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Best pulp RPG game

Glyfair

First Post
I have always had a soft spot for the heroic pulp fiction of the Shadow, Doc Savage, Tarzan, the Avenger, etc. Justice, Inc. started my path in pulp roleplaying, and it carried over to the fantasy pulp of Eberron (still planning my "Doc Savage and Eberron" campaign in my mind).

However, I just haven't really had a chance to play in a pulp game in a long time. I tried a brief foray into Savage Worlds, but it didn't quite work. In fact, I was surprised at how little support there is for the pulp genre in a game that seemed to have that as its base.

I have seen a lot of great reviews of Hollow Earth Expeditions, but a few that make me question how well it works thematically (it seems to be a bit tied to a specific style of pulp), and systemically.

So my question to you is, what game system seems best to you to capture the feel of a heroic pulp game in the early 20th century era? Ideally, I want a system that isn't too difficult to quickly learn, has decent support, and captures the feel of the genre.

Feel of the genre is most important to me. For example, the best espionage RPG I ever played was James Bond because the system captured the feel of the movie Bond extremely well (not that an update today might not improve on it in many ways).
 

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Wik

First Post
Spirit of the Century looks really, REALLY good. Plus it has a SRD kicking around that I'm sure will get posted in about three seconds.

I'm not big on pulp myself, though. I just know that the system looks perfect, and if I ever had an urge to run pulp, I'd go that way.
 


jdrakeh

Adventurer
I'm a big fan of Justice Inc and Daredevils, the former of which is a little hard to find (out of print) and the latter of which can still be ordered from Fantasy Games Unlimited via their website (or via RPGNow in PDF).
 

Storn

First Post
I've run and I've played Spirit of the Century...and it captures the feel of heroic pulp perfectly in my book.

My love of heroic pulp really came from the art side of things as I became more interested in the artists of the day, virgil findlay, george rozen etc. My first PC was developed from a character that I drew twice for Hero Games to illustrate the Sword and Planet type adventurer. It was a throw away idea, but one that always really stuck with me. I think it was the blue butterfly winged princess in the background!!

If you want to see my PC, Hadrian Helm, scroll down 1/2 way in this thread:

[SotC] Post your Spirit o the Century character! I Double Dog Dare Ya! - Page 4 - RPGnet Forums

There are a whole bunch of SotC characters in that thread, a couple of which I've played with. Jim and Paka are both in my group, several of their characters I've played with.

this is a great thread of Pulp visuals no matter what the game system. Warning... long thread!!! Some of my art is sprinkled in this thread too.

[SotC] Inspirational Art - RPGnet Forums
 

Crothian

First Post
Hollow Earth Expedition. I perfer it to Spirit of the Centuiry and other Pulp games more for the game assumptions of the PCs being more like normal people in extraordinary circumstances.
 

InVinoVeritas

Adventurer
I'm most familiar with Torg.

Although it, and the campaign world, are designed with multigenre in mind, the system really sings for pulp. The Nile Empire is absolutely brilliant, and all other worlds end up getting a pulpy feel as a side effect of the system. Just the way the Drama Deck can affect the momentum of the challenge is terrific.
 

pawsplay

First Post
Adventure! (original, not d20 version) is the gold standard. However, it's pretty heavy on the supernatural and weird science. For a more general game, D6 would probably be my pick.
 



Glyfair

First Post
I'm a big fan of Justice Inc and Daredevils, the former of which is a little hard to find (out of print) and the latter of which can still be ordered from Fantasy Games Unlimited via their website (or via RPGNow in PDF).
I have Daredevils. As a system, it didn't attract me. However, I have adapted a couple of the adventures to Justice, Inc.
 
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JeffB

Legend
I'm a big fan of Justice Inc and Daredevils.
Myself as well- especially JINC Back in the day, but these days I'm not much of a fan of the HERO system. I don;t remember much about the Daredevils mechanis, but thought the adventure material was quite good (at least at the time)

One game that I always reccomend (as long as you like "rules-light") is Mercenaries, Spies, & Private Eyes- this was my "modern" ruleset of choice for quite some time- whether it was Pulp, Cold War Spies, or Paramilitary action. Deadly though. Stackpole did a great job on this game, and the few supplements/adventures were REALLY good (Stormhaven for example). IIRC , Dave Arneson eventually wrote some modules/supplements for MSPE (didn't ever own those unfortunately)

I've been interested in picking up SOTC too.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
Stackpole did a great job on this game, and the few supplements/adventures were REALLY good (Stormhaven for example).
Stormhaven is one of the best RPG supplements ever written. I no longer own MSPE, but I will probably never part with Stormhaven — it's got that Johnny Quest meets Venture Brothers vibe, with just a bit of CoC and Chill thrown in for good measure.
 

Glyfair

First Post
Stormhaven is one of the best RPG supplements ever written.
Interesting, because I consider Lands of Mystery, by Aaron Allston for Justice, Inc. to be one of the best RGP supplements ever. It not only has great ideas for running a Lost Worlds campaign, but it has tips for handling players with different level characaters (from the strong jawed hero, to the supporting cast doctor, natives, etc.)
 

Set

First Post
Another vote for Adventure! Great fun, and you can make three different 'tiers' of pulp hero, from two-fisted adventures to psychic dudes (like the Shadow) to people with an actual super-ability (like the Man of Bronze).
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
Interesting, because I consider Lands of Mystery, by Aaron Allston for Justice, Inc. to be one of the best RGP supplements ever. It not only has great ideas for running a Lost Worlds campaign, but it has tips for handling players with different level characaters (from the strong jawed hero, to the supporting cast doctor, natives, etc.)
Lands of Mystery is great, but Stormhaven is more of a proper setting.

Stormhaven is a mysterious island estate owned by a philanthropic industrialist (an amalgam of Bruce Wayne and Doctor Quest) who has highly trained scientists, soldiers, and adventurers at his disposal. PCs can either begin play in such a capacity or get an invite to the island.

There are options presented for introducing supernatural weirdness in the form of a secret worshiper of Lovecraftian elder gods and guests of the estate who may be legendary figures from folklore (specifically, there's a Romanian Count who may or may not be the inspiration for a famous novel).

Additionally, there are several proposed intrusion scenarios ranging from a secret listening post hidden in the wilds of the island to an "enemy within" setup where members of the industrialist's highly trained security team go rogue, forcing the PCs to retake the island.

Finally, there are plenty of nifty toys — a secret lab, experimental aircraft, and even robot sentries.

It's really a stupendous setting.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

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