armor works the same way.


Firing Multiple Shots: You can pump the trigger of a
handgun, firing it repeatedly in a round. Each attack after
the first incurs a penalty, usually -2 per previous attack.
Automatic Weapons: Some weapons are capable of automatic fire, shooting a hail of bullets. If youre caught in
the open by automatic weapons fire, youre almost certainly going to be hit. You simply selects an area of up to
a 90 arc in his line of vision and shower it with bullets.
You then make a standard attack roll. Everyone in the area
gets a chance to dive for cover with a +2 bonus to the roll.
If anyone fails to dodge into cover then they take twice as
much damage as they usually would, depending on the

The stack of barrels filled with chemicals (knocked over,


they might start a fire)

Now, turn all that into Areas.


The open area around the main door (4 areas)
The maze of big crates (8 areas)
The pile of smaller crates (2 areas)
The stack of barrels filled with chemicals (2 areas)
The walkway overhead (4 areas)
The stairs up to the walkway (1 area)
The office at the back (1 area)

125

Pulp Fantastic
Big Targets: Monster, dinosaurs, vehicles and other oversized objects are divided into several different size categories. Importantly, if theres a difference of more than
one size category, then the bigger creatures have to use
Coordination when making attacks instead of Strength.

Getting Hit
If an attack hits, then the victim takes damage. See Losing
a Physical Conflict, page 130.

EXAMPLE: SIMPLE COMBAT

RULES

Note: You should read the damage rules on page 130 before
trying to follow these examples!
Charlie McCoys going to punch one of the Crimson Claws
minions. First, we work out whos going first its determined
by Coordination, and Charlies got the higher score (plus the
Quick Reflexes Trait). Charlie rolls Strength + Fighting to hit;
the minion reacts with Strength + Fighting to block. Charlie
chooses to go for a called shot (-4 to hit) and spends a Story
Point for an extra two dice.
Charlie rolls his Strength (4) + his Fighting (3) + 4 dice, for a
total of 22, -4 for his Called Shot. The minion rolls his Strength
(5) + Fighting (4) + 2 dice, for a grand total of 11. Charlie gets
a Fantastic Success, which means he does Strength x 1.5
damage right to the minions Resolve. Thats six points of
damage, knocking the minions Resolve right down to zero.
Hes out like a light.

Chases

Chases happen a lot in pulp fantastic. Chasing after


escaped spies, running from armed minions, fleeing angry
cops who are less than thrilled at you doing their job for
them and want to arrest you theres a lot of running
around. The first important thing in any chase is the speed
of everyone involved.
On foot, your speed is equal to your Coordination.
If youre in a Vehicle, your speed is equal to the speed of
the vehicle plus your Coordination. More details of vehicles and their speeds can be found with the equipment
(see page 152).
If the way is without barriers, obstacles or other problems,
then moving is pretty easy and you dont need to roll.
Simple obstacles, such as low pipes, slippery floor or the
sudden appearance of a cat jumping out in front of you
will need a normal roll, Coordination and a suitable Skill
Athletics if youre running, Transport if youre in a vehicle.
You can go faster than your speed as well, but itll require a
roll (again, Coordination and either Athletics or Transport).
If you succeed, you increase the number of Areas you move
depending upon the Result (+1 for a Success, +2 for a Good
or +3 for Fantastic!). If you fail, youve tripped or scraped the
vehicle and its slowed you down - thats the risk you take for
126

EXAMPLE: COMPLEX COMBAT


Charlie McCoy, Runt and Wild Bill are in trouble. They were
chasing an escaped gorilla when they blundered into a
warehouse and interrupted a confrontation between armed
gangsters. One of the criminals assumed it was a police raid,
and pulled a gun. Time for combat!
Everyone declares their actions. The gorilla is going to attack.
Charlie declares hes getting everyone into cover. Wild Bill
has his rifle ready and loaded with mercy bullets; he wants
to take a shot at the gorilla. Runt has no gun, so he chooses
to throw a rock at the angry gorilla in the hope of distracting
it. The gangsters are all firing at Charlie.
Now, onto actions. The gorilla is the only Fast creature present,
which means it goes first regardless of its Coordination. It
leaps into the middle of the gangsters and lashes out at one
of them. The GM doesnt even bother rolling she just declares
that the gangsters skull is crushed by the beasts blow.
Next, its the Average-speed characters. Charlie and Wild Bill
both have Coordination 4, but Charlies got a higher Awareness,
so he goes first. He pushes Wild Bill and Runt into cover. The
GM decides thats a Strength + Athletics roll, and that itll
count as Wild Bill and Runts Reaction for the round too if
Charlie rolls well enough.
Wild Bills the next to act. He fires a shot from his rifle rolling
against Coordination + Marksman. The gorilla can dodge,
rolling Coordination + Athletics, but is at a -2 penalty because
this is its first Reaction in the round. Wild Bill hits, and the
drugged mercy bullet thuds into the gorillas hairy thigh. The
gorilla needs to make a Strength + Resolve test to resist the
tranquillizer (see page 131 for tranquillizer rules).
Next come the gangsters. Their declared action was to shoot
at Charlie, but hes in cover. The GM decides theyll shoot at
the gorilla instead. Theyre at a -2 penalty for changing their
intent; their Marksman attack is resisted by the gorillas
Coordination + Athletics. The gorilla can use the same reaction
as it used to resist Wild Bills shot. A hail of mostly inaccurate
gunfire blasts around the warehouse. The enraged gorilla
roars in pain as it is shot half a dozen times.
Finally, Runt acts. He pops up and throws a rock. He misses
the gorilla, but gets a No, But result he doesnt hit the
ape, but he does hit one of the gangsters right between
the eyes.
Everyones acted this round. The gorillas drugged and severely wounded, but it still goes first next round. Unless the
team come up with something very clever, the enraged great
ape is going to cause more havoc before the gangsters shoot
it to death
pushing yourself a little too far. You reduce the number of
Areas you travel an equal amount for the failure (-1 for a
Failure, -2 for a Bad, or -3 for Disastrous). On top of that, a
Disastrous Result could mean that your vehicle, or yourself,
takes some damage from crashing or tripping over.

Action!

Terrain

Combat in Chases

Sometimes the way isnt always clear, but often worrying


about the terrain can slow things down - literally. If the
way isnt simply open roads or skies, the characters may
have to make Coordination and Athletics or Transport
rolls to see how the terrain effects the way ahead. The
Difficulty of entering an Area with such a terrain can be
determined using the guidelines below. Roll just as if you
were trying to go faster than your normal Speed (see above),
only the Difficulty is determined by the terrain. Success
means the character can travel through as normal, possibly even faster than their speed, failure means that the
Terrain has slowed them down. A Disastrous Result, as
before, can mean they have crashed, bashed their head
on a pipe, slipped on ice or something similar.

Characters can shoot at each other while engaged in a


chase. Shooting at a target ahead while running or driving
is easier than shooting behind. Remember, they will have
used their Action running or driving, so will have a -2
penalty before taking into account that the target will be
moving (another -2 penalty, or more if they are in vehicles
traveling at very different speeds, and another -2 if shooting behind them and then theres the chance of crashing
into something). Its not going to be easy to hit them (unless
the vehicle is huge, making it a little easier to hit), so the
best bet is to try to catch up or force them to stop.

Pursuit!
Chases are a simple case of comparing how fast the two
(or more) people are moving. Most chases will start with
the various people 2 or 3 Areas away from each other, itll
depend on the situation and how the chase starts.
In a chase, it is an Extended Conflict, just as any other. The
winner gets away or catches up, depending on where they
are in the chase. If the way is tricky, there can be modifiers.
However, chases are meant to be played fast, quick and
exciting, so the rules are designed to be as simple as possible. If at any time, the Gamemaster decides this is slowing
things down, ignore the rules and run with it - literally.
However, if it is important to resolve an outcome of a chase
in detail, the following rules should break it down into a
simple, yet exciting series of Action Rounds.
Each Action Round, simply compare the Speeds of both
characters involved. Look at the Speed of the person
running away, and take away the Speed of the person
pursuing them.
If the number of Areas between the characters is reduced
to Zero (0), then the pursuer has caught up with the
pursued. If the number of Areas between them increases over 6, then the pursued usually escapes. In some
circumstances, where visibility is particularly poor, this
may be reduced (such as a busy city center). The same
goes for the reverse, in open space or the countryside,
where you can see the target a long way off, the number
of Areas required to escape may be increased at the Gamemasters discretion.

Doing Something Crazy


Theres nothing like doing something crazy to make a
Chase more exciting. It can be anything that has a bit of
danger involved, from vaulting over a fence when running
on foot to driving your motorcycle on the pavement, to
driving a car through a department store or the wrong
way down a highway. The crazier the stunt, the more
difficult it is going to be, however if youre successful, it
could mean a quick escape. If youre feeling daring you
can opt to do a Stunt. The player can determine what it
is, and the Difficulty of stunt. The player will have to beat
this Difficulty to perform the stunt - failing this and the
stunt goes wrong and they risk crashing or tripping over.
If they succeed, the NPC will have to repeat the stunt to
keep up, at the same Difficulty. Any difference in success
levels (Fantastic, Good, Success, etc) between those performing the stunts can widen or shorten the distance
between them by as many Areas as the difference.

Different characters and creatures can use different


methods of doing stunts. If youre being chased by a bull,
you might scramble over a fence by rolling Coordination
+ Athletics. That bull, though, is just going to try smashing
through the fence with Strength + Athletics.

Cooperating in a Chase
Of course, if there are multiple people involved in the
chase each should roll separately. This way, if someone is
particularly slow, theres a good chance that theyll be
caught. Itll be up to the rest of the group to see if they
hold back and wait for them. If someone is slow and
holding the group up, they can act as a whole, with the
faster characters aiding the slower to escape. In this case,

DIFFICULTY

TERRAIN

Open road

Open ground, field

12

Normal street, average traffic and pedestrians

15

Busy street, stairs, undergrowth

18

Loose rubble, dense forest, ladders, very crowded street during rush hour.

21

Swamp, mountainous
127

Pulp Fantastic
the characters all roll separately as before, but the slow
character can be helped along with the other characters
providing a bonus using the Cooperation rules (see above,
page 120). Remember though, when youre being chased
by an Eldritch Abomination, you dont have to be faster
than the monster, you just need to be faster than your
team-mates!

Losing a Physical Conflict:


Getting Hurt

RULES

Sometimes the injury is so small that theres no heavy


paperwork involved. The Gamemaster may just remember
your injury and say that you may be walking slower due
to that twisted ankle, or that you cant reach that item on
the top shelf cause of the pain in your arm.
If injuries are severe enough, you may find that one or
more of the characters Attributes are reduced. Which
Attribute is down to the actual source of injury. It should
be logical to the story and to the event - for example, falling
a distance and failing to land safely may result in a loss of
Coordination from a leg injury, or possibly Strength.
Getting shot could mean youd lose Strength, Coordination
(if its in a limb), or Resolve. In most cases, the Gamemaster will dictate which Attributes are affected.
Most sources of injury will have a number or a letter next
to it to indicate the damage the character would take from
it. These are explained in the handy sidebar.

Levels of Injury
All sources of injury, whether they are weapons, falls,
poisons, or worse, will have a value attached to it. This is
usually a number, or in some cases S (for Stun) or L (for

Lethal). In most of these cases, the numerical value refers


to the middle effect (a Good or Bad). This is halved for a
Failure (or a Success if youre trying to inflict the injury),
or multiplied by 1.5 for a Disastrous (or Fantastic if youre
doing the harming). Remember to round down to the
nearest whole number unless this is zero.
S or Stun results mean that the target is rendered unconscious. At the Gamemasters discretion, the character may
be able to perform a last desperate act before passing out,
such as crying a warning or pressing a button. Normal
Stun effects last around 30 minutes, but cause no actual
physical injury (aside from minor bruising when the character hits the floor). On a Disastrous result the character
is unconscious for 45 minutes, and on a Failure the character is incapacitated for just 15 minutes. However, the
Gamemaster may amend these durations according to the
source of the damage and the needs of the story.
On recovering consciousness, the character may feel
queasy, aching and a little unwell, though this should
soon pass.
L or Lethal results mean that the attack is normally instantly fatal. In the Pulps such attacks were rare and were
usually limited to the toxins and rare venoms employed
by evil masterminds and their assassins. Lethal attacks
are included in the game as a reminder that there are some
enemies the player characters really should stay away
from, and they also encourage planning and tactical thinking when facing terrible danger.
A character on the wrong end of a Lethal attack can spend
Story Points to avoid it. If they cannot, then the character
is killed on a Bad or Disastrous result. On a Failure, the
character manages to avoid death, but suffers a serious
injury as a result of diving out the way of the attack (at
least 4 points of damage).

