Pulp World Lives!

I have completed Pulp World – my ridiculous globe-spanning Call of Cthulhu sandbox based on heroic pulpy adventures in a world where the monsters have won.  Not only that, but I’ve uploaded it in its entirety here, for your edification. Just click on that title image above to get a bite-sized file containing everything I’ve made. (Or here if that somehow fails.)

I haven’t done enough cleaning, so some parts of this might be vague or obscure. For clarity, here’s what you’re getting if you download this file.

A. An A3 map of the world cut up into hexes, with terrain types, railways, major cities and rivers all marked out.

B. A PDF version of the map, with sticky notes placed on pertinent locations detailing the following information:

1.Nine random encounter tables: one  for each type of terrain. Each has roughly 50 entries, 10 of which are fights. Possible encounters include:

94:Miles and miles of land covered waist-deep in tiny animal bones.

8: Skinwood. Skin flaps hanging from branches. 2D6 detach and float after party discreetly. 2 HP, 45% bind=suffocation. Anyone killed in this manner becomes one. Will retreat if party cuts themselves.

28: Gigantic multi-layered cake in the middle of the forest. Unattended. Delicious.

2. Massive amounts of plot-hooks, locations and possible adventures strewn liberally across every location on the map.  Includes priceless gems such as “Paul Bunyan Lumberjack cult temple.”

3. Tables with general helpful info, including:

-Travel times per hex for every mode of transport from feet to bi-planes, along with the cost of fuel per hex.

-Exchange rates – worldwide currencies converted to american dollars, and 1920’s american dollars converted to modern currency

-Lack-of-sleep and Encumbrance rules

-Famous people, locations and mythical items listed and numbered for quick quest-gen

-A shameful amount of material stolen from Zak Smith, including the Wavecrawl kit and the first part of the quick quest-gen mentioned above.

C. My love.
If you’re thinking of actually using this stuff, here’s some things- good and bad- I discovered from running this sandbox myself.
The bad: Continents are big. Crossing them with anything slower than a car will take a long, long time. By foot, across America, 70 days at minimum. My players actually decided to travel from Chicago to Las Vegas on a mule, which meant facing 60 encounters. Luckily enough, the second encounter was a couple in a car. They were able to kill them, steal the car, and drive off at the much better rate of 1 day per hex. I’ve since populated the inside of america more densely, but the lesson remains: be aware of what the travel distances really mean. I’d advise giving the PC’s easy access to a car or train at first. Keep in mind that with travel times like these,  a better vehicle is the best reward you can give. Transport will honestly be the biggest problem your PC’s face.
The good: My PC’s crashed the car they stole and – horribly mangled – summoned the god of portals to take them to Vegas. They messed up the summoning, though, so I rolled on the locations table and found out that they’d been deposited in Venice.
A sandbox of this scale means that you can just say “You’re in Venice now,” and because these are all real places, the PC’s will know what that means. You can drag your PC’s halfway around the world and get them making plans with the minimum of explanation. “We’re close to Germany, let’s go kill Hitler.” one suggested. “No, let’s go to London, no-one here knows English.”
Globetrot! Put a portal god in your game, and make him totally unreliable. Send the PC’s to Africa on a whim. Have the party track a villain across countries. Make the most of the space you’ve got to stretch.
So. It’s massive, it’s ludicrous, it’s yours. Take it with my blessing, internet dweller. If you have any questions, post a comment or just give me a ring- my number is on the top right of your screen.
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About Jack McNamee

In the third year of a game design course in Queensland, Australia. Thinking a whole lot about games. Scrabbling desperately against the oncoming future.
This entry was posted in Actually making something, Dungeon Master Adventures. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Pulp World Lives!

  1. BeamSplashX says:

    My friends and I are in the middle of a D&D campaign, so I doubt we’ll be diving into this one anytime soon. But I’m excited to mull over this one and try running a few sessions some time. This and InSpectres… supernatural detective stuff is great for roleplaying, both around a kitchen table and in the bedroom.

  2. Herb Adrian says:

    Io vado pazzo . Tali osservazioni mi fanno impazzire . In primo luogo , leggere il testo e capire e solo allora criticare . Complimenti all’autore del approccio al tema .

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