Saturday, November 17, 2007

Northern California Pulp Project - Introduction

Horowitz Fong , Baron von Hauser (both from Artizan Designs), Dr Arthur Heller & The Scorpion (both Indy Heroclix)

Some friends & I were talking about Pulp wargaming & how we were all becoming intereseted in trying it. But, we each had a different set of rules we wanted to try. So we decided to try to run a series of loosely connected games, with each person running a game using their rules set. Each subsequent GM would pick & choose what he wanted from the prior game as a starting point for his own game. I volunteered to be 1st & use the We Could Be Heroes (WCBH) set of generic skirmish rules by Task Force Productions. I had read a scenario for it in Wargames Journal & it had a strong role playing aspect that I felt was important in a pulp game.

I also felt suspense & the build-up of action was key to a pulp story. Therefore, I didn't want just a stand-alone big showdown game. So I searched around for a way to build a storyline throughout the gameplay. I was really stumped until I realized I was basically wanting it to feel like a movie serial from the 1930s. The tabletop game

Artizan Gangsters & Walmart $1 Wooden Truck

would be equivalent to the big showdown/climax of each serial episode. Any of the plot development between games would be condensed down into a short blurb by me, explaining what the players had learned about the situation. This way, I could have the serial feel of building a story, but still focus on the wargames, which was the point of the excercise.

I planned an intro game where the players stumble onto what they think is a regular warehouse robbery. After the robbery is over, they find some information indicating there's a much bigger scheme going on. As they're researching this new info, the 2nd game occurs with the bad guys attacking the Heroes' lair to get the information

Mad Scientist (old GW fig), Monkey sidekick (from Leading Edge Lawnmower Man set), Mister E & Dr Arthur Heller (both Indy Heroclix)

back, which is vital to their nefarious scheme. The 3rd & final game is the big showdown at the Evil Mastermind's lair, with the Heroes rushing to stop the Mastermind before he completes his plans. All 3 mini-games were planned to be run as a single convention game, so I figured the 3 games would need to be no longer than a hour each, to fit into a standard 6 hour convention game slot.

Of course, battleplans don't survive 1st contact with the enemy, & this was no different. I found that the WCBH wouldn't work in its original format for a hero-heavy game like I'd planned. The "good" forces were going to be 4 Heroes & the "bad" forces were going to be gangs of lower level thugs. I had also planned to have the players not only play the good guys, but have some of the players play the bad guys too. Unfortunately, a Hero-classed figure in WCBH so over-powered the thug types, that having 4 Heroes would have made it no fun for the bad guy players. I ended up cutting the Hero abilities in about half & that seemed to mostly mitigate the problem.

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