VEHICLE COLLISIONS
If a vehicle smashes into something like a person, a large creature or another vehicle, both the vehicle and the victim take damage.
The base damage equal to the average of the vehicles speed + Hit Capacity, rounding up. If the victim is one or more Size Categories bigger than the vehicle, the base damage is halved.
Next, work out the actual damage. This is resolved like an attack; the driver of the vehicle must make a Coordination + Transport
check to determine how much damage the collision does. (If the driver is trying to avoid a damaging collision, then use the same
roll, but damage is applied on a failure, not a success.)
The vehicle takes the same damage if the victim is the same size or bigger than the vehicle; half damage if the victim is one size
smaller, and no damage otherwise.
For example: After an expedition to an isolated South Seas island, theres now an angry giant ape loose on Broadway. Charlie McCoy
commandeers a Ford V-8 and rams the beast at full speed. The Ford is moving at Speed 8 and has a Hit Capacity of 12, for an average
of 10. So, the collision is going to do 5/10/15 damage to the 8th Wonder of the World. Charlie makes a Drive test; if he makes a
Fantastic success, hell do the higher value; if he merely gets a Good success, hell hit for the middle value and so on.
If Charlie was trying to avoid hitting the giant ape then the results would be reversed. Hed do maximum damage on a Dismal
failure, average damage on a Bad failure, and the lowest damage on a Marginal failure.
If Charlie was driving a smaller vehicle, the damage would be halved. The giant ape is bigger than the Ford, so the vehicle takes the
same damage as the beast (minus the vehicles armor).

128

Action!
WHICH ATTRIBUTE?

RANDOM LOCATIONS

A lot of the time, the Attribute effected is determined by the


source of the injury. For example, if the character is shot in
the leg by an arrow, the Gamemaster will decide which Attributes most suit the injury. In this case, he thinks that a
point should come off of the characters Resolve, as the injury
will effect his drive and determination. A point should also
be lost from Coordination, as theyre less able to move about
quite so easily. And finally, the Gamemaster decides that a
final point should be lost from Strength, due to his newly
weakened physical state.

If the action doesnt instantly provide you with inspiration


for where an injury would happen, you can roll a location
randomly. Just roll two dice and look up on the table below.
If the location doesnt work, or if the limb is behind cover,
you can either roll again, or decide that the cover absorbs
the damage.

If its a severe injury, the Gamemaster may apply all of the


damage to one Attribute, effectively incapacitating the
character from using that Attribute until they can get medical
attention. A less severe one (a Failure, rather than a Disastrous)
may take a little off of multiple Attributes.
Still unsure? Imagine where theyve been hit - head, body,
arms or legs. What would the injury effect? A blow to the
head would probably effect their Coordination, Awareness,
Presence, and Resolve, even Ingenuity. A hit to the body
would effect their Strength and Resolve. Arms or Legs would
lower their Coordination, Strength, or Resolve. If youre still
stuck, just reduce their Resolve and then Strength when the
Resolve is gone, but a little imagination with the injury can
lead to great story effects and plot developments!
Numerical value results indicate how many points of
Attributes will be reduced by the injury. The Gamemaster
will discuss this with the player to suit the story and the
source of the injury. After all, not all sources are the same.
Well cover the various sources of injury later and give you
and the Gamemaster guidelines for how this works.
The number presented is the normal, for a Bad result or
defeat. This number is halved (round down) for a Failure
result, and multiplied by 1.5 for a Disastrous result. For
example, a weapon that has a damage value of 6 will reduce
one or more Attributes by a total of six levels on a Bad
result. A Failure would knock this figure down to 3, and
a Disastrous result would be 9.
Dont worry, well save all those maths - in most cases,
when a source of injury is presented, well present it with
the half and the 1.5 to speed things up, with the normal
figure in the middle. A fairly nasty weapon that has a value
of 8 will be presented as 4/8/12, meaning its 4 for Failure,
8 for Bad and 12 for a Disastrous.
RESISTANCE FAILED

DAMAGE

1-3 (Normal Failure)

damage

4-8 (Bad Failure)

Full Damage

9+ (Disastrous Failure)

1 damage

Fighting Damage

ROLL

LOCATION

CALLED
SHOT
DIFFICULTY

ATTRIBUTE REDUCED

2-4

Leg

-2

Coordination, Strength, Resolve

5-8

Body

-0

Strength, Resolve

9-10

Arm (or Forearm)

-2

Coordination, Strength, Resolve

11-12

Head

-4

Coordination, Awareness, Presence, Resolve, Ingenuity

Success and 4 on a Fantastic). If they have a Strength of 5,


they do 5 points of damage on a Good result (2 on a Success
and 7 on a Fantastic).
If they are using a weapon, the damage is increased depending upon what sort of weapon it is that youre swinging around. Follow this simple checklist, and for every
yes add +2 to your characters Strength.
Is it sharp? (Does it have a cutting edge, sharp points or
something equally nasty designed to puncture or slash
the target?)

Is it heavy? (Does it need two hands to lift?)


Is it dangerous? (Does it do damage without you having
to do anything, like an electric cattle prod, a chainsaw or
a red-hot poker?)
For every one of these, add +2 to the Strength of the character when working out damage. So if its something like
a sword, its your characters Strength +2. If its a big Scottish claymore and you really need to use it two-handed,
then its both heavy and sharp so its Strength +4. If its
something really nasty like a chainsaw, its both sharp and
dangerous, but its also heavy and two-handed, so it gets
the full +6 to the Strength.
These damages also count if youre throwing a weapon
(such as a knife or rock) at someone. The stronger you are,
the more force you can put behind the throw doing more
damage.

Marksman Damage
Shooting something is a different case. Its not about how
strong you are, its about how accurate you can shoot. In
most cases, a bullet will do the same amount of damage
if it hits, no matter who fires it. See individual weapon
descriptions starting on page 141 for how much damage
a bullet does on a Normal/Good/Fantastic result.

When it comes to close, physical combat, its all about how


strong you are. If the character has a Strength of 3, they
will do 3 points of damage on a Good Roll (and 1 on a
129

Pulp Fantastic
ITS A KNOCKOUT!
Want to knock someone out? Then make a Called Shot (-2 to
your roll) and choose to attack their Resolve. If you reduce
someone to Resolve 0, theyre knocked unconscious. Obviously, you cant do this with a lot of weapons trying to
knock someone out with a chainsaw is impossible.
Damage taken from being knocked out is ignored when the
character wakes, though they may have a headache and a
bad bruise.

ITS A KNOCKBACK!

RULES

If a character is hit by something big, the GM may rule that


hes been knocked back instead of taking the full force of
the blow. Knockback halves the damage, but the character
is sent flying and is stunned for a few rounds. How long are
you stunned for? Thats up to the GM, but the player can
always spend a Story Point to recover.

Other Sources of Injury


Falls: Falling can result from failing at climbing something, failing to jump over a gap or run around obstacles.
The distance fallen determines how much damage taken
from hitting the ground. For every metre your character
falls, the value of the damage is 1. So if you fall 5 metres,
the damage value is 5. This is from failing the initial climb,
jump or running roll and this is the value for a Bad result,
it will be reduced (halved) if the result was a Failure or
increased (x 1.5) if you get a Disastrous. This reflects something breaking your fall, managing to land on a ledge
(albeit a little painfully), catching yourself on the way down
or landing particularly badly, making things worse.
Crashes: Most vehicles are designed to protect the passengers (with the exception of bikes, and other forms of
transport where the driver is exposed). If the character
hits something at speed, or is hit by something traveling
at speed, the damage is equal to number of Areas it traveled
in the last action. For example, getting hit by a car that
was traveling 8 Areas in its action does 8 points of damage
(on a Bad result when trying to avoid it, halved for a Failure,
or 1.5 for a Disastrous). Passengers in a vehicle that hits
something suffer the same damage, only reduced by the
armor protection of the car. If the car that was traveling
at 8 Areas then hits a brick wall, if the car provided 4 levels
of armor protection (see vehicles, on page 149), each
passenger takes 4 levels of damage.
Drowning: Drowning, like falling, is the result of failing
a roll. This time it comes from failing at swimming or
holding your breath in a flooded area. A Bad result will
mean the character sustains 8 levels of damage (usually
to Strength and Resolve). A Failure reduces this to 4 which
would mean that youve swallowed a lungful of water,
choked a little and have hurt yourself but youre okay to
try again. Disastrous result is Lethal, so lets hope you have
some Story Points to knock it up to a level or two. If youre
trapped in a flooded room or location, youre going to take

130

this damage every ten seconds or so, so youre going to


have to find a way out quick. The same rules apply to toxic
gases and unbreathable atmospheres (one of the hazards
of secret volcano bases).
Fire: Fires a tricky one, as it can depend upon how big the
fire is. The way well handle it is actually avoiding catching
on fire yourself. This way, you can run through a burning
building, fight back a blaze, try to put out a burning document that has been thrown into an open fireplace its
all handled the same way. The Gamemaster will change
the difficulty if the fire is particularly intense, but a failure
means that youve caught fire in some way an item of
clothing has caught alight, or worse. Roll Strength +
Resolve if youre walking through flames, or Co-Ordination
+ Resolve if youre trying to bat out flames or avoid touching the flames in a burning house. A Disastrous result is
Lethal, as it doesnt take long for the flames to totally
engulf a person. A Bad or Failure result means that youve
managed to put out the fire after suffering some burns,
reducing the damage to 8 or 4 respectively. Again, Story
Points are going to be the lifesaver in this situation.
If youre in an environment where the oxygen content of
the atmosphere is higher, then fire does more damage.
Conversely, a lower O2 atmosphere makes fires burn less
intensely.
Cold/Heat: Cold isnt quite so instant in its danger, it is
all about exposure. Depending upon how cold it is, the
Gamemaster will assign a damage level depending upon
how extreme the temperature is. Characters will have to
make rolls using their Strength and any suitable Skill
(usually Survival, modified by Traits) to avoid exposure.
This may have to be repeated every hour (or more in
extreme conditions), the character gradually losing Attributes until they freeze to death.
The same effect can be used for exposure to extreme heat,
like being caught in the open of the hot desert sun. Again,
the Gamemaster will assign a damage level depending
upon how hot it is, and Strength and Survival rolls are
required to avoid taking damage from the heat.
TEMPERATURE

DAMAGE
(NORMAL - BAD RESULT)

Above 55 Degrees Celsius

5 per 5mins

Above 45 Degrees Celsius

3 per hour

Above 30 Degrees Celsius

1 per day

Below -5 Degrees Celsius

1 per day

Below -20 Degrees Celsius

3 per hour

Below -40 Degrees Celsius

5 per 5mins

These figures are approximations based on exposure


without the correct clothing or protective gear. The Gamemaster should feel free to adjust these figures or make
up their own to suit the situation.
Oxygen Deprivation: Some environments have greater
or lesser percentages of oxygen in their atmospheric composition. A lower partial pressure of oxygen is like being

Action!
on top of a very tall mountain the air is thin and its harder
to catch your breath. A lower percentage of oxygen isnt
actively dangerous, but youll get tired more quickly (the
gm may choose to hit you with Resolve or Strength damage,
or ask you to pay a Story Point to avoid becoming exhausted after running or fighting.)
Electricity: If a character touches a live electrical wire (or
a conductive object thats connected to such a wire), they
must make a Strength + Resolve roll. Even if they succeed,
theyre stunned for one round. If the roll fails, they take
4 damage on a Failure, 8 on a Bad Failure and are killed
on a Disastrous result. Again, the Difficulty depends on
the strength of the current zapping someone with the
current from a domestic supply is very different to pushing
them into an industrial transformer.
Poison: Poison is a special form of damage. Each poison
attack has a Difficulty Number and a damage associated
with it. The poison takes effect 1d6 rounds after the initial
bite. When it starts to take effect, the character must make
a Strength + Resolve roll against the poison. If the character fails, check the Poison Effect table below.
RESISTANCE FAILED BY

RESULT

1-3 (Normal)

The character takes extra damage


from the poison every ten minutes.

4-8 (Bad)

The character takes extra damage


from the poison every minutes.

9+ (Disastrous)

The character takes extra damage


from the poison every round.

Medical treatment can give a bonus to the characters Resistance rolls against poison; the right antivenin can cure
the poison entirely. Some poisons attack a particular Attribute; a neurotoxin would primarily hit Awareness and
Ingenuity, while a paralytic mainly affects Coordination.
Disease: As the world shrinks due to easier, cheaper and
faster means of travel, so new and strange diseases come
to light. Flesh-eating bacteria, horrible viruses and virulent
fungal infections all lie in wait in the sweltering jungles
or lurk below the radar in isolated populations. As a rule,
Pulp heroes rarely if ever come down with common illnesses such as colds or flu (unless it is used for comedy value,

such as a henchman who cant stop sneezing or a character who has to spend the day with his face in a steam bath),
so these rules only concern themselves with diseases of
the strange, unusual or dangerous variety. Remember that
at this point in history, antibiotics have not yet been discovered, so that diseases that are easily treatable in the
modern era can be life threatening in the age of the Pulps.
When exposed to the vector of a disease (for example, a
character is splashed with the blood of an infected person,
or approaches someone affected by an airborne disease
without wearing a mask) the character resists infection
by rolling Strength + Resolve against the Difficulty of the
disease. Failure means the character is infected and suffers
the damage and side-effects listed under the description
of the disease. Once infected, the character must make a
similar roll to fight the disease every day. To fully recover
from the illness (if it can be recovered from) the character
must make a number of successful resistance rolls as listed
on the disease table. A Failure inflicts the diseases damage
again and increases the number of successes required by
1, a Bad result by 2 and a Disastrous result by 3. When the
character has met or exceeded the required number of
successes, he has beaten the disease and is considered
fully recovered and free from side-effects.
If medical care is provided while the character is sick, it
can add to the characters success total and reduce his
recovery time. Characters providing medical aid must roll
Ingenuity + Medicine plus the number of recovery successes already made by the patient against the Difficulty
of the disease. Should they wish to provide continuing
aid, they may make this roll once per day and speed the
patients recovery still further. Should any of their rolls
fail, however, the patient suffers the same penalties as if
they themselves had failed a recovery roll.

