Archive for the ‘What’s Pulp Nocturne 1930 All About?’ Category



August 9, 2011



May 16, 2010

Hello there Alan,

I’m not familiar with the SW game system but, as long as it’s “functional” I’m generally willing to try it. To me however, the story, world, r/p and campaign are more important than the system. While I don’t endorse flat out cheating of course, I’m not a rules barrister either. As long as the system doesn’t impede or otherwise undermine the story and play then it’s probably cool with me.

Savage Worlds is a simple but powerful RPG. A solid character that is playable can be put together in 20 minutes. The rules let you role play easily yet give you a rather rounded character. Pulp Nocturne 1930 is also using the Realms of Cthulhu setting rules by Reality Blurs. It makes for some interesting character complications. The three regular players all have suffered some sanity loss due to encounters with the supernatural. I would be remiss if I did not also mention the Fear Effects Screen by 12 to Midnight Games that is also used extensively.

I like what I’ve hitherto read about your game but, before I can answer your question about a character in detail, I’d like to know a bit more. What are some of the specifics of the organization the PCs work for and the world in general (e.g., is the organization legally sanctioned or vigilante?

One of the characters, Frank Sculder, works indirectly with the United States Justice department in an organization called Bureau 13. Bureau 13 got their start with President Lincoln when he had discovered that the South was trying to use witchcraft to win the civil war. Bureau 13 is from a gaming company called Tri-Tac Games. The owner of Tri-Tac, Richard Tucholka has played in my games before and is uber creative when it comes to this gaming stuff.

Is it secretive, out in the open or even famous?

 Bureau 13 is clandestine. All of their activities are structured around these rules:
Rules for the teams are simple and direct. There are no guidelines for methods of operation or books of procedure. Each Bureau knows there are 5 basic rules to be followed at all times.
   *  RULE 1: Don’t get caught.
   *  RULE 2: Don’t leave evidence.
   *  RULE 3: Use violence only when necessary.
   *  RULE 4: Cover your tracks.
   *  RULE 5: Create rational explanations for the bizarre or fantastic.

 Is it highly informal or formalized? Is recruitment played out or do we start out already in the organization? Is there one at all or is it just a party of PCs. What kind of PC “professions” are already in play?

 The other two characters, Perry Craig is a radio engineer for one of the premier radio stations in New York and Dr. Erril Rook, an eminent forensic scientist have been recruited by Sculder to come to terms with all the strange things happening in 1930 New York of late. Bureau 13 has given Sculder carte blanche to bring in whomever he needs to get the job done according to bureau regulations.

What kind of characters should one NOT play?

It is my intention that Pulp Nocturne 1930 has a foundation with gritty pulp heroics by heroes struggling to grasp and understand cosmic supernatural absurdities that are returning. None of the characters have any pure magical abilities. Psionics in the vein of a “mentalist” are possible along with those creative geniuses with a flair for Weird Science as Savage Worlds has coined the term. I use the skill descriptor attached to WS as Pulp Science. All of the characters as they become more experienced can gain Edges that let them do some awesome things.

Is this a hack and slash game or story driven?

 Hack and slash has its place in role-playing games and computer games. Pulp Nocturne 1930 has a unique plot structure driven by the actions of the characters which usually requires very little nudging on my part as the Horror Master. Yes the players have entered into some rather feisty battles at times.

 Is there an evil organization the PCs are struggling against or just random villains-or both?

There lies the deviousness of it all! (Muah ha ha!)  The players have been involved with several villains. Just recently the players killed off a vampyre and that has earned them great respect within the Gambaro organized crime family and to a gambling racketeer named Gus Sands. The players still have many unanswered questions dogging them.

What are the general house rules? etc.)?

I tend to follow the rules as covered by the Savage Worlds Explorers Edition and Realms of Cthulhu by Reality Blurs. One modified rule used is that players can freely trade Savage Worlds Adventure cards. At the start of each game session, players get several Adventure cards to use. The Adventure cards usually give them a temporary boon that has on many occasions made for some amusing gaming moments.

To avoid unnecessary confusion however, let me tell you a bit about my own gaming style. I don’t hack and slash…at least not anymore. I moved on from that a long, long time ago. I tend to like a sensible balance/mix of story, role-play, action and realism. Story elements that I look for are things like, intrigue, suspense, mystery, drama, plot twists with the occasional pinch of spice and levity. I like layered stories that develop over time in parallel with good characters. In terms of role-play I look for well animated characters but, ones that continue to develop beyond the more superficial levels. Character interaction and intra as well as inter character development are all good. Even though I avoid hack and slash like the plague, I still like action. It’s just that I think most of the action should be motivated by and is an integral part of the overall story…and I don’t think a successful game session should be judged by the amount of time spent in combat. I’m not one of those players that think a game’s greatness is in direct proportion to how much combat happens per session…

 In terms of realism, I don’t expect perfection but, I tend to avoid games where the .38 revolver has 20 shots or the newspaper boy can sneak his way into NORAD HQ, redirect a few nukes and be back home before his 8:00 curfew is past. This generally comes down to good prep by a GM. GMs that try to run by making it all up as they go generally don’t last (unless in a hack and slash group) in my experiences.

 I also believe the players have a responsibility to facilitate the story the GM has made to throw at the PCs. As long as the story is not overly scripted and railroaded, a good player will try to work with the GM by consciously trying to participate in his or her story. In short, if the GM has intended for the PCs to get involved in a murder mystery-assuming it’s set up logically-I’m going to roll up a detective or reporter (instead of probably a basket weaver) and have him or her investigate the mystery instead of head out and start bar fights in every bar in town.

 This brings me back to playing a character. I do have a few PC concepts from Pulp Hero that I could use but, they’d probably need some slight adjustments for a new campaign and I won’t know for sure until I get a little more info.

Anyway, how often do you usually run the game?

The new current schedule is to run two consecutive sessions of Pulp Nocturne 1930 and then to run a board gaming session.  It’s a nice alternative and keeps things fresh. I do enjoy a good session of the Arkham Horror board game by Fantasy Flight Games. Holidays always have an impact on the gaming schedule as well. We play at Pandemonium Games in Garden City, Michigan, 3PM to 8PM.

This particular Sunday I will be unavailable due to previous plans. Good luck on finding a ride today though. Your New York campaign sounds really good in general so I’m hoping everything works out…and I’m looking forward to playing in the next game after today.

I am going to add some links to the Pulp Nocturne 1930 blog directing you to the Pulp Nocturne 1930 Yahoo Group that will take you to all the necessary stuff to create a character.

Horror Master Noire aka Alan