Thursday, 17 July 2014

Pulp Week!

My playtesting this week was entirely taken up with my new d6-based Pulp game. The first game was set in my sideways “Star Wars” RPG universe, The Starstrider Chronicles. Upon learning of the death of her father, the Emperor, Princess Leilani Starstrider flees the Imperial precincts with her “handmaiden” Eliah ben Arbor, Imperial Knight Anwar Sudain and Goss Baron, the mysterious but lethal military scout. Alongside them were a few Patriot soldiers, men who, like the Princess, were sworn to support the royal family rather than the usurping government of the Chancellor Menoth Archon.

Against them were pitted the mysterious murderess Aina Loss, the Chancellor's right-hand killer, and almost a score of Ivory and Ruby guardsmen, mere minions one and all.

The princess had to get off the far side of the board – the Imperials would arrive in scattered clumps from random board edges as they realised that this powerful young lady was not going to meekly submit to their master's coup. What neither side realised was that the death of the Emperor (whoops, spoiler!) had raised a powerful rua ghost in the ruins in between the princess and her goal. Whoever woke it would be in grave danger. As would anyone who woke the space bears from their rest.
The Patriots begin their move into the woods.

Ivory Guardsmen are shot down by Goss Baron.

More Guardsmen appear, a little confused.

The evil rua ghost wakens at the princess' appearance.
A Ruby Guardsman prepares a Patriot soldier julienne.
Anwar Sudain takes out two Ivory Guardsmen.
A duel between two masters of the laser sword.
Eliah watches smugly as the space bear awakes. Angry...
In the end, the princess escaped both the evil ghost she woke and the minions sent to capture her. Eliah ben Arbor proved ruthless in her attempts to protect her charge, zapping Ivory Guardsmen willy-nilly with her pistol and actually knocking down the ghost with her preternaturally accurate shooting. Goss Baron was equally lethal, but found himself surrounded and outnumbered by Ruby Guardsmen, and ended the game captured (providing the seed for another adventure...). Anwar Sudain mostly just stomped around looking heroic until Aina Loss arrived to attack the party from the rear, whereupon he engaged her in a tense duel and forced her to teleport away half a second before he severed her wicked head from her shoulders. Ted's Ivory Guardsmen woke a space bear at one point, which true to form pulled the arms off the soldier who had been rude enough to wake it.

Tonight's game was a traditional “Pulp Era” pulp game. Captain America, supported by the Phantom's Four, was breaking into the subterranean headquarters of a cult engaged in terrible and terrifying experiments. Their goal was to steal the data from the computerised tube holding the creature, though anyone looking upon would have to take a Pluck check or faint (thank you Lovecraft...). I am quite convinced that the cult was made up of corrupted Mithras-worshipping policemen, because they were all tough and brave as nails. Their commander declined to comment.
Two cultists slow up Grimm and the Captain all game (I forgot to use that passage behind them).
Uniquely unaffected by The Horror, the professor proceeds.

Hansel Stern is taken out by a cultist after his terrible shooting.

Having slain Professor Rwyt's killer for the disc, Shoshannah fights for freedom...

And claims victory, jumping into the sewers with the Knowledge.
It was a tense game. The heavy iron doors separating the various areas of the dungeon were difficult to prise open, and both Hansel and Professor Rwyt were KO'ed, the latter after he had successfully removed the data from the prison of the Thing. The preternaturally tough cultists who opposed them were equally prone to fainting at the sight of their creation, but put up a stiff fight, even against the Captain and his fellow bruiser Jacob Grimm. Only three cultists were KO'ed, but as Shoshannah jumped back into the sewers with her prize, there was just one robed figure still standing, the others all lying dazed on the stone floor throughout the complex.

Both games were enjoyed by everyone, and moved at a good lick. The core of the rules are sorted, and games are now just to iron out any incongruities arising from awkward moments in play (and appropriate points values), but as a whole they are very flexible. If anyone is interested in trying the beta version, please get in touch at infoatmorningstar at gmail dot com.

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