Plague: Responsible for some of the deadliest pandemics


in human history, plague (also known as the Black Death)
spread across Europe from Central Asia in the mid-14th
Century, killing an estimated 75 million people, almost
half of them in Europe. Caused by the Yersina Pestis bacterium, the disease is spread by fleas carried by black rats
and other rodents and takes three form; Bubonic, Septicaemic and Pneumonic. Both the bubonic and septicaemic

DISEASE TABLE
NAME

VECTOR

DIFFICULTY DAMAGE

RECOVERY SUCCESSES

Plague

Infected flea bites

12

Smallpox

Airborne, Body Fluids

12

Malaria

Infected mosquitoes

12

10

Cholera

Contaminated water

16

Typhoid Fever

Contaminated food or water

10

Yellow Fever

Infected mosquitoes

14

Necrotizing Fasciitis

Septic wounds

10

Rabies

Infected animal bites

20

Fatal

Spanish Flu

Airborne, Body Fluids

15

10
131

Pulp Fantastic
forms are transmitted by flea bites, while the pneumonic
form is airborne via the exhalations of infected carriers
and is the only form of plague that can be spread from
person to person. Due to the ease of transmission, plague
was used as one of the earliest forms of biological weapon,
with infected corpses dumped in water supplies or catapulted over city walls to spread the disease.
Once a patent is infected, the bacterium multiplies rapidly,
with an incubation period of 2-6 days (1-3 for the pneumonic form) before the patient becomes ill. Symptoms include;
Bubonic Plague: Headache, alternating fever and chills,
physical weakness and one or more painfully swollen
lymph nodes (buboes, usually closest to where the bacterium entered the body).

RULES

Septicaemic Plague: Abdominal pain, alternating fever


and chills, extreme physical weakness and in extreme
cases subcutaneous bleeding. Gangrene of the extremities can occur.
Pneumonic Plague: Headache, fever, physical weakness
and shortness of breath, chest pains and a hacking cough.
Patients develop a rapidly progressing pneumonia that
can cause respiratory failure and shock.
If left untreated, all three forms of plague can be fatal,
with a mortality rate of about 66%. Characters infected
with plague suffer a -5 penalty to all rolls when attempting
to do anything other than lie in bed and recover.
Smallpox: A serious, contagious and potentially fatal
disease, smallpox is spread by direct contact between
people, and occasionally by contact with infected body
fluids or contaminated clothing or bedding. It is sometimes
airborne within enclosed spaces, but this is rare. After an
incubation period of between 7 and 17 days (during which
the patient is not infectious), symptoms include a high
fever, physical weakness and lassitude, head and body
aches and occasional vomiting. After 2 days the patient
develops a dense rash across the body that develops over
a period of days into hard pustules filled with infectious
fluid. These eventually scab over and fall off, leaving pitted
white scars. If treated, the disease usually lasts about 20
days, during which time the patient is too sick to move
around and suffers a -6 penalty to all rolls involving anything more than bed-rest and recovery. Death occurs in
about 1% of cases.
Malaria: Caused by parasites carried in the gut of infected mosquito populations in hot, humid countries, the
disease is a major health hazard in the third world. After
being bitten by an infected mosquito, the patient remains
symptom-free during an incubation period of between 7
and 30 days before suffering their first attack. Malaria
attacks typically last between 6 and 10 hours and include
fever, chills, profuse sweating, body aches, nausea and
vomiting, malaise and occasional delirium. These attacks
may reoccur months or even years after the patient has
recovered from the original illness, often corresponding
with periods of stress or ill health. In cases where the
patient is already ill or is suffering from a pre-existing
condition, severe malaria may set in, resulting in seizures,
132

acute kidney failure and potentially death. Once symptoms


manifest the patient is too sick to move around and suffers
a -6 penalty to all rolls involving anything more than bedrest and recovery. Prophylactic treatments are available
to prevent infection.
Cholera: Caused by the ingestion of water contaminated
by the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. Onset of the disease is
rapid with early symptoms including watery diarrhea
(which is itself highly contagious), nausea and vomiting,
rapid heart rate, dry eyes and mouth, loss of skin elasticity, low blood pressure, thirst, muscle cramps and restlessness or irritability. If left untreated this can lead to
acute renal failure, circulatory collapse, coma, shock and
in about 50% of cases death. Once symptoms manifest
the patient is too sick to move around and suffers a -6
penalty to all rolls involving anything more than bed-rest
and recovery.
Typhoid Fever: Caused by the bacterium Salmonella
Typhi, typhoid fever is a potentially deadly disease transmitted by the consumption of contaminated food or water.
The disease has a short incubation period and a gradual
onset. Symptoms include fever, headache, constipation,
malaise, chills, and headache, making it hard to distinguish from other diseases. In severe cases confusion,
delirium, intestinal perforation, and death may occur. If
untreated, death occurs in about 30% of all cases. Once
symptoms fully manifest the patient is too sick to move
around and suffers a -7 penalty to all rolls involving anything more than bed-rest and recovery.
Yellow Fever: Caused by a virus transmitted by infected
mosquitoes, Yellow Fever has an incubation period of 3 to
7 days. Symptoms are sudden and include chills, fever,
severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea
and vomiting, fatigue and physical weakness. The illness
casts several days and usually improves by itself, though
weakness and fatigue may last several months. After a
brief period lasting from 6 to 24 hours, roughly 20% of
patients develop a more severe form of the disease with
symptoms including high fever, jaundice, bleeding, and
eventually shock and multiple organ failures. Death
follows in about 50% of severe cases. Once symptoms
manifest the patient is too sick to move around and suffers
a -4 penalty to all rolls involving anything more than bedrest and recovery.
Necrotizing Fasciitis: Caused when a common type of
streptococcus bacterium carried without ill-effect by most
people gets into muscle-tissue, the bloodstream or the
lungs, necrotizing fasciitis spreads rapidly and consumes
flesh, fatty tissue and skin. Symptoms include severe rapid
swelling and intense pain at the site of infection, blackening of the tissues, Treatment usually involves the excision or amputation of infected tissue. Pus or fluids from
infected areas are highly infectious if brought into contact
with open wounds or sores. If left untreated, death occurs
in 25% of cases. The disease is excruciatingly painful and
infected characters are unable to act once the disease sets
in, which takes about 24 hours.
Rabies: Rabies is a deadly virus transmitted by infected

Action!
saliva contained in the bite of an infected animal. The
incubation period from bite to the first symptoms can vary
wildly, from 4 days to 12 weeks. Initial symptoms are similar
to the flu; headache, chills, fever and body ache, accompanied by a severe itching at the site of the bite. During
this period infected characters may still act, but suffer a
-2 penalty on all rolls not involving fighting the disease.
Within days these symptoms include delirium, confusion,
hallucinations and erratic or abnormal behavior. Once
these symptoms arise, the disease is almost always fatal.
Later symptoms include extreme terror, aggression and
hydrophobia. During this stage of the disease characters
can no longer act and any treatment involves reducing
their pain and distress.
Spanish Flu: In the years immediately following the Great
War, Spanish Flu infected one-third of the human race
and killed over 100 million human beings in one of the
deadliest disease outbreaks in history. With a very short
incubation period (often as short as 24 hours), symptoms
include weakness, fever, muscle and joint pain, coughing
and loss of appetite. In severe cases the disease would
progress to severe pneumonia, with patients often drowning as their lungs filled with fluid. The disease is extremely debilitating, and once symptoms have begun to manifest
characters suffer a -4 penalty to all rolls involving anything
more than bed-rest and recovery.

Mental or Social Conflicts


Mental and Social Conflicts work in a similar way to Physical Conflicts. Being outwitted, tricked or out-maneuvered
counts as losing a Mental Conflict, while being argued
into a position, embarrassed or forced to obey an order is
losing a Social Conflict.

Bluffing & Deception


Lying and deceit is a vital skill when trying to keep the
existence of the Anomalies a secret. Usually, youll roll
Presence + Convince against the other persons resistance.
If youre trying to fool someone, then hed roll Awareness
+ Convince (if theyre trying to see through your bluff) or
Resolve + Convince (if theyre trying to resist your blather).
Most bluffing attempts can be resolved as a Simple Conflict
just roll once and check the result table.

Arguments
Knock-down, drag-out arguments and debates are basically fist-fights, only with words instead of punches. Use
the standard combat rules, but instead of rolling Strength
+ Fighting, the participants roll Presence + Convince, and
the damage gets applied to the losers Resolve, Ingenuity,
Presence or Awareness.
Called shots can be used in arguments; trying to undermine someones confidence is a called shot to their Resolve,
while humiliating someone is an attack on their Presence.

cutting verbal jab, bringing in someones dark secrets, or


good role-playing can increase the damage from an attack
just like using a tire iron or a sword or a chainsaw can
improve a melee attack.

Getting scared
Intimidating someone by threatening them physically is
a simple conflict you could use Strength + Convince or
Presence + Fighting (but not Strength + Fighting thats
actually punching someone, as opposed to merely looking
dangerous), and is resisted by Resolve + Convince or
Resolve + Strength.
Monsters, Eldritch Abominations and other creatures are
a different matter. Monsters terrify us out on an instinctive
level. Any creature with a Fear Factor can intimidate people
by its presence alone. The creature rolls Presence + Resolve
+ its Fear Factor. The characters can resist by rolling Resolve
+ Ingenuity.
If you fail a fear test, youre frozen in terror for one round.
Failing really badly might mean you instinctively flee, or
panic, or drop anything youre holding. If youve got the
Brave trait, you can spend a Story Point to resist fear.

BEING POSSESSED
There are many beings and creatures capable of taking over
the character, controlling their every action and thought.
Defending yourself against an alien consciousness that is
trying to control your mind is a normal Conflict, with the
attackers Resolve + Convince against the characters Resolve
+ Ingenuity (if a battle of wits) or Strength (if a battle of
pure mental power). Any applicable Traits can modify the
Attributes of each side. If the character wins, he retains his
control and sanity. If the character fails, they can opt to spend
Story Points to retain control. If theyre out of Story Points,
the attacker will take control, and the Gamemaster will dictate
what they wish to do.
There may be moments when the character can retain control
for a couple of seconds stopping themselves from pulling
that trigger, trying to tell the others what the attackers evil
plans are or how to defeat it. Its not easy, but the Gamemaster may allow you to do this if it develops the story.
How to shake the thrall of possession? Its going to cost Story
Points, but if youre already possessed it probably means
youve already run out of Story Points, so youre going to
have to get them from your friends. They can donate Story
Points a rousing speech of support, a meaningful dialogue
to remind you of who you are anything that might bring
you back to your senses may help.

You can have weapons in an argument. An especially


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Pulp Fantastic

Losing a Mental or Social Conflict


There are several ways to handle the consequences of a
mental or social defeat.

Loss of Attributes
Non-physical attributes like Ingenuity or Resolve can be
damaged by conflicts. If Wild Bill and Charlie McCoy have
a furious argument, then Wild Bills Resolve might be
damaged and his temper spills over into other situations.
This works just like physical damage, but heals a lot faster.
Most conflicts wont inflict damage like this; save it for
attacks that really hurt the character emotionally, forcing
him to make stupid decisions.

RULES

Temporary Bad Trait


Another possible result of a lost Conflict is the acquisition
of a temporary Bad Trait, or the loss of an existing Good
Trait. This is especially appropriate for social conflicts that
only affect a set group of people. For example, if a character commits a massive social blunder at a high-class party,
then his Presence and Resolve are unaffected hes still
as commanding and determined as ever but he may pick
up the Unattractive Trait when dealing with anyone who
knows about his faux pas.

Forced To Comply
The most likely result of a social or mental conflict that
the character is compelled to go along with some suggestion. For non-player characters, this works perfectly well.
What happens if one player character gets into a Social
Conflict with another, or is on the losing side of a conflict
with an NPC? If your character loses a Social Conflict,
youve got two options:
Go along with it. People get talked into doing the wrong
thing all the time, or make bad decisions. Letting your character act against his best and avoid the social compulsion.

Healing
Natural Healing
Without medical aid, or after it has been administered,
natural healing is at a rate of 1 level of Attribute per day
of full rest. The Fast Healer trait improves this rate.
Normally, when one adventure ends, any injuries are
healed and Attributes are restored to the normal level.
However, there are exceptions - if the Gamemaster is
planning a two or three part adventure, where very little
time passes between, injuries will be kept, or healed slightly at the Gamemasters discretion.

Medic!
However, if medical aid is at hand and you need to get
back into the action as quickly as possible, a trained doctor
134

or medic (someone with the Medicine Skill) can try to


patch you up. A successful Medicine roll will heal an
injury, restoring levels of Attributes that have been lost.
For a Success, 1 level is restored. 2 for a Good and 3 points
for a Fantastic respectively. The Gamemaster may apply
modifiers if the injuries are severe or if modern medical
supplies are unavailable, or in conditions where infection
is a major threat. Getting injured beyond the reach of
civilization is very dangerous.
This sort of medical assistance can only be done once for
each injury. That is, if you are injured from a fall, reducing
your Coordination by 1, someone can try to patch you up
and restore that missing level. If they fail, it cannot be
attempted again until the character sustains another
injury. However, if you receive another 2 points of injury
and your resident medic gets a Fantastic result, you will
have all 3 points of injury restored.
How hard is it to heal a character? The usual default Difficulty is 12, but the Difficulty should be increased by one
for every Attribute the character has that is at zero. Severe
injuries are going to be harder to patch up, and sometimes
the best thing for them is a trip to the nearest hospital.

