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Friday, February 15, 2008

Pulp gaming

Justice, Inc.As I touched on before, I am fired up about playing in a Pulp Hero campaign and so I am going to run a short series of adventures for some of my friends, probably starting next week. I jotted down some of my thoughts about the campaign and figured I'd include and refine them here. Essentially, I'm trying to re-create the type of experience I've had at GenCon, run by an excellent group of gamers who used to be called the Hero Auxiliary Corps (HAC) and now go by Infinite Imaginations, Inc. When I talked in my recent interview with HeroPress about my favorite role-playing game experience, I was talking about one of their games.

The situation will be a little different, of course. III uses multiple GMs, has the players moving around in somewhat larger areas (it's a little like low-key LARPing), and puts more time into planning than I'll have for any one adventure. Also, my own players lean more toward strategy than role-playing, so this might be testing their comfort zones just a bit. Anyway, we'll see how things go.

More detailed thoughts after the jump:

  • The adventure will be set sometime in the mid- to late 1920s. It will likely start out in America (or at least feature mostly Americans), but there will definitely be some globe-trotting.
  • It might be helpful to give everyone a centralized city, but not absolutely essential (the first adventure calls for everyone to be on a luxury cruiser in the Pacific, although each character will be on the ship for his or her own reasons). Do I create a city out of thin air for this (that's certainly something I've used in my writing), or use an existing one? I'm leaning right now toward using San Francisco, but I'm not married to that.
  • I'm looking at a rules-light style of gaming. I want the character sheets there and will refer to the books from time to time, but a lot of times we'll just roll a few dice and see what happens.
  • I'm emphasizing character and fun over stats.
  • I almost definitely won't be using battle maps or figures, at least for the initial adventure.
  • The feel will be lots of action and cliffhangers, cinematic with occasional dramatic cuts to change scene or switch from one character or group to the others. Some humor, but not completely over the top. If we reach a point where a scene isn't entertaining, we switch to a new scene.
  • There might be some kind of mystical element to things from time to time, but for the most part, the PCs won't be mystically oriented. I'm thinking of Indiana Jones kind of stuff here.
  • I like the "cut!" and "end scene!" and "rolling!" types of callouts that the III team has used in adventures. I think I'm likely to try those unless they prove too jarring for the players.
  • At least for the initial adventure(s), I'll come up with characters for the players to run. That'll help in a number of ways:
    • Giving the two players who are new to the Hero System more of a level playing field
    • Establishing the type of mood I'm going for
    • Keeping the players from being too invested early on, in case the campaign doesn't pan out (I feel guilty about losing interest in the last face-to-face campaign I ran, even though it did run for several years)
    • Helping with character balance
My next step is to create brief sketches (in words, not images) of some potential characters for the players to choose from. I'll do that here on the blog. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"leaning more towards strategy than roleplaying" is a nice way to put it.
however, we ARE all CONSUMMATE role-players. our characters just put a higher priority on strategy and tactics than little things like dialogue.