Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Fisted Tales for the Genre Tree


Hard Boiled is not simply a genre or era fixed in stone. It is really a state of mind. Fast paced and energetic adventures. Exotic locales, and two fisted action. A wistful and nostalgic glimpse of an era that seems familiar; but simpler, innocent, and daring.

Hard Boiled is all these and more. Some features of the Hard Boiled genre include its simple morality of good versus evil, masked and cloaked heroes and heroines, devious villains and their schemes, gun-wielding desperados, cliffhanger endings, weird science, and a world still lush with unexplored places and lost races. Understanding the nostalgic elements, and the stylistic conventions of the material help squeeze the most enjoyment out of this rip snorting and adrenaline laced gaming genre.

Genres covered were Detective-mystery, Flying, Jungle, War, Western, Sports, Horror, Science Fiction, Romance, "Spicy", Adventure, Spy, and Fantasy of all types. Sometimes these genres were crossbred to produce such unlikely genres as Weird-Menace, War-Horror, Space-Western and Jungle-Detective. Even bizarre niche subjects as "Racketeer", "Financial-Wizardry" and "Zeppelin" found a brief life during this period, providing magazine titles that are highly sought by collectors today.

The "single character" or "Hero" appeared early in these genre magazines. Certain characters were so popular with readers that they had appearances in many issues, and even different magazines. Examples of these included the detective-mystery pulp Black Mask where Dashiell Hammett's "Sam Spade" and Raymond Chandler's "Philip Marlowe" hard-boiled fiction first appeared. If fantasy and horror was more to your taste, the magazine Weird Tales had both, being home to the very popular Conan sword and sorcery stories of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft's terrifying Cthulhu mythos cycle of tales, and Seabury Quinn's ghost-breaking stories about occult detective Jules de Grandin. 

USR for Hard Boiled Gaming
The furious-paced thrills, deadly perils, exotic globe-spanning adventures, and rough-and-tumble excitement of the Hard Boiled are a natural topic for role-playing adventures. While there has in the past been a few RPGs devoted entirely to the pulps or some aspect of this genre, games such as Justice Inc.DaredevilsMercenaries, Spies & Private Eyesetc., these systems are all out of print or have not been supported with additional supplements or scenarios. Unbelievable Simple Roleplaying rules will have you up and running quickly with your own favorite source material.

GAMESMASTERING THE PULP GENRE: RECIPES FOR PULP ADVENTURING

No matter which game system is used, all pulp RPG adventures rest on mixing many of the following adventure ingredients;
·        Larger than Life Heroes.
·        Reduced Hero Deaths.
·        Colorful Villains.
·        Gadgets and Weird Science.
·        Bizarre Crimes and Mystery.
·        Exotic Settings and Locations.
·        Lost Worlds.
·        Cliffhangers
·        Deathtraps.

3.2 Espionage; Hard Boiled

3.2.1. Pulp Fiction
3.2.2 Espionage International

The above two choices represent the two campaign worlds available to the PC’s. “Pulp Fiction” campaign world will be set in the up and coming city of Miami, FL 1937. Here players should expect to find traditional two fisted opportunities. “Espionage International” will put the players in post WWII cold war geopolitics.

If players are struggling to capture the fever of a thrilling character concept just reload the Pulp Character Concept page @ Abulfia. If the GM is reaching for adventure hooks to dangle in front of the PC's, the web site Abulfia will deliver again with their B-Movie Title generator. Certainly if you reload this page enough something is bound to come.