Multiple Injuries and Reduced


Attributes
All this talk of losing Attribute points, there can be a time
when the character has lost a lot of points. When an Attribute reaches zero, the character is unable to do anything
related to that Attribute. So what does that mean for each
Attribute?
Zero Awareness may mean that one or more of their senses
have been temporarily impaired, leaving them unable to
move around on their own. Theyre so dazed or unable to
tell what is going on around them that they will not know
what is happening, or may be unable to communicate.
Zero Coordination, theyll be flailing around as if theyd
had one too many at the local bar. Theyll keep falling over
or tripping over the slightest thing, over reaching for items,
knocking everything over. Probably best just to sit down
and hope to recover.
Zero Ingenuity (not one that will drop often) will mean
the character is so tired or defeated theyre unable to think
sensibly or come up with any ideas. They may do foolish
things, like blindly following foolhardy orders or believe
what people say unquestioningly.
Zero Presence and the character will probably be unconscious, unable to talk or communicate until revived by
medical means or given time to recover. If remaining
conscious, they will refuse or be unable to communicate
with anyone, shunning contact with others as they seem
threatening.
Zero Resolve means theyve given up completely, admitted
defeat and will sit around not really wanting to do anything. They become open to suggestion and likely to do
anything theyre told. If inundated with suggestions or

Action!
orders they may react badly to the overwhelming instructions, striking out at everyone nearby.

Story Points

Zero Strength, theyre likely to collapse to the floor, unable


to even stand. The character will have to be carried and
will probably not have enough strength to defend or help
themselves.

Youve heard the term Story Points used many times so


far, and each player should already have some marked
down on their character sheet. Before everyone starts
playing, the Gamemaster will hand out a number of
tokens to each player equal to their Story Points. That
way, when they spend a Story Point, they simply hand
the token back to the Gamemaster rather than having to
rub out numbers constantly on the character sheet until
you can see through it. If the Gamemaster rewards the
players for good play or aiding the story, hell hand some
back to you. Simple as that.

Hitting zero in an Attribute is pretty bad, and it may be


that your character may develop a Bad Trait to reflect the
lasting effects of hitting zero. Reaching zero in more than
one Attribute and things get serious. If three or more
Attributes reach zero, not only will the character be almost
unable to do anything, theyre so badly injured that there
is a good chance that theyll be killed. See Getting Killed,
page 139.

But what do they do and how are they used?


Story Points are used to tweak the course of events in a
players favor. Its not just the players that have Story Points
- some villains have a number of Story Points that the
Gamemaster can use to keep them alive longer, or so they
can escape to plan another escapade that the players will
have to thwart. During the game, you can expect Story
Points to be flowing freely back and forth across the table.

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Pulp Fantastic
Story Points can be used in many different ways. The
Gamemaster will advise if its a good or bad time to use
them, and as always, the Gamemaster will have final say.
The Gamemaster may also limit the number of Story Points
used in any particular adventure or session. Below weve
presented some uses for Story Points, explaining how they
work in the game.

succeed from a disastrous fail. One point per bump in


levels means that you can move from a Disastrous to a
Success result with three Story Points.

Clues

Of course, you can end up spending more points than


planned. Villains have Story Points as well, and it may be
that a pivotal Conflict becomes a match between who can
spend the most Story Points to win. Spending Story Points
to succeed where you would have failed doesnt mean that
the villain cannot spend some of their Story Points to
ensure your failure remains!

If the players are really stuck and dont know where to go


or what to do next, they can opt to spend a Story Point and
the Gamemaster can give them a subtle nudge in the right
direction. Just one of the players need spend the Story
Point, and itll be their character that suddenly realizes
the way to go and makes a suggestion to the rest, or has a
lucky break that points in the direction of the plot.

RULES

Bonus Dice
If the character knows beforehand that the outcome of
a particular roll is vital to their success, that the fate of
the universe may revolve around that one roll, then it
may be that the player will want to spend a Story Point
to add a little to the roll. The character steels themselves
to prepare for the task, and takes a deep breath. In game
terms, the character spends a Story Point and can add
an additional two six-sided dice to the roll. This isnt a
guaranteed success, after all you could roll two 1s, but
there is a chance you could succeed phenomenally well.
The player will have to judge if the task is worth spending those valuable Story Points. If you spend even more
Story Points before you roll, you get one extra dice per
Story Point.
You can also spend Story Points after you roll, but theyre
less effective spending a Story Point after the roll gives
you one extra dice.
You can spend a maximum of 3 Story Points on any one
roll (so, 4 extra dice if you spend them all before you roll,
or three points if you spend them afterward).

Avoiding Failure
Failing at something can be disastrous. Worse, it can be
fatal if the task was during a life threatening moment.
Luckily, if you fail at a roll, you have the option to tweak
the results a little to succeed. This must be done straight
after the roll in question theres no jumping back in time
to fix something an hour or a week later.
As soon as you know youve failed at something you have
the option to spend Story Points to improve the result. A
single Story Point will bump the result up one in the characters favor. For example, a Disastrous result which can
often be fatal in a Conflict can be bumped up one to a
Bad result. A Bad becomes a Failure, a Failure becomes a
Success result, and so on.
If its a truly essential roll and you simply have to make it,
you can spend more than one Story Point at a time to
136

The only limit in doing this is that you cannot bump a roll
in your favor higher than a Success result. After all, you
would have failed normally, so theres no spending five
Story Points to get a Fantastic result.

Ignore Damage
Getting hurt...hurts. As damage is applied straight to your
characters Attributes, every injury you suffer means your
chances of succeeding at related tasks are reduced. Once
the jaguar starts clawing your leg off, reducing your
Strength and Coordination, your future rolls to escape the
jaguar are going to be severely penalized. Spending a Story
Point lets a character ignore any damage hes suffered for
one roll you use your full Attribute instead of its current,
reduced value. This represents your character gritting his
teeth and pushing himself to the limit.

Ignoring Bad Traits


A lot of Bad Traits push you to act in a certain way if
youre Forgetful or Impulsive, youre prone to forgetting
key facts or rushing in where the marines fear to tread. If
you dont act in accordance with such Bad Traits, youve
got to pay Story Points.

Inspiring Others
Characters can donate Story Points to each other to help
them through a particularly major moment. This can be
done in many ways, a dramatic and rousing speech, a word
of encouragement or even a kiss. If its dramatic, moving,
rousing and encouraging, and the other player is willing
to share their Story Points to keep you going, then this
sort of gaming should be encouraged.
Players can also give Story Points to other players as a note
of appreciation. If another player comes out with a really
funny line, or saves your characters life, or sets up a scene
where you get to save the day, you can donate a Story Point
as a gesture of appreciation.

Altering the Plot


If you want to alter something in the game world indirectly, you may be able to buy your wish with Story Points. You
could spend a Story Point to have help arrive in the nick
of time, or to have something distract a hungry bear before
it eats you. You could have an NPC fall in love with your
character, or be mistaken for a new recruit by the villains

Action!
guards. You could have a ship turn up when youre stranded on a remote island. The number of Story Points it takes
to change the story is up to the gm.
The one rule when it comes to altering the plot (apart from
the usual rule about everything being ultimately up to the
Gamemaster) is that you cant use Story Points to save the
day or solve a problem directly. For example, say youre
being held hostage in a derelict factory by a deranged
madman. You couldnt say oh, a big piece of industrial
machinery falls on top of him and squishes him before he
can shoot us. However, you could say gm, how many
Story Points would it cost for there to be a big piece of
industrial machinery that balanced precariously on that
upper walkway? Something that would fall on the madman
if I unexpectedly shove him into that supporting girder?

STORY POINTS & NPCS


Most non-player characters dont have Story Points. They
have to get by without the edge that comes with being the
hero of the story. The exception are the villains. A named
bad guy gets a few Story Points at the GMs discretion.
Bruiser Malone, a known mob heavy, for example, has 3
Story Points not as many as most player characters, but
enough to make him a threat. The Crimson Claw has fistfuls
of Story Points to make him a match for the entire group.
You dont need to be sentient to have Story Points, by the
way. Recurring monsters and animals (like Saber, Siwang
Lungs pet wolf) could have a stock of Story Points too

Completing Goals
If your team completes goals, like breaking up spy-rings
and recovering stolen treasures, thats worth Story Points.
Solving puzzles and finding a key clue that leads you to
the next scene should also be rewarded.

Accepting Plot Twists


Sometimes, the characters have very, very bad luck. The
weird invention malfunctions at exactly the wrong moment.
A stupid cop panics and takes a pot-shot at the escaped
gorilla you just calmed down. The backup you called for is
stuck in traffic and never arrives. You run out of ammo at
just the wrong moment. The Femme Fatale slips away and
escapes after saying something cryptic, even though you
arranged for there to be six armed guards watching her at
all times. If the Gamemaster screws the player characters
over despite their best-laid plans and preparations, thats
worth a few Story Points in recompense.
This doesnt mean that the gm has to pay for every horrible event and dangerous situation the characters encounter only when he pushes the characters into really nasty
situations and gives them no chance to back out. You dont
get Story Points if youre sent to capture a spy, but you
might get a Story Point if the spys lethal girlfriend follows
you home with mayhem in mind.

Helping Out

Gaining Story Points

Players who help out should be rewarded. Buying snacks


for the group, keeping a record of events in the game,
researching background details between game sessions,
setting up a website for the game, carpooling, cleaning up
afterward throwing a few Story Points at players who go
above and beyond is good practice.

The players can regain Story Points in lots of ways, at the


whim of the Gamemaster.

Maximum Story Points

Good Role-playing
Playing your character to the hilt, coming up with funny
or inspiring lines of dialogue or great stunts, getting into
interesting situations if youre having fun and helping
everyone else at the table have fun too, then that should
be rewarded with a few Story Points. Try to give everyone
a chance to shine, keep everyone involved in the story, and
play off other peoples characters. If one of the other player
characters is an ex-soldier whos job is to protect your
scientist, then give her a chance to show off her characters
combat skills by bumbling into danger. Try to make the
other players the hero of the show.

Embracing Bad Traits


If your Bad Traits really impede you, you can claim a
Story Point. Better, if you suggest ways your Bad Traits
make your characters life harder, thats definitely worth
Story Points.

When the characters were created they were given a Story


Point total - this is their maximum Story Points between
adventures. As the adventure progresses, the character can
hold more Story Points than this, though usually this is
building up to a big expenditure at the storys climax. When
the adventure is over, the characters usually heal all their
wounds, and if their Story Points are above their maximum,
they are reduced back to the maximum level. If they have
less than that, the Gamemaster will just replenish what
they think is fitting depending upon how well they play.

Learning and Improvement


While the Pulps werent known for character development,
characters in pulp fantastic arent static they can
learn from their adventures and pick up new skills. Over
time, if the Gamemaster allows it, the players can improve
their characters abilities. After each game session, each
character gains one Experience Point (an especially generous gm might grant extra experience points after especially important game sessions or at the end of a big plot
arc or season finale).
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Pulp Fantastic

Attributes
Attributes can be changed, but it takes a long time and
plenty of hard work. Increasing an Attribute should be a
noteworthy event, and takes several months of training
and discipline. It costs (five + the Attributes current level)
Experience Points to raise an Attribute.
NEW ATTRIBUTE LEVEL

COST

10

RULES

Skills
Basic skills can be picked up easily a character gains one
Experience Point after each game session. A new skill level
costs an equal number of Experience Points. So, buying a
new skill costs 1 point, raising a skill from level 1 to 2 costs
two points, from 2 to 3 costs three points and so on. This
means that it costs a whopping 21 (1+2+3+4+5+6) Experience Points to bring a skill up from scratch to 6.
New Areas of Expertise cost 1 point each.

Traits
In general, Traits shouldnt be bought with Experience
they should be awarded based on events in game. However,
if the gm agrees, players can buy new Minor Good Traits
for two points each, and new Major Good Traits for four
points each.
Taking new Bad Traits doesnt get you bonus Experience
Points. The gm may allow you to buy off some existing
Bad Traits with experience.

Story Points
You can raise your Maximum Story Points with experience,
at the cost of 2 Experience Points per added Story Point.

Leaving the Game


Eventually, every character leaves the game. Sometimes,
it will be the best possible ending for the character youve
told their story, they have accomplished what they set out
to do, they accomplish something wonderful and heroic
with their final action, or you just want to play something
else. Other characters die when you really want them to
survive you spend every Story Point, you fight every step
of the way, but its still not enough and the bad guys get
them. And thats okay if there wasnt a risk of defeat,
victory wouldnt mean anything in the game.

138

THE STORY POINT ECONOMY


The Gamemaster should keep an eye on the players Story
Point stockpiles. If the players have lots of Story Points, then
they can handle big challenges and added complications. If
theyve got few or no Story Points, theyre in danger of being
overwhelmed, and its a good idea to give them a breather
from the action. Use Story Points as a guide for pacing the
game. Build up to an extended action sequence where the
PCs spend most of their Story Points, then throw in a quiet
interlude where the characters find a place to hide, take stock
of their situation and role-play to earn some points back,
and then hit them with the final threat.

Getting Killed
If a character is reduced to zero in three Attributes, he is
in big trouble and is probably dead, especially if one of
those Attributes is Strength. The Gamemaster has the
final word, of course. Characters can also be killed by other
means if someones holding a gun to your head, and they
pull the trigger, dont bother arguing that the gun does a
maximum of 10 damage and youve got Strength 6 and
Resolve 6. Some situations override the usual rules.

