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Amazing Adventures is Pulp Role Playing: Hard-boiled detectives, fedora-wearing action heroes, and steampunk gadgeteers rocketing to battle . . . .
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Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fantasy

Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:59 pm

So I give some advice on this in the core book, but I'm curious to see what everyone thinks around here, and what your experiences are.

The trick with Pulp is making it feel unique. Amazing Adventures is a strong rules system (if I do say so myself) but if you think about it, at its core there's not a great deal of difference between most pulp adventures and fantasy dungeon crawls or modern action stories.

In many ways the key is the flavor - throw in elements of the era. Nazis go a long way, as do Lucky Strike cigarettes and mentioning the popular music and movies of the day, and vivid descriptions of costume and character voices.

Here's the trick: that's largely up to the GM to do on his own and isn't really integral to the stuff you get for RPGs. I mean, sure, I can do flavor text and you bet that I will...but I'm thinking there needs to be MORE than just flavor text.

This being my first core game for a major publisher, I obviously want to do right by the fans. So as I dive into writing the mini modules and other support books for AA, I'm wondering what kinds of things YOU all would like to see? Specifically, what would make this distinctly pulp as opposed to a modern rules set with archaic equipment and neat character classes?

Discuss!

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:50 am

hmmm....
I'd say, watch Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow before you write.

I'm not well versed in Pulp, but I do like it when I recognize it.
I think like you said, it's the flavor, the window dressing, the tropes. You wouldn't expect lightsaber type weapons in a Soloman Kane story.

Unless maybe you're talking mash-up: that's what makes Danger Girl so much fun.

(I'm no help at all)

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:32 pm

Ignore movies and imitations, which are usually "camp." Go to the source. Read some Walter Gibson or Lester Dent. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Dashiell.Hammet, and Robert Howard. There are many digital copies of the old pulps that you have a HUGE selection.

Yeah, most writers for pulp magazines turned out crud (Sturgeon's Law) but the above stuck true to the pulp feel and were pretty good as well as exciting. Some writers even transcended the pulps in which they appeared: John Campbell, Issac Asimov, & Ed Hamilton come to mind. As a matter of fact, Hamilton wrote two series which are certainly definitive pulp: Captain Future for the pulps, and the Legion of Super-Heroes for the comics.

It's not the time frame which makes.for a pulp feel. It's more the attitudes of that time, whether it's set in the Depression, 2012, or the future.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:56 am

MormonYoYoMan, that's very true to a purist; however, the vast majority of people out there today are looking for camp in their pulp, and Amazing Adventures is designed to model both types: what I call "literary" pulp and "Serial" pulp. There's a brief essay on that at the beginning of the game.

Believe me, I've read a great deal of pulp (I am, for example, one of the biggest Howard fans you'll ever meet). The problem is that as you point out, it's attitude and flavor, none of which are (or can be) modeled in an adventure module or game outside of flavor text.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:08 pm

I think that one way to help set the tone is to make use of visual props. One of my favorite tools is to make a small newspaper full of leads and potential adventure hooks for the party to read and follow up on. For that pulp feel, make sure that you include pictures that fit the tone you want to set, such as detectives in trench coats or Zeppelin airships or whatever style of game you like. And make sure it's all black & white -- no color pictures!

Also, come up with some sample pictures of characters for the players to pick from. Look at old movies or period pieces -- Indiana Jones, old Bogart movies, that kind of thing.

As they see it, they imagine it.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:56 pm

Indiana Jones! Yes: Reading the Raider class I was like, "Indana Jones!" I so get this! The Gumshoe kicks ass too.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:01 pm

Yeah, it has also come up in my home game that the Gumshoe needn't be a Sam Spade type PI or FBI agent--if one wanted to do an ace investigative reporter, that also fits seamlessly and neatly into the Gumshoe!

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:12 pm

The Grey Elf wrote:Yeah, it has also come up in my home game that the Gumshoe needn't be a Sam Spade type PI...
Yes, he does. ;)

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:35 am

Sounds like material for the companion. How to adjust the game to capture the feel of different styles of "pulp". Adjusted fate points..ect.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:15 pm

It would be cool to have AA go full circle with an article on how to go old school Sword and Sorcery with AA. If you needed expand the story, you could go into the pulpish Weird Age stuff of Michael Moorecock. That will let you include Gadgeteers as well.

A side note: While reading about Dragon Lines, I got a flashback to Palladium's Beyond the Supernatural. Except that we now have a system for it that uses half the complexity.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:55 am

anglefish wrote:It would be cool to have AA go full circle with an article on how to go old school Sword and Sorcery with AA. If you needed expand the story, you could go into the pulpish Weird Age stuff of Michael Moorecock. That will let you include Gadgeteers as well.



Cool idea!
That would be sweet for something like Girl Genius http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/

or it might make an interesting Highlander in the 40's kind of thing... just make the highlanders fighters or maybe barbarians....

neato!

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:57 pm

I actually was just discussing sword and sorcery with my gaming group yesterday. I'd have to sell the Trolls on this, but I wouldn't mind doing a C&C/AA crossover sourcebook to cover sword and sorcery pulp.

I also want to do a "modern pulp" book at some point that would bring the AA rules set into the modern era. This is where you might see things like Highlander, or the films of Quentin Tarantino.

Re: Amazing Adventures: Differentiating Pulp, Modern, & Fant

Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:56 am

The Grey Elf wrote:I actually was just discussing sword and sorcery with my gaming group yesterday. I'd have to sell the Trolls on this, but I wouldn't mind doing a C&C/AA crossover sourcebook to cover sword and sorcery pulp.

I also want to do a "modern pulp" book at some point that would bring the AA rules set into the modern era. This is where you might see things like Highlander, or the films of Quentin Tarantino.


Sounds great to me. Modern would be great for my Leverage and Dresden games.
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