Forced to Leave
Circumstances may force your character to give up adventuring. Maybe your superiors kick you out, or everyone suspects you of being in league with the enemy.
Maybe you get trapped in a Lost World, or possessed by
a sentient parasite, or brainwashed by an Evil Mastermind. If your character cant be part of the Group Framework any more, its time to go. Its a bad idea to have two
groups of player characters for an indefinite period if
your character cant work with the group, its time for
that character to leave and you to make up a new one.
(Its okay to have the group split for a few sessions, but
that does not work in the long term.)

Choosing to Leave
Your character may choose to leave the game, becoming
a non-player character. Give the character sheet to the gm
the character may come back as a special guest in a future
adventure! Talk to the gm if you want to bring an old
character back to the game.

Chapter 8
Equipment

he Pulp Era is an age of ingenuity and wild invention,


where the fantastic dreams of the future seemed on
the verge of becoming real. Pulp heroes equip themselves with a wide array of cunning technology, and the
villains do likewise. The miracles of modern science and
the ancient wisdom of distant lands hold the promise of
great advances for humanity, and the threat of great power
for those with the will to seize it.
This chapter details some of the equipment used by heroic
adventurer and despicable mastermind alike, giving you
the tools to explore dangers as far away as lost lands and
as close as the bad side of town.

Trappings vs Group Traits

There are three ways to obtain equipment in pulp fantastic through your Trappings, through Group Traits,
and getting it in the course of play.
Trappings are things your character owns. You get them
by having the appropriate skills a character with a Transport skill of 3 or more has a car, a character with a Technology of 3 or more has a toolkit, a character with a Marksman skill of 3 or more has a gun and so on. Theyre stuff
you happen to have on you, or can easily lay your hands
on. Trappings are limited to Uncommon items in general.
If your Trapping is destroyed, its gone forever. Your car,
for example, is a Trapping; you own it, but if it gets stepped
on by an over-sized gorilla during a rampage in New York,
its out of the game.
Group Traits like Armory or Vehicle Pool give you items
you can requisition. These items belong to your organization you can only use them on an official mission, and
theyre not for personal use. If an item obtained through
a Group Trait is destroyed, you can get a replacement by
returning to your base.
Finally, you can obtain items in the course of play by buying
them, finding them, stealing them or being given them.

Obtaining Equipment
One thing you wont find in this equipment chapter are
prices. Instead, equipment is ranked as being Common,
Uncommon, Rare or Unique.
Common items are easy to obtain. You can buy them on

the high street or order them by mail. You can get Common
items without any problems. Note that this doesnt mean
theyre cheap, just that getting hold of one is easy. For
example, cars are Common. That doesnt mean that they
dont cost money; it means that a character can borrow a
car off a friend or relative easily if he needs one.
Uncommon items are available, but only through specialized dealers. If your character has an appropriate trait
(like the right Friends), or the necessary skills (an Area
of Expertise in the relevant field), or if youve got the
necessary backing through Group Traits (like, say, youre
working for the government), then you can get Uncommon items without too much difficulty. If you dont have
an appropriate way of getting the item, then youre in
trouble. A lot of Uncommon items are dangerous and
restricted, so you may not be able to obtain them legally
if youre a civilian.
Rare items are either very expensive, cutting-edge gadgets,
or very hard to find. Getting a Rare item requires having
the right Group Trait (Armory for weapons, Motor Pool
for vehicles and so on) or finding a way to get one during
an adventure.
All Weird Technology is at least Rare. Unless the gm specifically allows it, you cant get Weird Technology except
by inventing it yourself or finding it in play.
Unique items are literally one of a kind. Getting a Unique
item means having the right Base Trait or finding it in play,
or building it yourself.

General Equipment
This section covers the wide variety of general gear available to adventurers of all sorts.
General equipment mostly does not need any special rules.
Players are free to equip their characters with whatever
they think they are likely to need in the form of tools,
clothes, personal effects, and other sundry items. Generally these do not affect Skill or Attribute rolls in any way,
though they may be necessary for the effective use of some
skills. For example, repairing an engine without a proper
toolkit is difficult and should be performed at a penalty,
and treating a wound without a first aid kit likewise. Attempting a complex Skill without the proper tools should
be done with a -2 or more penalty applied to the roll.
Certain items of equipment, such as any high (or Weird)

Pulp Fantastic
technology or arcane artifacts, will have Traits. These are
usually obvious, but the Gamemaster makes the final
decision on the capabilities of any mundane equipment,
though the expenditure of Story Points to get minor things
to work should be allowed.
Note that any device that uses batteries comes with them.
As a general rule, ignore battery lifeassume that heroes
(and their antagonists) are smart enough to recharge or
replace their batteries between adventures, and that the
batteries last as long as needed during adventures, only
running down when dramatically appropriate.

Equipment Thats Not Listed

RULES

pulp fantastic takes place in our world of the 1920s


and 1930s...more or less (assuming you dont decide to
create a truly fantastic pulp world). If you want a piece of
equipment that exists in the real world, but isnt listed,
talk to your gm.

BUYING USED
For some objects, a character can try to go the cheaper route
and buy used. Used car lots, used book stores, second-hand
and refurbished electronic equipment shops, pawn shops
all these establishments and more offer deals on previously
owned goods. In general, only Uncommon items get a price
break if you can find them used. Common items dont receive
a price break if you find them in used condition.
Whether you can find an object to purchase used instead of
new is entirely up to the Gamemaster. Except for purchasing
a used car, finding other objects through a used market takes
time and a bit of luck.
Shopping for a used object takes twice as long as shopping
for the same object new. In addition, after spending the time
shopping, the GM can determine that the exact item you
were searching for isnt available. You might find a similar
object, or you might not find anything like it at any of the
used outlets youve checked out.

For most items, theres no need for a player to declare that


they have that particular piece of equipment in advance.
If its part of the Trappings from your skills, or youve got
the right Group Trait, or its the sort of thing your character would always carry with you thanks to an Instinct, then
youre assumed to have it when youre investigating Anomalies. For example, the player of a big game hunter doesnt
need to tell the gm that hes taking a hunting rifle with
him every time he leaves the country its always assumed
to be in his travel chest.
If an item is something you might have with you, but its
a stretch, you can spend Story Points to have it, as long as
you can justify it to the gm. If the big game hunter goes
for a night at the Stork Club, hes not going to bring a
hunting rifle with him but he might have a derringer in
his pocket, just in case!
Losing equipment is a bigger problem. A lot of Yes, But...
successes may involve losing key bits of gear. Some skills
cannot be used without the appropriate equipment.

OPTIONAL RULE: PLANNING


Some GMs and players prefer a more traditional approach to
equipment, where the player characters have only basic
equipment on them by default. If a player wants to have an
elephant gun and some Nitro Express cartridges, then he has
to say hes going down to the gun room to get them instead
of just assuming he got them off-screen. Using stricter
equipment rules puts more of an emphasis on planning and
preparation instead of fast action.

Improvising Equipment

Buying used doesnt negate the penalties and fees associated with buying restricted objects or objects that require a
license.

If youre stuck on a dinosaur-infested South American


plateau, of course, youre unlikely to find a handy branch
of Sears. The Craft skill can be used to improvise basic
equipment and to build shelter. To use the Craft skill, you
need the appropriate tools, but you can build improvised
tools out of basic materials in a pinch.

If you do find a used item, and the Gamemaster agrees that


it qualifies for a price break, it is reduced by 1 rank (i.e. from
Rare to Uncommon, and Uncommon to Common).

You can also improvise modern equipment, turning your


radio receiver into an ad hoc tracking system. Improvising
modern gear uses the Technology skill.

Used objects are harder to repair if something breaks or is


damaged. Whenever a used object requires a Repair check,
increase the Ingenuity + Technology roll Difficulty by 2.

When using improvised equipment, any Yes, But, or


No, And results probably mean that your improvised
gear has broken.

Remember that buying something used is different from


buying something on the black market. While a hot object
might be used, it is sold as though it was new.

140

You Have It Until You Need It

Equipment

Weapons
Its a dangerous world out there, especially for those who
make a living fighting criminals or enemy agents. Most
heroes carry weapons, ranging from baseball bats to
Thompson submachine guns.
The weapons covered here are grouped into three categories based on their general utility: ranged weapons, explosives, and melee weapons.
In the pulp world, carrying a weapon openlyespecially
a firearmis rarely acceptable, even in the rare cases when
its legal.

Guns
Since this is a cinematic-styled game designed for fast
play, we are not going to get into the nuts and bolts of
varying gun calibers. When one starts worrying about the
difference between 9mm and 9x18mm pistols, it is easy
to lose sight of the more important aspects of play action
and drama. Thus, we break guns down into general categories instead of specific calibers and loads.
Guns have an additional statistic called a range increment.
This represents the weapons accuracy at different ranges,
expressed in meters. Pistols, for example, have range increments of 5/10/20, meaning up to 5 meters is short range,
up to 10 is medium range, and up to 20 is long range.
Weapons can generally fire a maximum distance up to
twice their maximum range, after which it is difficult
enough to hit that it is pointless to check for success.
For each range increment, a gun suffers a cumulative -2
to hit its target, plus an additional -2 beyond its long range.
Thus, a pistol suffers no penalty up to 5 meters, -2 out to
10 meters, -4 to 20 meters, and -6 up to 40 meters away,
after which it is impossible to hit a target.
Some guns impose a penalty to your dice roll if you try to
fire more than once per round, due to recoil. This is in
addition to the penalty for making more than one action
in a round (see page 123)
The categories and sub-categories of guns are as follows:

Pistols
Pistols are small, hand-held weapons that come in a variety
of shapes and sizes from tiny palm-sized derringers to
sleek semi-automatic jobs, to imposing revolvers with
30-cm barrels. They have a shorter accuracy range than
rifles, but are much faster to use, less unwieldy to carry,
and far easier to conceal.
Handguns can be broken down into three smaller groups:
autoloaders, revolvers, and machine pistols.
Autoloaders (sometimes called automatics), such as the
Colt M1911 (the venerable .45 pistol), feature removable
box magazines, and some models hold quite a lot of ammunition. They work by using the energy of a shot fired
to throw back a slide, eject the shots shell casing, and

scoop the next round into the chamber. They are more
complex than revolvers, but nevertheless have become
increasingly popular in the modern age.
Revolvers, such as the .38 Special side-arms carried by
many police officers, are relatively simple firearms that
store several rounds (usually six) in a revolving cylinder.
As the trigger is pulled, the cylinder revolves to bring the
next bullet in line with the barrel.
Machine pistols are automatic weapons small enough to
be fired with one hand. Some are autoloader pistols modified to fire a burst of bullets in a single pull of the trigger,
while others are modified submachine guns, cut down in
size and weight to allow one-handed use.
Ranged weapons that use box magazines come with one
full magazine.

AMMUNITION
Its entirely up to you how strictly you want to keep tabs on
how much ammunition characters have in their weapons.
Some people prefer a light touch maybe only running out
of ammunition when it adds to the story or they make a
spectacularly bad roll. Others like to carefully manage their
ammo expenditure, and it can add tension when they run
low as the cultists close on their position...
You dont need to track individual shots. Results of Yes, But...
or No, And... could indicate that youve run out of ammo
and need to reload (Yes, you hit the robot with your first
shot, but the hammer clicks on an empty chamber when you
try to fire again.). Reloading a gun takes an action for most
weapons.

The ammunition that different weapons hold is presented


here as an average for a weapon of that type. If your players
have done some homework on specific guns, by all means
use the information that they have found.

OPTION: MERCY BULLETS


Many science heroes and adventurers prefer to use non-lethal
weapons. One option is to use tranquilizing mercy bullets.
Mercy bullets deliver an impact similar to a quick punch and
will leave a bruise, but inflict no actual physical damage.
Instead the damage for the weapon is applied to the targets
Resolve. See page 131 to determine the difficulty to resist
the drugs effect.
Range Increments: All pistols, regardless of their subclass, have range increments (in meters) of 5/10/20.
Holdout Pistol tiny pistols that hold .22 calibre ammunition and do more shock than actual damage. While these
guns do very little real damage, they also have no appreciable recoil. These guns hold from one (single-shot derringers) to seven (revolver) to fifteen (automatic pistol)
shots, and are generally double-action, meaning the gun
can be fired as many times as the trigger can be pulled.
The character can empty the weapon in a single Round if
he or she chooses. Examples include:
141

Pulp Fantastic
Double Derringer - This pistol breaks open at the breech
like a double-barreled shotgun. The two-shot weapon has
one barrel atop the other and is barely 5 inches long,
making it easy to conceal in a boot or garter.

Colt M1911A1 - A slightly modified version of the pistol


adopted by the American army in 1911, this weapons .45
round gives it more stopping power than any other pistol
in service.

Pocket Revolver - Designed as a weapon of self-defense,


this small revolver is a popular personal weapon, though
never as popular as the Derringer.

Tokarev Model TT33 - Designed as a replacement for


the Nagant, the Tokarev is based on the Colt M1911. Because
the Soviets favor mass produced submachine guns, the
Tokarev never becomes an especially common weapon in
the Red Army. The same statistics can be used for similar
weapons, such as the Polish Radom (a 9mm pistol) and
the German Walther P38 (also 9mm).

Small Pistol any snub-nose weapon, such as an American Saturday Night Special, or snub-nose police revolver,
usually in .32 to .38 calibres. Most guns in this category
are small revolvers, limited to six or seven shots, and have
light recoil. These guns deal normal damage and can be
fired multiple times in a Round, with each additional shot
imparting a -1 cumulative penalty from recoil.

RULES

Beretta M1934 - The standard side-arm of the Italian


army through the Italian-Abyssinian War (1935-36), the
Beretta M1934 has a short barrel and underpowered ammunition, resulting in its low damage capability.
Walther Model PP - The Walther, designed as a replacement for the Luger, is widely issued to German forces in
the 1930s. The Swedish army also purchases Walthers
in 1939.
Medium Pistol standard police and military side arms
in 9mm to .40 caliber size, holding 10-15 rounds. These
guns can be fired multiple times but each additional shot after the first imparts a -2 cumulative penalty from recoil.
Nagant Model 1895 - This Russian revolver
is used in the time of the Russian Revolution
and beyond.
Luger P08 Pistol - This is the famous weapon of
German officers in the Great War.
Large Pistol guns like the U.S. Colt Army Revolver
or Russian Tokarov TT-33, from .45 to 7.62 caliber in
size and holding 6-10 rounds. Like a normal
Medium Pistol, but deals higher damage
with additional shots imparting -3 cumulative penalties from the recoil. Period
examples include;
Browning High Power - Originally manufactured in Belgium, the
Browning High Power is used by
military forces around the world:
Lithuania, Canada, Germany,
China, and Britain, among others.
Its large magazine capacity makes
it particularly popular.
Mauser Broomhandle - This
popular, if slightly awkward, pistol
has the magazine mounted in front
of the trigger, making it somewhat
nose-heavy. Its nickname comes
from the narrow grip. A stock can
be mounted to the grip, counterbalancing the magazine.
142

Hand Cannon guns in this category include .357


Magnums (introduced in 1934) or .50 caliber pistols. They
hold 6-7 rounds. They deal a lot of damage, with additional shots imparting -4 cumulative penalties on top of the
usual multiple action penalty. The recoil from these enormous pistols is enough to make you black out for a split
second. These guns may be fired a maximum of twice per
Round. Examples include;
Colt Peacemaker - The most famous weapon of the Old
West, the Peacemaker is widely available, powerful, and
rugged. The same characteristics could also
describe similar weapons of different
calibers, such as the .38 caliber Colt
Lightning or Thunder.
Tranter - This huge British single-action revolver, developed in
1865, was designed to discourage
opponents from approaching for
close-quarters combat, turned up
in all corners of the British Empire,
even though few were made.

Equipment
Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum Developed in response
to the Colt .38 Super Automatic, this famous revolver was
designed to be able to penetrate automobile cover and
early bullet proof vests.
Smith & Wesson 38/200 - Called a .38, this revolver is
Smith & Wessons standard Military and Police .38, but
chambered to take the British .38 cartridgewhich actually measures .357 inches. While technically this weapon
wasnt available until 1940 (after the scope of this game)
it could be possible that characters with access to advanced
weaponry may have the pistol in their possession.

Shotguns and Rifles


Rifles have a much longer accuracy range than pistols do,
but are a lot more obvious, awkward, and less portable.
Unless the rifle is set and aimed already (as with a prepared
sniper), a character with a pistol will always shoot before
a character with a rifle. Shotguns have much shorter
ranges, but have the drawback of being large and awkward
like rifles.
Range Increments: Shotguns have pistol range increments. All other rifles have Range increments of 25/50/150.
Rifle These are hunting rifles of the bolt, pump, or lever-action variety. They hold 2-8 rounds, and can fire a
maximum of three times per round. Each attack after the
first imparts a cumulative -3 penalty. Period examples
include the Winchester Models 1903 and 1910, and the
Remington Arms M1903 Springfield.
Mannlicher-Parravicino-Carcano Carbine M1891 - The
Italian army uses this weapon during the Great War. The
Japanese Arisaka Meiji 38 is almost identical, except for
its smaller magazine (5 rounds) and greater weight (10
pounds).
Springfield M1903 - This American rifle is licensed from
an earlier Mauser bolt-action rifle. The same statistics can
be used for later Mausers such as the Gewehr 43 or the
Sturmgewehr 44.
Lee-Enfield SMLE MkIII The British Armys standard
rifle from 1895 to 1957.
Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 - The standard bolt-action
rifle of the Soviet Red Army through the pulp era. Nearly
the same statistics can be used for modified versions of
the M1930G, such as the M1938G.
Big Game Rifle This is an elephant gun or other big,
heavy rifle. Expensive, but very accurate and long-ranged,
plus it can stop a charging rhino. Guns like this are Uncommon. Classic examples from the Pulp Era are the
Continental .600 and the Holland & Holland .500/450
Nitro Express, both designed to stop a charging bull-elephant.
Shotgun be it a double-barrel 20-gauge or a pump-action 12-gauge, all shotguns fall into this category. Shotguns firing slugs deal high damage, but are -1 to hit due
to the difficulty aiming, while shotguns firing buckshot
(lots of little pellets) gain +1 to hit a target, but deals less

damage. Shotguns can be fired a maximum of twice per


round (except for semi-automatic models) and subsequent shots suffer a -3 penalty due to recoil. Double-barreled shotguns can fire both barrels simultaneously with
no penalty, adding an additional +1 to hit and an additional 2 points of damage, but require a full Round to
reload afterward. Standard shotguns hold 2 cartridges,
pump-action or automatic shotguns hold 2-10.
Assault Rifle During the Pulp Era, assault rifles were
in their earliest stages of development and were Rare,
though characters with access to advanced weapons technology may be able to find them. An example of an early
assault rifle is the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.
Assault rifles can fire in three modes. In semi-automatic
mode, they fire a single aimed shot. In Burst mode, the
gun fires three bullets in rapid succession. The wielder
makes an attack roll as normal. A Success means they
have hit once, a Good means they have hit twice and a
Fantastic result means they have hit with all three bullets
each doing the normal Good level of damage. A second
or third burst can be attempted in the same round, but
each suffers a cumulative -4 penalty in addition to the
usual multiple action penalty. In fully automatic mode,
the wielder cannot aim. He simply selects an area of up
to a 90 arc in his line of vision and showers it with bullets.
He then makes a standard attack roll. Everyone in the area
gets a chance to dive for cover with a +2 bonus to the roll.
If anyone fails to dodge into cover then they take damage
as usual depending on the severity of their failure. Firing
full auto takes the entire Round; affecting a 45 arc uses
half a clip of ammunition and affecting a 90-degree arc
uses the entire clip. A clip usually contains 10-100 rounds.

Machine guns
Machine guns are large, dangerous weapons used to inflict
mass carnage. They are always mounted on bipods or
tripods and cannot be fired on the move unless by characters with Strength 6 or more. Using a machine gun is
identical to using an Assault Rifle on full auto, save that
machine guns deal more damage, and smaller arcs of fire
can be better controlled. A 45 arc uses one-half of an
ammo clip or belt, and a 90 arc uses an entire clip or belt.
A clip holds up to 100 rounds; belts hold thousands of
rounds, but arent very portable. Smaller or in-between
arcs of fire may be possible at the Gamemasters discretion.
Range Increments: Machine guns were actually used in
WWI and to a lesser extent in WWII as anti-aircraft
weapons and thus have range increments equal to twice
that of rifles.
Period examples include;
Maxim Gun Mk 1 - The first automatic machine gun, the
Maxim gun is portable enough to see widespread military
use. A .450 caliber version of this gun was developed in
1885, but the British armys adoption of the weapon in
1889 contributed to its great success. The Maxim gun is
water-cooled.
143

Pulp Fantastic
Colt-Browning M1895 - This early gas-operated machine
gun is colloquially called the potato digger, because the
movement of the guns levers sometimes kicks up loose
dirt from the ground. Its light weight and portability compensate for its relatively slow rate of fire compared to its
main competitor, the Maxim.
Browning M1917 - This medium machine gun is used
by the U.S. Army at the end of the Great War. It is water-cooled, though an air-cooled version is issued to infantry (as the M1919A4) in the 1920s. The Browning M1918
Automatic Rifle uses the same statistics, except that it has
a small (20-round) magazine instead of using linked ammo.
Browning M2HB - Originally designed as an aircraft
weapon, the Browning is adopted by the U.S. Army in 1921.

Sub-machine Guns
RULES

Sub-Machine guns are somewhere between pistols and


machine guns. They look cool, but are not weapons of
precision. Typically they can fire in two modes.
In Burst mode, the gun fires three bullets in rapid succession. The wielder makes an attack roll as normal. A Success
means they have hit once, a Good means they have hit
twice and a Fantastic result means they have hit with all
three bullets each doing the normal Good level of
damage. A second or third burst can be attempted in the
same round, but each suffers a cumulative -4 penalty in
addition to the usual multiple action penalty.
In fully automatic mode, the wielder cannot aim accurately. He simply selects an area of up to a 90 arc in his line
of vision and showers it with bullets. He then makes a
standard attack roll. Everyone in the area gets a chance to
dive for cover with a +2 bonus to the roll. If anyone fails
to dodge into cover then they take damage as usual depending on the severity of their failure. Firing full auto
takes the entire Round; affecting a 45 arc uses half a clip
of ammunition and affecting a 90-degree arc uses the
entire clip. A clip usually contains 10-100 rounds. Generally, they can only fire fully automatic like assault rifles,
but have the range of pistols. They hold clips of 10-50
rounds.
Generally submachine guns are Uncommon or Rare. Period
examples include;
Thompson M1921 Submachine Gun - The famous
Tommy gun of American gangsters is one of the first
hand-held weapons capable of automatic fire. Its large-caliber bullets give it greater damage potential than many
more modern submachine guns, although at a shorter
range.
Beretta M1938A - Primarily an Italian weapon, the Model
1938A is also issued to some Rumanian and German troops.
The same statistics can be used for similar submachine
guns, such as the Erma MP38/40, the Sten Mark 2, the
Shpagin PPSh-41 (7.62mm), or the Sudarev PPS-42 (also
7.62mm).

144

Waffenfabrik Steyr Maschinenpistol 34 (MP34)


Developed in 1934 from the MP18, which saw limited
service in the Great War, this exceptionally well-made
submachine gun was used by the Austrian police and by
units of the Waffen SS during World War II.

Beam Weapons
Beam weapons are weird technology devices that project
an oscillating beam of directed energy. Usually derived
from principles discovered from recovered Martian armament, beam weapons are extremely rare and qualify as
weird technology. Theyre fragile, power-hungry, temperamental, and incredibly expensive. So far, no-one has
found a way to mass produce them, and knowledge of
them remains extremely limited.
Tesla Pistol Named after the noted inventor, the Tesla
pistol transmits a massive electrical charge to the target.
Most Tesla Pistols dont pack enough punch to do much
damage, instead producing an effect similar to a modern
taser. They arent subtle weapons, producing a vivid blue
flash of electricity and a loud crackle when fired.
Tesla Rifle A bulkier version of the Tesla pistol, the Tesla
rifle has an extended range and battery life, but does no
more damage.
Tesla Cannon This large tripod-mounted weapon is the
only Tesla gun that does Lethal damage, with the effects
being described as being similar to being struck by a
massive bolt of lightning.
Martian Heat Ray The signature weapon of the Martian
invader, the dreaded heat ray is still a potent weapon. With
a seemingly inexhaustible (and still unfathomed) energy
source, heat rays have been found in the possession of
criminals and military forces all over the world. Still,
functional heat rays are rare many exploded with shattering force when being probed for their secrets. Martian
heat rays are bulky devices about the size of a man, designed to be mounted on the tripod walkers, and need to
be adapted for human use by the use of a tripod and a
man-usable trigger system.

Sniper Rifles
Sniper weapons allow the shooter to remain at a relatively safe distance, using high-powered telescopic sights and
long-range weaponry. The sniper usually holes up in a
location that gives him the best possible view over the
proceedings, taking shots of opportunity when possible.
At this point in history, most sniper rifles were simply
standard rifles fitted with a telescopic sight, rather than
the specialized sniper rifles of today. Modern sniper rifles
have a very long range, and can deliver very high amounts
of damage but at this point in time qualify as Weird Tech.
Period examples include;
Lee-Enfield SMLE MkIII The British Armys standard
rifle from 1895 to 1957, when modified with a heavy stock
and telescopic sight became a highly effective sniper rifle.

RANGED WEAPON SUMMARY

Equipment

WEAPON

RANGE
INCREMENTS
(IN METRES)

AMMUNITION

DAMAGE

RECOIL

Holdout Pistol

5/10/20

1-15

1/2/3

Small Pistol

5/10/20

6-7

2/4/6

-1

Medium Pistol

5/10/20

10-15

2/5/7

-2

Large Pistol

3/6/9

6-10

2/5/7

-3

Hand Cannon

3/7/9

6-7

3/6/9

-4

Shotgun (Slug)

4/8/12

2-10

3/7/10

-3

Shotgun (Shot)

3/6/12

2-10

3/6/9

-3

Rifle

24/48/146

2-8

3/6/9

-3

Big Game Rifle

65/130/390

2-8

4/8/12

-5

Assault Rifle

24/48/146

10-100

3/6/9

-4

Machine Gun

160/320/960

Belt Fed

3/7/10

-4

Submachine Gun

3/6/12

10-50

2/5/7

-4

Sniper Rifle (Period)

49/98/293

2-8

3/6/9

-3

Sniper Rifle (Modern)

198/396/793

1-5

4/8/12

NA

Tesla Pistol

5/10/20

10-15

S/S/S

Tesla Rifle

24/48/146

10-20

S/S/S

Tesla Cannon

49/98/293

10-20

4/L/L

Martian Heat Ray

200/400/800

NA

10/20/30

SNIPING AND AIMING


Any character can choose to aim their weapon for longer to
try to be more accurate with their shooting. For a complete
Action Round, the shooter does nothing else but aim. They
cannot dodge, move or take any other action without negating the effects of trying to aim. If an enemy hits them,
they are distracted and lose their aim. If they manage to
spend an entire Action Round with uninterrupted aiming,
they make a normal Coordination and Marksman roll as if
they had taken the shot, but instead they make a note of
what they roll. The better they did this time, the bigger the
bonus they get on their actual shot. A Success provides a +2
bonus, a Good result a +4 bonus and a Fantastic a +6 bonus
to the actual roll to hit the next Round. They can shoot at
any time next Action Round and receive the respective bonus
to their roll.
A character with the Sniper trait can aim for more than one
Action Round. If they can remain uninterrupted, they can add
an additional bonus from a second Rounds worth of aiming.
They can continue to aim longer, but only the bonus from
the most recent two Rounds of aiming are added to the actual
shot targets keep moving around, can disappear behind
cover and the snipers advantage can be lost.

Springfield M1903 - This American rifle is licensed from


an earlier Mauser bolt-action rifle. The same statistics can
be used for later Mausers such as the Gewehr 43 or the
Sturmgewehr 44.

Mauser Gehwehr 98 The main German infantry bolt-action combat rifle during the Great War. When modified
with telescopic sights and a modified bolt, this became
one of the most effective sniper weapons of the war.

Telescopic Sight
A telescopic sight is a device that makes it easier to hit
targets at long range. However, although a scope magnifies the image of the target, it has a very limited field of
view, making it difficult to use.
A scope increases the range increment for a ranged weapon
by two (this is already built in for sniper rifles, below).
However, to use a scope you must spend an attack action
acquiring your target. If you change targets or otherwise
lose sight of the target, you must reacquire the target to
gain the benefit of the scope.

Other Ranged Weapons


Ranged weapons that are not firearms include such diverse
objects as bows, crossbows, javelins and shuriken.
Bow: This could be any form of self-powered bow, from
traditional longbows to modern compound designs. Bow
hunting remains popular with hunters, athletes, and other
recreationists. A bow does 2/4/6 damage. Common.
145

Pulp Fantastic

RULES

Crossbow: The medieval crossbow was a devastatingly


effective weapon for its time, but a modern crossbow is
even more dangerous. Crossbows are slow to reload, but
have the advantage of being completely silent. Crossbows
are Uncommon. They inflict 2/4/6 damage. A crossbow
requires two hands to use. Pulling a lever draws the bow.
It takes two Action Rounds to reload a crossbow.
Flamethrower: A flamethrower consists of a pressurized
backpack containing fuel, connected to a tube with a
nozzle. It shoots a 2m-wide, 10m-long line of flame that
burns all creatures and objects in its path. Flamethrowers arent exactly the most accurate weapon, but theyre
great for dealing with Swarms of small creatures or for
scaring creatures including people - that are afraid of
fire. Theyre also good for setting yourself alight if youre
not careful. A flamethrower attack does variable damage
(1 die/2 dice/3 dice), but combatants who dodge a flamethrower attack have to dodge away from you, giving you
a breathing space. If you dodge a flame attack with Coordination + Athletics, the only place to dodge is away
from the flame so you cant attack the flamethrower
operator without moving again.
Javelin: This light, flexible spear built for throwing can
be used in melee, but since its not designed for it, characters using it in this manner always suffer 2 to hit. Javelins do Strength +3 damage. Uncommon.
Shuriken: A shuriken is a thrown, star-shaped projectile
with four to eight razor-sharp points and does Strength
+2 damage. Uncommon.
Whip: Whips do Strength + 1 damage. Although you dont
fire the weapon, treat a whip as a ranged weapon with
a maximum range of 4 metres. Uncommon.
Because a whip can wrap around an enemys leg or other
limb, you can attempt to trip or entangle them with it.
You declare this when making the attack. To avoid being
tripped or entangled, the target must make a successful
Coordination + Athletics reaction roll. Failure indicates
the target has been either tripped or entangled and must
spend their next Action either untangling themselves or
getting to their feet. Either way, they lose an Action and
cannot move until they have freed themselves.
Caltrops: Caltrops are four-pronged iron spikes designed
so that one prong is pointing up when the caltrop rests on
a surface. You scatter caltrops on the ground to injure
opponents, or at least slow them down. One bag of twenty-five caltrops covers a single two metre square and can
be thrown, bursting open on impact. Each time a creature
moves through a square containing caltrops at any rate
greater than half speed, or each round a creature spends
fighting in such an area, they must make a Difficulty 12
Coordination + Awareness check to avoid stepping on one.
Should they fail the roll, a caltrop deals 1 point of damage,
and the injury reduces foot speed to half normal (a successful Difficultly 12 Awareness + Medicine check, or one
days rest removes this penalty). A charging or running
creature must immediately stop if it steps on a caltrop.
Caltrops are Uncommon.
146

Melee Weapons
Melee weapons are used in close combat, and they are
generally among the simplest types of weapons.
Knife: A small boot-knife or straight-razor does Strength
+1 damage; a really nasty one like a cleaver does +2 or even
+3 damage. Knives are Common.
Cosh: A truncheon, or club; ideal for coshing or clubbing
people. Strength +2 damage; you can make Called Shots
to the head without a penalty if you take someone by
surprise with a cosh. Coshes are Common.
Sap/Blackjack: A sap is a type of cosh, consisting of either
a flat, leather-covered lead rod fitted with a spring handle,
while a blackjack is a small, soft club made of an amount
of lead shot wrapped in leather. Both are designed to deliver
non-lethal clubbing damage by spreading the impact over
a broad area, and are used when the intention is to stun the
target into unconsciousness rather than kill him outright.
Saps deliver Strength +2 Resolve damage. Saps and blackjacks are common.
Knuckledusters: Brass knuckledusters let you punch for
Strength +1 damage. Theyre Common.
Spear: This primitive device is a stabbing reach weapon
and does Strength 2 damage. You can strike opponents
3 metres away with it, but you cant use it in close combat
without a -2 penalty to hit. Rifle-fixed bayonets can also
be classed as spears. Spears are Uncommon.
Sword: Katanas, claymores, machetes, really big knives
anything that lets you chop and slice for Strength +4
damage. Real swords (as opposed to replicas and ornamental weapons) are Uncommon.
Axe: A chopping blade mounted on a handle to increase
damage, axes start at Strength + 2 damage for hatchets
and tomahawks, increasing to +3 for fire-axes and +4 for
battle-axes. Common.
Chainsaw: Not exactly a conventional weapon; a chainsaw
does Strength +6 damage, but theres a -4 penalty to hit,
and you run the risk of hurting yourself if you get a Disastrous Failure. Chainsaws are large, unwieldy and Uncommon during the Pulp Era.

Explosives
Mines, rockets, grenades and other explosives do
damage to an area. Anyone inside the listed radius
takes full damage; anyone close by but not inside the
radius takes damage.
Land Mine: Step on it, and it goes boom. Spotting a
land mine pits Awareness + Survival against Ingenuity
+ Subterfuge on the part of whoever planted it, with big
penalties to those spotting it if time has passed and the
surface is now overgrown. If a mine goes off, it inflicts
2 dice + 6 damage to everyone within about 2 metres.
Mines are Rare.

Equipment
Rocket Launcher: Though the classic bazooka didnt
officially come into service until 1942, characters with
access to advanced weapons technology could come across
a prototype shoulder-mounted anti-tank weapon. Rocket
launchers inflict 20/40/60 damage, and are very, very
Rare. Characters should not be using rocket launchers in
public. Or in cramped spaces. Or at all. Maximum range
is around 365 metres, with an explosive radius of 3 metres.
Panzerfaust: A hand-held, single-shot, shaped-charge
anti-tank weapon, easily manufactured and designed to
be cheap, one-use weapons to be used with little training.
The Panzerfaust has an effective range of just over 60
metres. When the Panzerfaust hits its target, it explodes
like a grenade or other explosive, inflict 9/18/36 damage
within a 3 metre radius. Because its explosive is a shaped
charge designed to penetrate the armor of tanks, the Panzerfaust ignores up to 10 points of armor protection if it
a vehicle, building or object. This applies only to the object
struck, not other objects within the burst radius. Rare in
this era.
Smoke Grenade: Throwing a grenade uses Coordination
+ Athletics; a smoke grenade fills a room or a small building
with thick smoke. Trying to do anything while blinded is
worth a -4 penalty at least. Smoke grenades are Uncommon.
Tear Gas Grenade: Like a smoke grenade, but also painful.
If youre caught in a tear gas cloud without a gas mask, you
have to roll Resolve + Awareness each Round against Difficulty 18; if you fail, you take one point of damage to your
Awareness or your Resolve. Resisting a tear gas grenade
counts as a Reaction, so youll be at -2 to your next roll made
that round. Tear gas grenades are Uncommon.
Stun Grenade: Stun grenades dont inflict much damage,
but they knock their victims out briefly. If youre hit by a
stun grenade, you must make a Strength + Resolve roll
against a Difficulty of 12/18/24 (work out the difficulty like
youd work out the damage for a normal attack). If you
fail, youre knocked out for 1 round on a Normal Failure,
1 - 6 rounds on a Bad Failure, and 2 dice rounds on a Disastrous Failure.) Stun grenades have an explosive radius
of three metres.
Explosive Grenade: You throw them, they go boom, bad
guys fall down. Explosive grenades have an explosive
radius of 3 metres, and inflict 8/16/24 damage if the targets
fail to dodge. Explosive grenades are Rare. Pulp era examples are the standard US Army fragmentation grenade
and the well-known German potato-masher Steilhandgranate.
Dynamite: Perhaps one of the most common and straightforward explosives, dynamite is very stable under normal
conditions. A stick of dynamite requires a fuse or detonator to set it off. Additional sticks can be set off at the same
time if they are within the burst radius of the first stick,
increasing the damage and burst radius of the explosion.
Dynamite does 2/5/7 per stick in a 2 metre radius. Each
additional stick multiplies the damage (i.e. 2 sticks deal
2/5/7 x 2 damage, 3 sticks do 2/5/7 x 3 damage, and so on)
and increase the explosive radius by 2 metres.

Its possible to wire together several sticks of dynamite for


even greater explosive effect. Doing so requires a Tricky
(Difficulty 15) Ingenuity + Technology check (+ 1 Difficulty per stick). If you succeed on the check, both the damage
and the radius of the explosion increases by 50%.
Dynamite is sold in boxes of 12 sticks. It is considered to
be a simple explosive for the purpose of using a Science
check to manufacture it.
To set off dynamite using a fuse, the fuse must first be lit,
requiring an Action (and a lighter or other source of flame).
The amount of time until the dynamite explodes depends
on the length of the fusea fuse can be cut short enough
for the dynamite to detonate in the same round (allowing
it to be used much like a grenade), or long enough to take
several minutes to detonate. Cutting the fuse to the appropriate length requires an Action.

Armor
Heavy armor is bulky and slows you down, and really wont
help if youre run over by a tank. Still, a bit of protection
never goes amiss. Armor only protects against attacks
that hit the part of the body it protects wearing a helmet
gives you armor on your head, but obviously wont help
if someones hacking your arm off.
Body armor comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, providing varying degrees of coverage and varying heaviness
of materials. Armor comes in four types: archaic, impromptu, concealable, and tactical.

Archaic armor is old-fashioned armor, such as medieval


chain-mail and plate mail.
Impromptu armor includes items that provide protection
even though they werent designed for that purpose, such
as leather bikers jackets and football pads.
Tactical armor is modern body armor that fits over clothing and cant be easily concealed. Its weight and bulk make
it impractical to wear all the time, and its generally only
donned when a specific dangerous confrontation is likely.
Because its worn over clothing in tactical situations, tactical armor often has pockets, clips, and Velcro attachment
points for carrying weapons, grenades, ammunition,
flashlights, first aid kits, and other items.
Padded Armor: This archaic armor consists of a breastplate made of layers of linen, which are then quilted together to form rudimentary armor. Some types hang all
the way to the knees.
Leather Jacket: This armor is represented by a heavy
leather flying jacket, flying leathers or biker jacket. A
number of other impromptu armors, such as a football
pads and a baseball catchers pads, offer similar protection
and game statistics.
Leather Armor: This archaic armor consists of a breastplate made of thick, lacquered leather, along with softer
leather coverings for other parts of the body.

147

Pulp Fantastic

RULES

ARMOR SUMMARY
ARMOR

VALUE

WEIGHT

NOTES

COORDINATION
PENALTY

Banded Armor

40lbs

Archaic, Rare

Chain-mail Shirt

40lbs

Archaic, Rare

Chemico Body Armor

6lbs

Tactical, Uncommon

EOB Body Armor

10lbs

Tactical, Uncommon

Half Plate Armor

50lbs

Archaic, Rare

Hide

25lbs

Archaic, Uncommon

Leather Armor

15lbs

Archaic, Uncommon

Leather Jacket

4lbs

Impromptu, Common

Padded Armor

10lbs

Archaic, Uncommon

Plate Mail

50lbs

Archaic, Rare

Scale-mail Armor

30lbs

Archaic, Rare

Splint Mail

45lbs

Archaic, Rare

Studded Leather Armor

20lbs

Archaic, Uncommon

Studded Leather Armor: This medieval-era armor consists of leather with metal studs riveted from the inside.
Chemico Body Armor: British armor worn during the
Great War. It is commonly made of kapok and fabric
making it lighter than similar armors that use metal. It is
effective against piercing attacks, but not so effective
against bullets.
Chain-mail Shirt: This medieval-era armor is a long shirt
made of interlocking metal rings, with a layer of padding
underneath. Its heavy, making it uncomfortable to wear
for long periods of time. Some science heroes wear chainmail made of exotic alloys, making it easier to wear for
long periods, but this variant qualifies as Weird Tech.
Scale-mail Armor: This medieval-era armor consists of
constructed of metal scales sewn or riveted onto a leather
garment.
EOB Body Armor: British armor worn during the Great
War. It is commonly made of metal plates covering the
front, back and groin. This armor was the most effective
of all armors used during the Great War.
Half Plate Armor: This medieval-era armor dispenses
with the chain backing of plate mail to save weight. Instead,
a light suit of padding or akteon is worn beneath it. The
considerable weight of this armor is distributed over the
wearers body, and a trained knight can lie down, stand
up, or vault into a saddle while wearing this armor.
Plate Mail: This medieval-era armor consists of metal
plates that cover the entire body. Its heavy and cumbersome compared to most modern armor, but it does provide
a great deal of protection.
Shield: A shield gives 4 or 8 points of Armor, depending
on what it is made out of. When using a shield, you only
get its protection if you use a Reaction to defend against

148

the current attack if you use the same Reaction roll


against multiple attacks, the shield only works against
the first attack.

Lifestyle
What sort of lifestyle does your character live? Does he
drive an exotic car and own a speedboat, throwing lavish
parties and flying off to Rio for the weekend? Or does he
subsist on pizza and pasta in a one-room apartment?
An average character (one without the Wealthy or Impoverished Traits) can afford a meal at a good restaurant, a
ticket to a basketball game, or a new book pretty much
any time he wants.
More expensive lifestyle options are always available, but
he cant really live beyond his means for long without
becoming temporarily Impoverished. Of course, if he
already owns a Bugatti, becoming Impoverished doesnt
necessarily mean he has to give it up. He still drives an
expensive carhe just cant currently afford to do all the
other things people associate with that kind of life.
A character with the Impoverished Trait is nearly always
broke. A night at the movies might be a treat, but he cant
regularly afford anything more expensive without spending a Story Point.
Characters with Wealthy as a Minor Good trait are comfortably well-off. They can easily drop about $500 at a
time, meaning that they will fly, drink and eat first class
more often than not. Having Wealthy as a Major Good
Trait means that money is no longer something you have
to worry about.

Equipment

Vehicles

pushing or dragging cargo. Some vehicles have higher


levels of Powerful.

The essence of the Pulp Era is speed. As new technologies


shrank the world, people became obsessed with travelling
further and faster than ever before. Pulp characters in
general are always leaping on a plane or a boat (or zeppelin!) and travelling across the globe in search of action and
adventure. This section deals with the various vehicles
the characters will rely on to get them from place to place.

Off-road: The vehicle is designed to go off-road. If a vehicle


that lacks this Trait goes off-road, call for Transport checks
every few rounds.

Attributes

Sample Vehicles

Vehicles have four special Attributes.


Handling: The ease of manoeuvring the vehicle at speed.
Speed: How fast they move, in terms of Areas per Round,
which is what you need to know for chases. A vehicle can
go faster than its listed speed, but if you push it like that,
youll have to make a Transport roll every round to keep
control.
Armour: How tough the vehicles exterior is. This may
also reflect how much protection the vehicle gives to
people inside it.
Size: How big the vehicle is.
Hit Capacity: How much damage the vehicle can take
before being immobilised. A vehicle that takes half its Hit
Capacity is damaged, and loses half its speed. A vehicle
that takes twice its Hit Capacity in damage is torn apart
and is now a pile of junk.
Aircraft and water craft work slightly differently. A boat
thats taken half its Hit Capacity is holed and is sinking.
It can still be used, but loses one Speed every round until
reduced to 0, at which point it sinks.
An aircraft reduced to half its starting Hit Capacity is out
of control. The pilot needs to land it immediately or it will
crash.

Fast: Some vehicles are really fast. If you push the speed
of a Fast Vehicle, you move 2 extra zones on a Success, 4
on a Good Success, and 6 on a Fantastic one.

Motorcycle: These statistics are for small Common motorcycles. Something fancier like an Indian Hendee Special
gets a higher Hit Capacity, Armour and Speed; such motorcycles are Uncommon. A really powerful motorcycle
is Fast.
Small Car: Your average family car, like a Ford Model T.
Common.
Big Car: This is a large, expensive car, like a Duesenberg
Model J Phaeton; leather seats, walnut dashboard. Dont
scratch the paintwork. Cars like this are Uncommon.
Sports Car: A top-of-the line sports car, like a BMW 328
or an Auburn 852 Speedster. Cars like this are rare.
Utility: This covers military jeeps, pick-up trucks (like
the Ford Model A Pickup) and other utility vehicles (like
the Ford Model T Utility Truck). Theyre Uncommon.
Truck: A cargo truck. A bus would have similar attributes,
but would replace its Powerful Trait with more space for
passengers. Trucks are Uncommon.
Tank: A front-line battle tank like the Panzerkampfwagen
III. A vehicle like that has a main gun that can make mincemeat out of any hero as well as smaller anti-personnel
weapons. Battle tanks are Rare, and your gm shouldnt let
you get one anyway.

Traits

Inflatable Dingy: An inflatable boat. Safe and reliable


unless a shark bites a chunk out of it. Inflatable dinghies
are Uncommon.

There are also a few special Traits that vehicles can have.

Speedboat: A fast sports boat. Rare.

Open: The vehicle offers next to no protection to people


inside it. A motorcycle is open, as is a convertible.
Enclosed: Your average carthe main compartment is
enclosed, but there are big windows that could be smashed
open easily. If an Enclosed vehicle is attacked, then a big
attacker may be able to get at the people inside through
the windows with a Fantastic attack result.
Fully Enclosed: This is for tanks and other vehicles that
are designed to withstand attacks from outside, like a
safari landrover. The windows are non-existent, or are
made with wire-hardened glass and are far enough away
from the passengers to ensure that attackers need to smash
or flip the vehicle to get at the characters inside (assuming
they dont just open the door).
Powerful: This vehicle has a big engine and puts out lots
of horsepower. Double its speed for the purposes of

Autogyro: Invented in 1923, the autogyro is a predecessor


of the modern helicopter. Built from airplane components,
an autogyro has the body of a light plane such as the
Sopwith Camel, but with rotary blades mounted above the
cockpit in place of wings (though it does have a pair of
light stabilizers extending to the sides where the wings
would be on a monoplane). A propeller on the front moves
the autogyro forward. Rare.

Motorcycles
Unlike getting into a car, mounting a motorcycle is a free
action. Motorcycles tend to perform better than automobiles, but they provide no cover to their occupants.
BMW R12: A sturdy well-built motorcycle, available with
or without a sidecar, used by the Third Reich as a vehicle
for scouts or couriers.
149

Pulp Fantastic
Indian Hendee Special: The Indian Hendee Special is
the first electric start motorcycle. It is a powerful bike
capable of high speed. Its smaller than most vehicles
occupying only a single square. This bike is the favorite
of a lot of daredevils and speed freaks.
SdKfz 2: A treaded motorcycle half-track, the SdKfz 2
Kettenkraftrad was originally conceived as a light support
towing vehicle for mountain troops, but found favor with
all Wehrmacht troops, especially those in the Eastern Front
where its excellent cross country ability allowed it to
maneuver in the mud-bogged roads and the mountainous
Caucasus region.

Cars

RULES

Several cars are covered here.


Bentley-3 Litre: Known for both speed and reliability,
the Bentley 3-Litre has been jokingly referred to as The
fastest truck in the world. With the convertible top up, it
provides two-thirds cover to its driver and passengers;
with the roof down, this is reduced to one-third cover.
Mercedes-Benz SSK: A fine early sports car, the SSK
pales in comparison to the Alfa Romeo that comes along
a few years later.
Model A Ford Roadster Pickup: This is a typical early
pickup truck, lacking the large capacity of more modern
pickups. The driver has two-thirds cover, while the rear
bed provides one-third cover.
Model A Ford Station Wagon: Later known as a Woody
for its wooden sides, this kind of early station wagon is
intended for commercial use (replacing its passengers
with additional cargo capacity). It provides two-thirds
cover to its occupants.
Alfa Romeo 8C 2900: The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 is a fast
two-seat racer. It provides one-third cover to its occupants.
Duesenberg Model J Phaeton: This luxury automobile
brought the term duesy (or doozy) into popular slang.
It has a separate windshield for the passengers in the rear
seat! With the convertible top up, it provides two-thirds
cover to its occupants; with the roof down, this is reduced
to one-third cover.
Citroen Traction Avant: One of the first cars to use frontwheel drive, the 1934 Citroen Traction Avant is a technology leader. It provides two-thirds cover to its occupants.

Bugatti Type 57 Atalante: The Bugatti Type 57 is a sleek


and elegant racer from 1937, and provides two-thirds cover
to its occupants.
Hispano-Suiza H6C Saoutchik Xenia Coupe: A masterpiece of artistic design, this is a successor to the classic
Hispano-Suiza sedans of earlier years. Its art deco styling
and teardrop shape set it apart from any other car on the
road at the time. It provides two-thirds cover to its occupants.

Military Vehicles
Several military vehicles are covered here.
Panzerkampfwagen III: One of the Reichs famed Panzer
tanks, the Panzerkampfwagen III was relatively lightly
armed and armored, with 15mm armor. This vehicle is
armed with a single 37mm cannon and a MG34.
SturmGeschuetz III: The SturmGeschtz (Assault Gun)
was designed using the main hull of the Panzer III. Originally designed as support artillery weapon it was later up
gunned with a massive 75mm cannon and used as a
tank-killer.
Type VIIA U-boat: Another iconic Nazi vehicle, the U-boats
traveled the Atlantic in predatory wolf-packs, harassed shipping, delivered Nazi spies onto unsuspecting enemy beaches,
and carried secret archeological discoveries to hidden
island fortresses! There were
many types of U-boat this
vehicle is armed with a
75mm deck gun, 11 torpedoes in 4 forward tubes.

Airplanes
In the 1920 and 30s, the
airplane was still a relatively new technology, and
flight was seen as the
gateway to adventure.

Auburn 852 Speedster: Another speedy racing car. With


the convertible top up, it provides two-thirds cover to its
occupants; with the roof down, this is reduced to onethird cover.

Fokker Triplane: The


only fighter plane nearly
comparable to the Sopwith
Camel during the Great
War, the Fokker is just as
well known, as it was made
famous by the exploits of
the legendary Red Baron.
It carries twin Spandau
machine guns. (Use the
statistics for the Browning
M1917 machine gun.)

BMW 328: A lightweight and aerodynamic sports car,


the BMW 328 is speedy (for its time) and maneuverable.

Sopwith Camel: One of


the most famous fighter

Buick Series 90 Convertible Phaeton: A popular car in


the early days of Hollywood, the Buick Series 90 Convertible
is elegant and often seen in light colors. With the convertible top up, it provides two-thirds cover to its occupants;
with the roof down, this is reduced to one-third cover.

150

It is 3 squares long and 2 squares wide. With the convertible top up, it provides two-thirds cover to its occupants;
with the roof down, this is reduced to one-third cover.

Equipment
VEHICLE SUMMARY
TYPE

ARMOR

HIT CAPACITY

SPEED

HANDLING

SIZE

TRAITS

Motorcycle

Average

Open

Motorcycle Half-Track

Average

Open, Off-Road

Small Car

12

Large

Enclosed

Big Car

16

Large

Enclosed

Sports Car

12

12

Large

Open, Fast

Utility

16

Large

Enclosed, Off-Road, Powerful

Truck

24

Huge

Enclosed, Powerful x 4

Tank

18

32

Huge

Fully Enclosed, Off-Road, Powerful x 8

Dinghy

Large

Open

Speedboat

10

Large

Open, Fast

Autogyro

10

12

Large

Open

Biplane

12

12

Large

Open

Fighter Plane

18

14

Huge

Enclosed, Fast

Fighter Bomber

24

14

Huge

Enclosed, Fast

Cargo Plane

30

12

Huge

Enclosed, Powerful x 2

Sea Plane

30

12

Huge

Enclosed, Powerful

Airliner

10

30

12

Huge

Enclosed, Powerful x 2

Zeppelin

10

50

10

-2

Huge

Enclosed, Powerful x 4

U-Boat

10

120

10

-4

Huge

Fully Enclosed, Powerful x 8

151

Pulp Fantastic
planes of The Great War, the Sopwith Camel is a highly
maneuverable biplane with twin Vickers machine guns
mounted in the nose. (Use the statistics for the Colt-Browning M1895 machine gun.) The breeches of the guns are
covered by a hump that gives the plane its name. Other
Great War-era biplanes have -1 maneuver modifiers but
are otherwise comparable to the Camel.

RULES

Messerschmitt Bf109: One of the best air superiority


fighters ever built, the Messerschmitt was the predator of
the skies. The Bf109 was the Luftwaffes standard single-seat fighter